With the push to get children to read chapter books and the rise of e-books, many fear that the picture book is on its deathbed. Enter National Picture Book Month, created by several picture book authors to celebrate the genre.
What makes a good picture book? Picture books rely on both text and illustrations to tell the story. You can’t have one without the other. Picture books are the books you remember reading to your babies, long before they could understand your words. All they knew was that they were loved.
Margaret Wise Brown’s “Goodnight Moon,” Sam McBratney’s “Guess How Much I Love You,” and Mauris Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” are all classics. These are the books that we, and our children, will remember long after we’ve moved on to early reader chapter books, young adult fiction and New York Times Bestsellers.
One of my all-time favorite picture books is “I Will Hold You ‘Til You Sleep,” by Linda Zuckerman and Jon Muth. I received the book from a family friend before our eldest son was even born. Ever since I have delighted in its simple poetry and beautiful watercolor illustrations. It’s truly a love song from parent to child.
When I hosted a baby shower for my younger sister, her friend and I selected a picture book theme. Each guest brought his or her favorite picture book. I, of course, bought her a copy of “I Will Hold You ‘Til You Sleep.”
So this month, I challenge you to dust off one of your favorite picture books. If you have children, read it to them. If you don’t, read it for yourself, and allow yourself to remember your childhood. Feel free to share your favorite books in the comments section. I’m always on the lookout for new book titles.