Usually I talk about my young adult WIP (work in progress) here, but tonight I’ll touch on picture books.
I love picture books. I even have a little collection of them. Something about them – the storytelling, the images, the magic of falling into them… I love picture books and it’s no surprise to me that they haven’t gone the way of the dinosaur as people predicted a year or two ago.
You may have heard about the 2010 article in the New York Times: “Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children“. If you haven’t, you’ll get the gist from the title. The line that’s stayed with me the most these last two years is this, one explanation why picture books were losing their popularity: “Parents have begun pressing their kindergartners and first graders to leave the picture book behind and move on to more text-heavy chapter books.”
This is true and it’s so sad because it’s so wrong: picture books often have far more sophisticated language than chapter books, but all people think of is the pictures. And yet, the pictures are so important. Children get reading not only from hearing the words, but from seeing the pictures and putting the two things together. Think about it: how much easier is it to learn what apple means in another language when someone points to an apple and says the word, than if you just see the word in a book in the middle of a bunch of other words?
Yeah. That’s the power of the picture book. Plus, they’re fun.
I was over-the-moon excited (and a little nervous) to participate in a picture book writing class last Thursday led by Diane Muldrow of Little Golden Books. It was an amazing class and thanks to Diane, I got through two writing blocks in the manuscript of my completed picture book manuscript (MS). (The other picture book MS is lacking an ending – might finally be time to join a critique group!) So I’m ready to put the YA novel aside for a little bit and let it simmer while I work on polishing up my picture book for submission.
I’m excited about my story all over again and that alone was worth the price of admission.