A little more than a year ago, The New York Times wrote an article making the erroneous claim that picture books were “dead.”  I’m not even going to link the article because I don’t want to give it credence.  Many authors, illustrators, agents, editors and others in the kidlit industry responded swiftly and decisively, myself included, to say, “It ain’t so!”

That’s why I was thrilled to see some of the best authors in the business pronounce November 2011 as the first annual international Picture Book Month.  I love what the founders say about the inspiration for Picture Book Month: “We are doing this because in this digital age where people are predicting the coming death of print books, picture books (the print kind) need love. And the world needs picture books. There’s nothing like the physical page turn of a beautifully crafted picture book.”  And that is so true.  Picture books that create a perfect marriage between the words and the illustrations are nothing short of magic.  To support the effort, I’ve become an Ambassador of PB Month per the badge on my blog’s sidebar.  You can too.  Just go to the website and you’ll find many ways to celebrate and spread the word.

Picture Book Month coincides so well with Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) which is now officially underway – woo hoo!  I’m glad to stir the cauldron of ideas swirling around in my head in order to scoop some out.  Don’t forget that after PiBoIdMo, I’ll make an official announcement of the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge to take one PB idea per month and write a complete draft.  Sign-up will begin in December.

In the spirit of the month, I’ll mention three picture books that my kids have been enjoying in the lead-up to Halloween: ROOM ON THE BROOM, by Julia Donaldson, ALIENS LOVE UNDERPANTS, by Claire Freedman, and THE THREE LITTLE ALIENS AND THE BIG BAD ROBOT, by Margarent McNamara.

Which picture books have you enjoyed reading lately?  If you haven’t read any recently, what is one of your favorites?

Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, Children's Books, NaPiBoWriWee, PiBoIdMo, Picture Book Month, Picture Books, Publishing, Writing · Tags: , , , , , ,

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36 Comments

  1. Picture books are definitely not dead! Even as an adult, I enjoy picking one up as they are so artistic and always make me smile. 🙂

  2. We have also been enjoying Room on the Broom and I’ve been enjoying Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper. I just love that book. Every night I beg my four year old to pick it, but sadly he is currently on a train kick. So, I never get to read Pumpkin Soup. I read it by myself just so I can say the word “pipkin.” Isn’t that a fun word? I think I will go read it again.

    • I haven’t read Pumpkin Soup yet, so I’ll have to pick it up. I know exactly how you feel about your son making different choices than you. Sometimes I think if I read one more dry, nonfiction book on trucks, volcanoes or space I’ll scream. But then I remember that the fact that he wants to read is the important thing. Even if his choices are far different from the ones I would make.

      • Julie,

        My seven year old has always been obsessed with non-fiction books. Now, as a second grader, he has been diagnosed with a learning disorder and is struggling in many academic areas. However, his knowledge of science and social studies surpasses most of his classmates. So, there is nothing wrong with non-fiction.

        • Absolutely not! That is why we need so many different kinds of books. Every child will be touched by something different. I am grateful for all the nonfiction books my son loves, even if they are not what I would prefer to read to him.

  3. I was fascinated to read an article yesterday that though modern picture book sales are down by as much as 60% from the 90’s, traditional picture books are still being printed and selling well! One of my old favorites is Bread and Jam for Frances by Russel Hoban.

  4. My wife & I are expecting our first child in March & one of the reasons I pre-ordered a Kindle Fire was so I could purchase picture books electronically for the little one.

  5. I still love picture books. One of our family faves–it stays on our coffee table in the living room–is Arlene Sardine by Christopher Raschka. Beautiful illustrations and a super unique and surprising story.

  6. Julie, thank you so much for being a Picture Book Month Ambassador! I love seeing how many people around the world have embraced the celebration and are joining the picture book party!

    Yes, November is Picture Book Month. Read * Share * Celebrate!

    Warmly,
    Dianne de Las Casas
    Founder, Picture Book Month

    • Dianne,

      You are more than welcome, but really, I must thank you for spearheading this event. Last year when that article came out I kept thinking we, as writers, should DO something to balance the negative media view. Thank you for putting together a band of writers to do just that! I’m happy to do my part.

  7. Oh yes to “Room on the Broom!” It particularly warms the cockles of my heart because it is in rhyme, and well, that’s the way I roll!

  8. I still love picture books and I’m an adult. It’s an entirely new and different way of expressing one’s self. Great post and good idea.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  9. I absolutely love picture books!!! My son is 38 and I don’t have grandchildren, but I still love to look at children’s books. Snugglepot and Cuddlepie is a beautiful Australian book, along with Possum Magic. Children need to see and hold these books. Looking at a computer screen is not the same.

    • We have Possum Magic too! My husband got it on a trip to Australia. And no, a screen is not a substitute for a picture book.

  10. A world without picture books? I just can’t imagine that. These are what makes our children into readers.

    Great post!

  11. The Picture Book is Dead . . . Long LIVE the Picture Book! 😉

  12. My son is currently eating er, I mean reading (as soon as I take it out of his mouth) Time for Bed by Mem Fox. Our standbys right now are Goodnight Moon, Where is the Green Sheep? and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? I love it when he hands me a book and snuggles into my lap.

    • Oh my goodness, Time for Bed is one of my all-time FAVORITE picture books!! Now that my kids are too old for it (according to them), I keep it by my bedside and read it to myself.

      It’s time for bed, little mouse, little mouse
      Darkness is falling all over the house.

      I could recite the whole thing from memory, but I’ll spare you. 🙂

      If you like that one, check out TEN SLEEPY SHEEP. Another favorite over here.

  13. Oh, I LOVE the concept of a month to celebrate picture books! (Of course, it should be every month… :)) As for favorite picture books, too many to mention! We also love Room On The Broom, as Halloween books go, along with The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything. Th emost recent picture book I read was Shark vs. Train which was terrific. I think I was pretty much the last person on earth to read it, but if you haven’t, you should 🙂

    • My son is a huge Shark vs. Train fan. It is so funny and so clever, but you know? I have a hard time reading it out loud. It’s so dependent on the pictures, and when we first started reading it, I was doing a lot of explanation.

      You know, the shark loses because selling lemonade under water vs. the train having a lemonade tank ….

      BUT, it is an original for sure.

  14. Thank you Julie for not sharing the name of the person that wrote that article for the New York Times. He doesn’t deserve a mention.

    Who or what child does not love picture books? They’re one of the best things about being a child. Or how about the child that can’t wait for you to turn the page of the book to see the next picture? How many children proudly come home from school or pre-school with a picture they drew? A child can relate to the world through pictures.

    Long live Picture Book Month!

    • I saw Adam Rex speak recently and he said, “All children are illustrators and they all tell stories with their pictures.”

      THAT is why the picture book format is so compelling to them. It’s how they think and engage with the world.

  15. Digital books will never take away the feeling of sitting on a child’s bed, with your little one snuggled beside you, as you read a story and turn the pages together. That’s a gift for parent AND child.

  16. Yeah Julie! I remember that article. The parents in the article were actively choosing to skip the picture book phase which made me so sad for the children. One of the greatest joys of reading picture books with my children is to be able to forget being an adult for a little bit of time. Our favorites include “Goodnight Moon” and “Guess How Much I Love You?”

    Alice

  17. Hi Julie, Room On The Broom is possibly one of our favourites, “Buzz off that’s our witch.” must be my all time favourite line in any book!

    Also on the spooky front all the Winnie the Witch series – I love Gorky Paul’s illustrations they are absolutely mental!

  18. Great idea, can’t wait to sign up.

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