We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog post...
Madge felt we should address the article in The New York Times regarding the possibility that picture books are in danger of being replaced by chapter books as parents push their kids to read up.
The link can be found here and a great blog post about the article is here.
While I understand parents and their constant belief that they must challenge their children in every aspect of life, reading should be fun and easy and enjoyable. Whether your child is reading CHICKA CHICKA BOOM BOOM or CLEMENTINE or TEN MINUTES TILL BEDTIME--all books I think are fantastic no matter how old you are--your child is learning all kinds of important things. They're learning that it's ok to have the courage to pick up a new book, open it, and decide to tackle all the words inside; they are learning to decipher context clues in the illustrations as well as the text (and the best picture books have clues in both); and they're learning vocabulary that can at times be more sophisticated and subtle than the simple words in easy readers and early chapter books. They're also learning social mores and behavior expectations from characters who are spunky, mischievous, and imperfect, just like them.
As a picture book author and editor, I feel passionately that this genre is crucial to a child's reading career. Picture books have few boundaries and that makes them perfect vehicles to teach kids possibly the most important thing they can ever learn--let your imagination run wild and life will never be boring.
Please, keep reading picture books to your kids, no matter how old they are, and if they are little, let them stay little and plunge headlong into the incredible world of picture books! Waiting to catch them are bears and princesses, pirates and mice, dragons, ghosts, hamsters, hedgehogs, reindeer, dump trucks, dinosaurs, and so much more.
Madge and Liz