Winter warmers – 4

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An article that got lots of discussion going in the kidlitosphere this autumn was one from the New York Times claiming that picture books are no longer a staple for children – here’s the link to the article (you might need to skip an add to get to the article).

Two quotes in particular struck me:

“Parents have begun pressing their kindergartners and first graders to leave the picture book behind and move on to more text-heavy chapter books. Publishers cite pressures from parents who are mindful of increasingly rigorous standardized testing in schools.”

“We’ve accelerated the graduation rate out of picture books.”

Now there’s been a lot of debate about the accuracy of the article but I think it does still raise some interesting points – I know that lots of M’s friends (all 5 and 6) don’t get read any picture books any more, but only chapter books (if at all) and I think that is such a shame.

Two weeks ago, in response to the NY Times article Publishers Weekly put forward this counter article, Don’t Write the Obit For Picture Books Yet – a much more positive take on the state of the picture book world.

Whatever the state of sales of picture books, today I’m going to make sure that not only J gets read a picture book, but also M, and then I’m going to find one just for myself! You’re never too old to enjoy a good picture book πŸ™‚ What picture book are you going to read for yourself today?

10 Responses

  1. utbtkids

    Zoe, first time commenting here.

    To answer your question, MARKET! By Ted Lewin.

    I have a 6 year old and a 4.5 year old. We read a broad mix of picture books and chapter books at home. All said and done, I find picture books ageless. I myself enjoy a good dose of picture books every now and then πŸ™‚

    • Zoe

      So glad to have you commenting for the first time! And for pointing me towards Market! I love the look of the book and have added it to my wishlist! Have you been to any good markets in Peru? πŸ™‚

  2. Caroline@LearningParade

    Oh my! I’m so happy that we are still enjoying picture books here – we love our copy of The Jolly Postman – Santa delivered it πŸ™‚
    I always point critics of picture books in the direction of Anthony Browne – his illustrations fill in a million words not present in the text. His shape game campaign is really fun – have you seen the gallery on the children’s laureate site?

  3. Susan Stephenson, the Book Chook

    Today I read Henry the Goat (Egmont) by Ella Watkins who was 14 when she wrote and illustrated the book.

    I read about a US guy recently who wanted to ban kids reading fiction in schools. When are people going to realize that if we want our kids to read, we need to help them love reading? I honestly believe it’s as simple as that. Force-feeding, testing and pushing are going to take the joy out of it.

    • Zoe

      Hi Susan,
      Wow, that’s something to have written, illustrated and gotten published a book whilst still a teenager! From the website ( it looks like a fun read. And much more cheering that your other news about someone wanting to ban reading of fiction in schools…
      We’ve had our own rollercoaster week with reading here in the UK – with the govt first withdrawing funding for a bookgifting scheme (via Booktrust) and then doing something of a u-turn saying that they will look at ways to find funding for it to continue. I know cuts have to be made, but when just a few days before ministers are complaining about reading abilities of children in primary schools here and then they go and cut support of an amazing scheme that gets books into peoples hands…. not very joined up thinking to say the least. More info here:

  4. Choxbox

    Picture books rock, no matter how old one is! We grew up on a steady diet of Amar Chitra Kathas, so there you go! You have a couple of them right?!
    (Amar = timeless, Chitra = picture, Katha = story, in Sanskrit/Hindi/many Indian languages)

    • Zoe

      Oh yes choxbox! M was just telling me the other day that her favourite is “Deer Stories – The Gentle Wisdom of the Jataka”.

  5. utbtkids

    Ted Lewin’s water color illustrations are divine in MARKET! In fact the text is pretty so-so for the 4 – 6 age group I picked up the book for. But the illustrations more than make up for the text.

    And yes, we did market trips in Peru. Loved the Cuzco artisan square.

    • Zoe

      Thanks for warning me about the text utbtkids! I bet the markets in Peru were really full of colour.

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