The Power of Picture Books

24 May

I’ve blogged as a guest blogger on the Picture Book Den website about the power of picture books. You can visit the site here (you’ll find the post most easily by looking under the ‘guest bloggers’ tab on the right hand side) or you can read the post below.

As the subheading of this blog [The Picture Book Den subheading is ‘Passionate about Picture Books’] says, the authors here are passionate about picture books. And I am too. I honestly believe picture books are amazingly powerful things.

I have a 20 month old son I’ve nicknamed Tornado Toddler. That’s because he’s a whirling tornado of a child, alive with energy and constantly on the move, always exploring and investigating.  But picture books — picture books make him stop. Picture books have the power to make him slow down enough to clamber onto my knee and together, we share a story. It’s one of my favourite things in the world, reading a book with my son.

Children learn so much from talking about things they see in picture books, and hearing about what’s happening on each page.  My little boy said his first proper word pointing at something he saw in a book. But I think books are more than just learning tools. Picture books have the power to create a whole new world for a reader to step into, because stories are adventures, allowing children to experience all sorts of exciting things. In a book, you can be a pirate, or a cowboy, or a princess. You can go anywhere, or do anything. Picture books have the power to make magic a real, tangible thing, which is why it’s such a wonderful stage to start a child reading. It’s a joy to see the pleasure a child can get from a book, long before they can read themselves, or even talk.

Picture books also help children explore subjects in a safe way. My picture book, Baby Badger’s Wonderful Night, explores a common childhood fear, that of the dark. If I’ve helped one child be less scared of the dark, even just a tiny bit, well, that’s a pretty amazing accomplishment, isn’t it? And there are books to help with so many things. Like what happens when a new brother or sister comes along. Or when someone dies.  Or you start school, or move house, or have to go to hospital. These are all massive things to happen in a person’s life and subjects such as these, many more besides, are addressed in the pages of picture books.

Magic. Adventure. Reassurance. Knowledge. Hours of endless enjoyment. Oh yes. Picture books are very powerful indeed.

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