Picture Books - Now More Than Ever


The Picture Book is a Unique Art Form

Except for Graphic Novels, Picture Books are the only forms of published storytelling in which NARRATIVE/WORD SOUND (rhythm, pacing, length of text, vocal texture) and ILLUSTRATIONS (varying layouts to include small spots, single-page illustrations, and double-page spreads) carry equal weight.


But is that why picture books are "important"?

Every art form can safely claim to be important on its own merits. Picture Books can claim an additional layer of importance because of WHO reads them and WHY they are so eagerly embraced.

Many are the reasons to pick up a Picture Book:

  • literacy of all forms
  • information
  • entertainment
  • an opportunity to bond with the adult reader

but matters most is the emotional connection that picture books make to their very young readers by showing them characters who:

  • feel as they do
  • face the crises they've faced in similar circumstances
  • acknowledge and validate their struggles

Picture book readers, however, are only beginning to experience and comprehend their own feelings and the process can be overwhelming. Love? Jealousy? Anger? Isolation? Fear? Excitement?


Adults have had those feelings, and have probably had lots of conversations with friends, relatives, and therapists about them. But a picture book that gets to the root of these emotions? That might give the young reader a crucial first sense that they are not alone in their feelings.

Crucially, it provides a precious opportunity to either commune with the character who’s sharing those feelings or experiences, or to talk them over with the sympathetic adult who is sharing the story. Even more so when the picture book is invested in open-ended creativity.