Saturday, November 19, 2011

Picture Book Brouhaha

It has been an exciting year for the picture book. With nay-sayers touting the immiment demise of what used to be a childhood staple, it seems that picture book lovers have put on their rally caps in an attempt to educate and inform parents, booksellers, educators (and anyone else who will
listen) about their value.
The New York Times ran an article about a year ago which
detailed the downward spiral of picture book thus kicking off a great debate about the fate of a cherished and treasured format.
Librarians buzzed, publishers defended... in fact Publishers Weekly printed a response to the New York Times piece shortly after it was published claiming that picture books were alive and well. Many librarians, publishers, parents and other defenders have continued their quest to send the message that picture books need to be valued. A few of my favorite responses to the outcry include:
Children's book illustrator Matthew Cordell issues the following challenge on his blog.
"This is my challenge to you, dear readers. Go into a book store (not a website, but a store with a roof, walls, people, books you can hold and browse over) and spend some time in the children's book section. Find something incredible (it ain't hard). Then, when you're all filled up, buy just one picture book. And in a week's time, repeat. Buy one picture book a week for your kid(s), some other kid(s) you love, or for yourself or some other grown-up you love. I can identify that it's hard to get, at first, but adults can also enjoy reading picture books. And if you absolutely can't swallow that concept, you can't escape appreciating them for the amazing artwork alone. It's like buying amazing art that can sit on your coffee table (or wherever you keep your favorite books with your favorite images) for, like, 16 bucks or whatever. Someone you know needs more picture books in her/his/their life/lives. You need to experience, again, what you loved when you read picture books as a kid.(Okay, okay.... if you absolutely, seriously, truthfully can't get to or find a brick and mortar book store, buy your books online. But try this first.)If you can't do a pic book a week, make it a pic book a month.And if you can't do that (understood, times are tight).... Go into your most excellent local library and check out 10 picture books a week. If you can't do it every week, do it once a month. Challenge issued."
Go to his Facebook page to join in on the fun!
an international initiative to designate
November as Picture Book Month, encouraging everyone to celebrate literacy with print picture books. Founders of the initiatve believe that with the predicted death of the print book, picture books need love.
As for this picture book lover, I continue to collect and cherish them. I read them again and again. I give them as gifts, I tell my friends about them. Do I worry about the death of the picture book? Not this girl. I believe that the picture book is will be alive and kicking for a good long time. :)