The Magic of Picture Books

Magic of Picture books with a girl reading on a cloud

The Magic of Picture Books

August 6, 2021

Picture books are a portal to another world. One where kids can explore the unfamiliar and learn new and exciting things. With vibrant illustrations combined with words and imagination, the magic picture books hold for children is anything but boring. But these enchanting book friends do so much more! Key statistics show how powerful and magical they can be.

Did you know that a picture book’s rhythmic cadence helps kids develop and practice phonological awareness? By recognizing sounds and patterns, young readers (and listeners) can learn to speak in full and more complicated sentences. In the same vein, studies show that the repetition of reading a picture book multiple times builds language skills and vocabulary by 12%!

Picture books allow for epic teaching moments as well. Educators use picture book to introduce reading strategies, inspire discussion, and engage students. They make a great aid in teaching English and provide ways to teach complex ideas in a simple way, including contextual clues, making inferences, and identifying sequence of events.

They can also reinforce social emotional learning skills such as in Katy Hudson’s MINDFUL MR. SLOTH which shows the importance of practicing patience and slowing down. Or in DONUT WORRY by Christianne Jones and illustrated by Jack Viant which focuses on learning how to manage anxieties and that it’s okay to not be okay.

Nonfiction picture books teach children about the world around them like in PANDO by Kate Allen Fox and illustrated by Turine Tran. In this book readers see the Utah grove of quaking Aspen trees connected by their roots to form one of the world’s oldest and largest living things! With lyrical poetry, Fox highlights the science, action, and compassion needed to save this wonder of nature.

Picture books are a safe, nonthreatening way to tackle more sensitive or complex topics to help kids better process the ideas and to help adults start those conversations. In MY SISTER, DAISY by Adria Karlsson and illustrated by Linus Curci, a young boy adjusts to change when his sibling tells him she is a girl and wants to be called Daisy.

More benefits of Picture Books:

•           Boosts social and emotional learning

•           Builds language skills and vocabulary

•           Develops critical thinking skills and self-awareness

•           Introduces the concept of reading for those that can’t yet

•           Exposes to higher level vocabulary and complicated stories

•           Promotes curiosity, empathy, and social skills

•           Bonds child with who is reading to them

•           Motivates to read independently

•           Sparks a love of reading

•           Helps children become better listeners

•           Inspires visual thinking

Just this year, School Library Journal held its first Picture Book Palooza, a “virtual celebration of authors and artists dedicated to the visual dance and extraordinary craft of picture books”. This event featured keynotes, author panels, and illustrator spotlights. This event was so fun for Capstone to participate in and to have some of our authors speak. It was powerful to have so many attendees, publishers, authors, and illustrators come together to celebrate the magic of picture books. We can’t wait for the next one!

In conclusion, you don’t have to be a witch or wizard to understand the magic of picture books! Our illustrated friends provide so many benefits for early readers and let their imaginations soar! Looking for a more information on picture books? Check out our deep dive page here and if you’re wanting more of a downloadable format, you can view our Magic of Picture Books infographic here.