I posted this piece a while back…
With my son’s 4th grade year coming to an end, I find this information more timely than ever.
I love picture books, and I often write about them. In my post, Top 10 Reasons Picture Books Rock, I touch upon the importance of continuing to read aloud to your child even AFTER he/she is able to read independently. Please note that although children may be ready for early readers and chapter books, I implore parents to continue reading picture books with/to your children. There is no better way to connect at the end of a hectic day than to get lost in a picture book together. This ritual is one you can continue well into their teen years (yes, really, I promise). A child should not be denied this sacred time with you, just because he has “grown up”. Reading and/or revisiting picture books is a comforting ritual for children, and picture books have a magical way of opening dialogue and accessing feelings that older children may not otherwise share with you. So, crack open a picture book and enjoy!
If you are making this transition, you may find the following articles helpful.I hope you’ll discover something to enhance your family’s shared reading experiences.
7 reasons why reading aloud to older kids is still very important
1. Children listen on a different level than they read.
2. Life Lessons.
4. Reading aloud with older children helps builds vocabulary.
5. Physical closeness.
6. Sense of security.
7. Sense of belonging.
The hidden benefits of reading aloud – even for older kids
Here is another great resource for reading to your older child. This article includes an extensive list of recommended books.
Reading Aloud With Children Twelve & Older
Do you read aloud with your older child? I’d love to hear about your experience.
I am celebrating the power of picture books through an initiative called #MARCHingBookstoKids https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO Please join us by donating a book to a child of an incarcerated parent.
The Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project is collecting books for children birth-17 years of age. Each month, VNS volunteers record an incarcerated parent reading a book to his/her child. The book and the recording are mailed to the child to keep. Please include a note stating that your book is part of the Picture Book Pass it On/MARCHing Books to Kids initiative.
VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project
c/o Tabby Kuehl (MARCHing Books to KIds)
1111 9th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50314
Thank you for making a difference to a family in need.
PSA: Book Drive for Children with an Incarcerated Parent.
The number of kids with incarcerated parents has increased nearly 80% in the last 20 years, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. More than 2.7 million children have a parent who is incarcerated, and parents of another 10 million children have been incarcerated at some point. The experience can be profoundly difficult for children, increasing their risk of living in poverty and housing instability, as well as causing emotional trauma, pain, and social stigma. http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/article/reading-inside
But, through programs like the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa Storybook Project, some of that stress melt away when kids are able to visit their parent and read a special book together. Through an audio-tape reading program wherein imprisoned parents/grandparents read books to their children/grandchildren on tape, family bonds are strengthened and literacy skills improve as they encourage their children to read with them and in their absence.
The Storybook Project recruits, screens and trains volunteers to work with incarcerated parents and/or grandparents at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, Iowa and the Newton Correctional Release Center (CNRC) in Newton, Iowa. Once per month, volunteers work with the mother, grandmother or father. The parent/grandparent and volunteer choose a book from the Storybook library that is appropriate for the child. The parent or grandparent reads the book while the volunteer records the reading onto a digital voice recorder. The book and CD are mailed to the child.
How can you help? Donate a book. Visit https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO
The Storybook Project serves children Birth-17. They welcome donations of board books, picture books, early readers, graphic novels, chapter books, novels, non-fiction, etc. The sky is the limit!
Throughout the month of March, Picture Book Pass it On is launching a special initiative called “MARCHing Books to Kids”.
We encourage book lovers to donate a favorite children’s book, and we invite children’s authors to donate signed copies of their books to the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.
To participate in MARCHing Books to Kids, please follow the 3 calls to action:
#1 Pledge to donate a new picture book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project. Authors are invited to sign their books. Please include a note stating that your book is part of the Picture Book Pass it On/MARCHing Books to Kids initiative. Books may be mailed to:
VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project
c/o Tabby Kuehl
1111 9th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50314
#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO. Share it on your blog and on social media. Please include our badge and #PBPiO, and #MARCHingBookstoKids
#3 Pass it on. When you post about your pledge, challenge one or more friends to join your #PBPiO giving chain. Encourage them to take the pledge and keep passing it on…
If distance prohibits your ability to mail books to the Storybook Project, please consider donating books to children in need in your own community. Oh, and be sure to share your giving story on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO We love to see how books are reaching kids all over the globe. So far, we have people “Passing it On” in the US, the UK, Australia, and Greece!
