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There's A Book

Many of you who read the news online or even pick up an occasional New York Times know that there is a force out there trying to claim that “the picture book is dead“. I’m not buying it. Obviously, my views on this matter may be swayed just a bit due to the fact that I have an entire eight foot high book shelf dedicated to only picture books. But in all reality I’m wondering if these claims could truly have any merit? Or perhaps, as I have a tendency to believe, the “force” out there is simply taking themselves much too seriously.

Are picture books truly for children only? Could there be lessons to be learned for adults in the words and illustrations that fill the pages of these so called “dead” books? Personally, I know it’s absolutely possible. In many ways I believe picture books are almost more for adults than they are for children. Yes, certainly there are picture books that fill a child’s eyes with wonder and spark that love that never seems to end once ignited. But then, there are those picture books that tell stories and bring to life experiences that can only truly be appreciated with the knowledge that comes with age. Of course that’s not all because who doesn’t need to laugh occasionally, especially in these times of trouble? What better way to cheer yourself and those around you (young or old) than with a story of an elephant who broke his trunk?

To say that picture books are dead is an absolute absurdity. For me personally, I’ve never felt more connected to picture books than I do now at over thirty years of age. It’s hard to fully express the power of books like the more serious Ladder to the Moon or the quite imaginative Not A Box. Over the last few years I’ve seen how my children have fallen in love with picture books from paper to electronic, but as they have…so have I. Each new season I’m the one who quickly turns the pages of picture book catalogs in wonder, amazement and anticipation of what new adventures I’ll take in a mere forty pages. All it took to get to this wonderful place was trying one, again.

So, my question for you is…

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My challenge…The next time you are in a bookstore, a library, a friend’s home or anywhere that may have this treasure trove of adventure and emotion…will you pick it up? Will you take the five or ten minutes and truly savor the experience? Then, talk about it! Either by commenting back here, posting about it or simply telling a friend about it. I’m positive you won’t regret it!

41 Responses to Book Buying Q?s: Are You Too Old for Picture Books?

  1. RivkaBelle says:

    I’m a HUGE fan of picture books! 🙂 Not only do I buy them for myself, but I buy them as gifts for my best friends too, haha…Including one gorgeous copy of the Gift of the Magi that I ended up keeping for myself, leaving me with a need to put a Christmas present in the mail 4 days before The Day 😉

  2. Erin McGuire says:

    My mom bought Lane Smith’s It’s a Book just because she thought the message was so clever. She said she’ll keep it on her coffee table 🙂

  3. carol says:

    I admit it, I’m picture book reader. And actually even my daughter who at 11 is past the age most are geared to, will enjoy one with me once in a while. Some are beautiful, some clever, some silly, some are just great stories.

    • LOL I almost thought you were going to say addict, which would have been fantastic too! That’s wonderful that you share them with your daughter! I know quite a few middle grade teachers who use them in their lessons. Great teaching tools as well.

  4. Michelle M. says:

    I agree, picture books are for all ages. There is nothing like a joy in reading a good picture book.

  5. Michelle M. says:

    Also want to add, your kid’s interviews with the author and reviews are great!

  6. Do I buy them for me?
    But heck no they’re not dead.
    Hello as long as there are kids – picture books are alive and well.

  7. Honestly, I don’t think there is such a thing as “too old” for picture books.

    It’s funny you posted this today because this has been on my mind a lot lately. I love perusing our library’s children section, and I’ve been thinking about maybe starting to purchase picture books and young reader books for when I have kids some day. But at the same time, I know I’d enjoy them just as much. You don’t have to be a child to appreciate beautiful illustrations or important life lessons and morals.

    Great post!

  8. I represent 5 of the 8 books you have featured above and they are great picture books. I have a bonus room full of picture books for which I no longer have have room on existing bookshelves to store. In one way or another, all have great meaning to me. I have holiday picture books that I like to pull out during December holidays with which to decorate the house. Some picture books still bring me to tears, give me a laugh, remind me of wonderful moments spent with my son when he was small, or make me marvel that such magic can exist between the short pages of a book with exquisite text and beautiful pictures. Admittedly, I am in the book business, so I am a bit biased, but it is amazing the power that picture books have to inspire imaginations. Long live the actual picture book.

    • Oh wow! I honestly had no idea you rep’d all those books. What a funny coincidence! Apparently we both have excellent taste. 😉

      I loved your comment too. I honestly think you said exactly how I was feeling about them, perfect!

  9. I think picture books are great for all sorts of people, just like cartoons are something that adults watch as well. On the picture book front…I love Amelia Bedelia and my mom bought me a collection of some of her stories as a Christmas gift a couple years ago. As for my cartoon comparison, I’d still happily watch Arthur and Winnie the Pooh (as well as read their stories).

