In her fourth article in a series for Home Education Magazine about building a home library, Lisa Hartman recommends specific picture books that will enrich your family’s reading life.
Building Your Home Library – Picture Books – Lisa HartmanBack in the fall of 2010, The New York Times ran an article titled “Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children.” There seems to be a trend suggesting that parents, bowing to the pressures of increasingly rigorous standardized testing, are encouraging their youngsters to forego picture books in favor of more text-driven chapter books. Publishers, in turn, are following the market and releasing fewer titles in the genre. This is very dire news indeed and something must be said in defense of the format, one that is beneficial beyond measure.
When my children were younger, we spent hours in the library among the shelves overflowing with picture books. Each child was drawn to different styles and stories, but it was almost always the illustrations that provided the hook. These books got them excited about stories, images, and, ultimately, reading. For what are we doing if not reading when we follow a series of events in pictures? Think of graphic novels or comics, many of which are very sophisticated in their storytelling. An appreciation of art, of the visual world, is also nurtured through these books. My children became readers at different ages, in their own time, but they all devoured stacks of picture books long before they mastered the alphabet–and long after. These books mark the beginning of each child’s love affair with reading, and I can’t imagine a world without them. And so, to continue the Home Education Magazine series on “Building Your Home Library,” I’m recommending a small sample of stellar examples from this rich and, I believe, necessary genre.