Please feel free to contact me at www.michelleeastmanbooks.com
Thank you for making the difference in the lives of children and families!
Knowing that the future of our country is inextricably linked to our skills in literacy, and you can make a difference immediately. We have known for as long as we have had written language that literacy is the vehicle for other learning. When children have access to books, we empower them to develop a lifelong love for learning, which strengthens us all. http://www.americanliteracynews.com/reading-fundamentals/americas-literacy-crisis-an-overlooked-epidemic
I am happy to join gargoylebruce on his Oddity Odyssey. The challenge is all about finding books that are odd FOR YOU!
I headed to our local library last week, in search of a weird picture book. I was not disappointed when I discovered this little beauty.
Here Comes the Garbage Barge is not a title one typically finds in the Easy Reader section.
The somewhat grotesque illustrations stand out among the “sea” of kid-lit cuties.
The subject matter was undeniably yucky! But, I decided to “dive” into its pages.
I’m guessing this book is not at the top of the most checked-out titles list. Probably just a few Wednesday Adams-types and I took the “plunge”.
You know what they say about judging a book by its cover? Well, it turns out this book was much “deeper” than I suspected.
The book is based on the true story of a barge called the Mobro 4000. By the late 1980’s, Long Island’s landfills were overflowing and polluting the groundwater. City officials outlawed burying any more garbage. Since hauling the trash upstate was very expensive, the decision was made to ship it down South. In March 1987, the barge left Long Island, piled high with 3,100 tons of rotting garbage, looking for a place to discharge its cargo. It traveled all the way from New York to North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Mexico, and Belize, but no community wanted to let it unload. After 162 days at sea, the Garbage Barge returned to Long Island, and the trash was incinerated. The media attention highlighted our country’s waste disposal problem, and recycling became much more widely practiced.
The moral of the story? Don’t Make so Much Garbage, and trashy books can make a big “splash”!
Have you read any weird books lately?
The Legend of Dust Bunnies: A Fairy’s Tale by Michelle R. Eastman and Illustrated by Kevin Richter.
The Girl with the Picture Book TattooEmbed from Getty Images
Spoiler Alert…I don’t have a picture book tattoo. But, as I was driving my son to school today, the idea of a picture book tattoo popped into my head. A lot of weird thoughts pop in and out of there, so I didn’t give it much thought. But, imagine my surprise, when I later opened The Story Connection Daily and saw this article: 50 Incredible Tattoos Inspired by Books from Childhood. While I scrolled through the photos, I was reminded of the truly remarkable pieces of art picture books house.
But, I was most struck by the poignant simplicity of many of the choices.
I wondered why a person would choose to permanently mark herself with Lemony Snicket’s line, “The world is quiet here.” The answer, in her words, “the world is quiet here,” reflecting its dedication to keeping the world quiet, in other words, peaceful, knowledgeable and safe.”
Other choices needed no explanation: Shel Silverstein’s sketch of the old man from The Giving Tree, Dr. Seuss’ teetering stack of turtles, or Margret Wise Brown’s scampering Runaway Rabbit. One image said it all.
As I reflected on the imagery, conveyed by both text and illustration, I was reminded of the indelible imprint picture books etch on each one of us.
I may not have a picture book tattooed on my skin, but I proudly wear their marks on my heart.
Or, anytime, really. But, it wasn’t until I became a mom that I really began to savor that smell.
To be honest, I never knew it as a child. When I look back at my earliest memories, I recall a lot-good and bad. But, there is not a single memory of anyone reading to or with me. I cannot name a favorite picture book from my childhood; I don’t have one. Picture books were not a top-priority for my teenaged parents. Later, picture books were not on my single-mom’s priority list either. The weird thing is that I never knew what I didn’t have; I wasn’t conscious of the fact that my childhood was devoid of picture books. It wasn’t until my son came along…that it hit me-hard. I’ll never forget that night. We were curled up together, lights dimmed, reading our way through Goodnight Moon for the 100th time. He looked up, and asked me a very simple question, “Mom, what was your favorite bedtime story when you were little?” As I struggled to grasp hold of the memory, I could hear the sound of my tears, dropping onto the pages of the board book. I couldn’t answer; I didn’t have an answer.
