Picture Book Month — Read! Share! Celebrate!

PBMBADGE-AMBASSADOR-FB-300x245Outside, the November days have been getting progressively colder and drearier. All weekend it snowed. That’s November where I live… at least, outside.

Inside, it’s a celebration of picture books! As I posted earlier this month, I’ve been participating in PiBoIdMo — Picture Book Idea Month. I’m also, as you can see, an “ambassador” for Picture Book Month, the wonderful celebration of the importance of picture books, the brainchild of Dianne de Las Casas. Being an ambassador simply entails letting others know about Picture Book Month, and the joys to be found in picture books. As the motto of Picture Book Month says, Read! Share! Celebrate!

Every day, on the Picture Book Month website, there has been another fabulous post by one of the authors or illustrators who is a 2013 Picture Book Champion, telling why they think picture books are important. You can read every one of those posts at the site. I would like to draw your attention to three in particular.

On November 7, my friend and mentor, Emma Walton Hamilton, was the Champion. I love what she says about picture books being “a candy store, a secret garden, a best friend, a map and a set of wings, all rolled into one!”

On November 16, my friend (whom I’ve not met in person… yet), illustrator Hazel G. Mitchell, wrote about the way picture books help very young children develop a visual language, a crucial step in not only appreciating books, but also in communicating in all the ways open to us as human beings.

And going back a bit, on November 6, author/illustrator Daniel Kirk wrote about the magic inherent in picture books, saying “They let us control reality, push at its edges, take leaps in time and distance, and experience thrills and danger in a safe, controllable way.” Daniel Kirk is the author and illustrator of one of my favorite picture books, Library Mouse, which will be my Perfect Picture Book pick this Friday.

As for me, when I was a child, picture books were a way of experiencing lives other than my own — the pictures helped those other ways of life become more real for me. They ignited my imagination. I dreamed of being a part of a nursery school like that of the children in The Make Believe Parade, (a treasured Little Golden Book). I beamed with joy each time the little boy in another story announced his sister’s name, “Her name is Ann Elizabeth,” because it was so much like my own name, Elizabeth Anne. I watched with eager anticipation every time the bunny in Margaret Wise Brown’s The Golden Egg tried to figure out what was inside his egg. Those books became a part of me.

Now, picture books continue to be a portal to delight and imagination for me, as I enjoy the wealth of great books that is available to readers these days, while working toward the day when my own picture books will join them.

Here’s to picture books! Long may they be a part of children’s lives!

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