    P.S. I sent an email about a possible picture book review…but I’m not sure it went through. Just wanted to pass that along, in case you’d like to know more! 😉


    • Oh! Amelia Bedelia and I go way way back. In fact her books were the only ones I ever “stole” from the library (my parents later replaced them). I just couldn’t be parted with them. 🙂

      You know…I haven’t seen an email. Maybe send it again? I even checked the sp*m box. 🙁

  10. I first “rediscovered” picture books when I used to sneak into a children’s bookshop when I was at university, and I haven’t stopped since! I have favorite illustrators whose work I collect, and I have them out on my coffee table for grown up friends to peruse, just as much as children. My kids are 10 and 12 now but picture books continue to be part of their varied mix of reading. I think it helps that we’re beginning to see picture books for older readers now too, and some finely illustrated middle-grade books like Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Mets the Moon.

    • I completely agree! I’m so excited to see picture books for “older” kids. Even graphic novels have been continuing to improve and be such a powerful form of communication to readers. I love it! 🙂

  11. Beth Hoffman says:

    I’ve adored picture books for all my life, and now I actually collect them! I love how they help keep my imagination and childlike view of the world alive.

  12. Jeane says:

    The head of our library association referred to “E” book (easy, as they are marked in some systems) as meaning for “Everyone”. It changed how I represented those titles to MY students. I was a middle school librarian and I had many of those “E” books in my library. My students loved them. As a staff, we encouraged our students to take those books home and read them with their younger brothers and sisters…and they did. Many had parents who did not speak English or who were just learning to speak English. Again, read to your whole family.

    The art of learning to read comes in stages: Reading to, reading with, and then reading independently. My daughter is a literacy teacher and they use “E” books extensively to get ideas across to her students.

    Now as a retired librarian but a grandmother, I have come to love blogs such as yours that give me suggestions for books for my little ones.

    But nothing is as great as when you can share a title with a friend. I would add the book “ISH” by Peter H. Reynolds. It’s a great book about creativity and the artistic process. It is the sequel to “The Dot”

    • What a fantastic way to share books with students as well as those that interact with them!

      And thank you so much for the compliment! I hope I can continue to supply you with great recommendations to share with your little ones. SO much fun!

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  14. Cindy says:

    Love, love, love picture books. When I taught 8th grade Social Studies I used them all the time. Now I’m a Reading Interventionist for grades K-3 and picture books are a big part of my job. I also have 3 small grandchildren who love books as much as I do.

  15. My love affair with children’s picture books began over fifty years ago as I helped my mother turn the pages of The Little House. As a former kindergarten teacher, mom of three and author of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking (which highlights 100 picture books every young child should hear), I am passionate about utilizing picture books to help young children deal with the many challenges they face in those early years and to strengthen the parent-child connection.
    I never met a picture book I didn’t love. 🙂

  16. Oh goodness, I can’t think that simply because adults don’t buy picture book for themselves that they, the picture books, are on the decline! I have always enjoyed books for all ages but I don’t think I’ve purchased a picture book for my own pleasure reading since, well, I started earning my allowance.

    I will say that as a mother of a three and a half year old and as the owner/operator of a private preschool, I can’t understand claims that the picture book is dead. In my field, I’ve seen parents and children as excited as they are on Christmas when we have our twice annual book fair. Of course, our school caters to an academic minded group and books, as well as literature and reading, are well loved and supported but I have to think that there is more than my little experience to say that kids and parents will keep the picture book alive.

    • Oh! I love book fairs! As a child they were some of my favorite parts of going to school and I’m looking forward to them with my own kiddos in a couple of years!

      I’m absolutely in agreement, I think there are enough picture book lovers out there to keep them alive and well for some time to come. 🙂

  17. I think that there are different levels of picture books, ranging from very young to quite sophisticated and mature. While we all technically “outgrow” the very young ones (We can look nostalgically at Goodnight Moon, etc…) I think the more sophisticated stories never cease to delight. Margie Palatini, for example is brilliant at lacing her stories with multiple levels of humour, that appeal to adults and kids.

    • I don’t know, I actually love my Littlebug’s very “young” books. Maybe they don’t move me profoundly, but I certainly appreciate and look forward to reading them with her. I think it’s all about which ones affect you personally and as long as some of them do then that’s excellent! 🙂

  18. Nancy Kelley says:

    Never! I work at a library, and one of the pleasures of my job is to peruse the new pictures books when they come in, and then help the children (or the parents) find them on the shelves later. And no one who has ever watched a child read a picture book would ever say they are dead. My goodness!

    • Oh wow! That sounds like the most incredible job ever! I’d love to be able to do that everyday. Well, I guess in a way I do, but not in such a hands on way…I’m officially jealous! 😉

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  20. Pussreboots says:

    When we go to the library… we come home with a bag full of picture books: some are for my 4th grade son, some for my kindergartner daughter and the rest are for me. I adore picture books. I refuse to give them up.

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  22. Pam T says:

    Huge fan of picture books. But heck, the kids (who are now 11 and 9) and I still rush to read every new Mo Willem’s book. Elephant and Piggie Rock!


  23. Abbey Williams says:

    Dr. Seuss “Oh the places you will go” is sending a message not just to children but to adults as well. Also Mo Williems “Elephant and Piggie series cracks me up and the Granddaughter Necklace by Sharon Dennis Wyeth and Bagram Ibatooulline tugs at your heartstrings.

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