Many of us take for granted the sacred ritual of cracking open a picture book, and cuddling together while the words and pictures collectively take us away. You can probably recall having been read to by your parents or caregivers. You likely hold a special picture book, from your childhood, close to your heart. And, until now, you’ve probably not given much thought to how profound that experience can be.
Imagine, never having that.
When I look back on my early childhood memories, I recall a lot-good and bad. But, there is not a single memory of anyone reading to or with me. I cannot name a favorite picture book from my childhood; I don’t have one. Picture books were not a top priority for my teenaged parents. Later, picture books were not on my single-mom’s priority list either.
I guess that’s why picture books hold such a special place in my heart now. Perhaps that’s why, like a starved hyena, I gobble them up. Maybe it’s why I chose to write my own. I know it is why I jump up on my soapbox, touting the power of picture books.
It’s Picture Book Month, people! So, crack open a picture book. Cuddle with your child or loved one. Take a whiff, and enjoy.Embed from Getty Images
I started a new literacy initiative called Picture Book Pass it On #PBPiO, giving free books to kids in need. Learn how you can help kids in your area https://michelleeastmanbooks.wordpress.com/about/picture-book-pass-it-on-pbpio/
Share your giving story on our new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO
I am thrilled to count myself among the ranks of children’s picture book writers. I believe, whole-heartedly, in the power of picture books. Of course, there are thousands of reasons to love picture books, but I’ve compiled my top ten.
My Top Ten Reasons Picture Books ROCK:
- Picture books provide an ideal setting to connect with your child. Reading picture books provides a time for parent and child to just be, together. There is no better way to connect, at the end of a hectic day, than to get lost in a picture book together. This ritual is one that you can continue well into their teen years (yes, really, I promise). Trust me, these shared moments are what kids look back on. That child becomes a parent who reads to his/her child, and so on, and so on…
- Picture books are funny. Where else can you laugh, out loud, about a pigeon begging to drive a bus or a “crack-up” over a dog, who despite his farting habit, becomes a hero?
- Picture books are serious. Some of the heaviest social and personal issues seem more approachable when told through a picture book. This can be a fantastic opportunity to explore situations, fears, and events that children might otherwise be reluctant to explore.
- Picture books are art. You don’t have to be an art expert to enjoy the limitless artistic styles waiting to be explored within a picture book.
- Picture books are ideal for reluctant readers. The illustrations in picture books help children understand the story better by providing visual clues of what is happening in the story and what might happen next. While a chapter book, filled with lines of text, might be intimidating-a picture book welcomes us to step inside-no special skills required. And wordless picture books provide an excellent opportunity to explore a story, without reading a single word. Wordless picture books can also be a great tool when working with English language learners.
- Picture books teach. I challenge you to find a non-fiction topic NOT explored in picture books. From world cultures and traditions, to life-cycles, or politics, picture books have it all. Teachers often use non-fiction picture books to supplement a specific topic or concept.
- Picture books are accessible. There is a reason librarians place picture books in bins on the floor and on low shelves. Picture books can take it, they are meant to be handled.
- Picture books make kids better readers. When we read picture books with our children, we are laying a strong foundation for their emergent literacy skills. The simple text helps them become skilled at sounding out words. They learn about the context and structure of stories, and recognize the relationship between cause and effect. All of these skills are crucial to becoming fluent readers.
- Picture books are NOT just for young children. As children get older, reading becomes a solitary adventure. We often push them (too fast, too soon) into chapter books and novels. But your child should not be denied this sacred time with you just because he/she is “growing up”. No one, nope, no one is EVER too old for picture books.
- Picture books are empowering. Children depend on adults for so much. We tell them what to eat, how to dress, what to say, and when to play. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for children to feel empowered. Going to the library, and allowing your child to choose his/her own picture books, is a great opportunity for him/her to feel independent. Very young children are able to memorize their favorite picture book stories. I don’t believe there is any better feeling of accomplishment than when a child can “read” a picture book to his/her parent. Can he/she truly read the words? No, but “reading” what he/she has memorized means he/she is internalizing the structure of a story. He/she knows it has a beginning, a middle and an end. He/she knows how to hold the book, and to turn the pages at the appropriate time. And this tiny person is reading, to you, all by him/herself! How cool is that?!
I hope my top ten list encourages you to crack open a picture book, with your child or loved one, and enjoy! Please feel free to leave a comment and share what you love most about picture books. I am interested to know how picture books impact you and your family.