“Before they read words, children are reading pictures. In picture books, the illustrations work in concert with the text in a way that is unique among art forms.”
In the forward to Show Me a Story! Why Picture Books Matter: Conversations with 21 of the World’s Most Celebrated Illustrators, award-winning author and illustrator David Wiesner explains why we celebrate National Picture Book Month in November (actually, MCPL Children’s Services Librarians celebrate them year-round! Here’s more from Wiesner about why we love picturebooks…): Read more about Show Me a Story! (Why Picture Books Matter)
It’s always hard to say goodbye at a story’s end to characters you’ve grown fond of and enjoyed spending time with. That’s one of the great joys of series books and why they appeal to readers of all ages: you don’t have to say goodbye; you can look forward to meeting up with familiar characters in the next book. Read more about Big Library Read features Nancy Clancy eBook
We often get requests for books that help teach children about proper rules of behavior – everything from sharing to telling the truth. While we frequently turn to our nonfiction collection for titles designed to teach children about specific subjects or topics, often picture books more powerfully portray the importance of doing the right thing.
The use of humor is one reason the messages in picture books can have a greater impact with children. And you can’t get much funnier with preschoolers (or even the K-2 crowd) than the word underpants – not to mention the word poo. (Please, don’t mention it!) The picturebook Brief Thief by Michael Escoffier uses both words in a span of a few pages while reminding readers that it’s not right to take things that don’t belong to you.
You see, poor Leon the Lizard finds himself without a necessary item after relieving himself. He notices an old pair of underpants hanging from a nearby tree branch and uses them to “finish his business.” As he discards the underpants behind a bush, a voice calls to him. It claims to be Leon’s conscience: “The little voice you hear inside your head whenever you get up to something naughty.” The voice continues: “… Since when are we allowed to touch other people’s things? What do they teach you in school, anyway?”
Leon never learns the real identity of his conscience, but readers will be amused to learn that the voice belongs to a rabbit who had been using the underpants to complete his superhero costume. We don’t learn his superhero name, but I’m guessing that it’s Superego.
Summertime is a wonderful opportunity for children and parents to build special memories and discover hours of simple fun. Kids can create a masterpiece painting with milk-based paint or use a mixture of shaving cream and glue to make a puff paint mural. (Recipe below) Write secret codes to one another with invisible ink and then hide them around the house or in the yard. Combine imagination, pasta plus glue and you can design a “Pasta Creation” with different shapes of pasta, or go for a nature walk and build a picture from whatever treasures you collect. Abundant ideas can be found in the many books we have here at The Monroe County Public Library Children’s Department. A few titles you might consider are:
Glues, Brews, and Goos
Vols. 1 & 2
By Diana F. Mark
Making Art with Sand and Earth
By Gillian Chapman and Pam Robson
Kids’ Crazy Art Concoctions
By Jill Frankel Hauser
Here’s a simple recipe for Puffy Paint!
Mix equal parts white glue and foamy shaving cream – color with some food coloring.
Paint an original work of art and then let it dry – paint will puff up!
Our Tuesday morning art program begins again June 25th at 10:45 am!
Like any skill, reading takes practice. For young children, “practice” can sound like a chore. Sometimes reading is more fun when friends and family join in. Book clubs provide an opportunity to read and discuss books socially, even helping children make the connection between reading and “real life.” What’s more, learning to read requires lots of skills that do not involve decoding words on a page. Drawing, writing, storytelling, rhyming, word play, and meaningful discussion, all play a part in a child’s comprehension of text. Our Beginning Reader Book Club includes all of these activities, along with the opportunity for adults and children to read together. Some of our featured books include: Q is for Duck: An Alphabet Guessing Game, Penny and her Song, and Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping.
Our Beginning Reader Book Club meets for three Thursdays (June 13, June 20, & June 27) from 1-1:45pm in the Children’s Program Room. Please register by phone (349-3100) or through our website (mcpl.info/childrens). Hope to see you there!