Nov 9, 2013

Ta-Da! November is the Second Annual PICTURE BOOK MONTH!

To celebrate ALA sponsored Picture Book Month, I'll reserve two short reviews for the end of this post and devote the bulk of my comments to sharing/linking to other posts featuring the celebration of PICTURE BOOKS! 

(Let's all hum along to the Oliver tune: FOOD, Glorious FOOD! Substitute the words PICTURE BOOKS, Glorious PICTURE BOOKS!  It's a stretch, but you can do it! All together now, 1...2...3... HUM!)

For starters, try this post with comments from leading picture book creators about WHY picture books are so important (and always will be). Who better to comment than Rosemary Wells, Tomi DePaola, and other award-winning stars of the kid-lit world?

Then there's Mr. Schu's remarkable homage to Picture Book Month on his blog, Watch. Connect. Read.  You won't want to miss this one: video book trailers, outstanding titles, and the announcement of his Mock Caldecott list for 2013 picture books.

An impressive variety of outstanding titles is featured in the @YourLibrary blog, too. A quick glance at the book covers and brief reviews offers a sampling of the wide-ranging topics, targets, and tones within the world of picture books.

Wrap up your tour with BookLovingGrandma'sBlog post. She reminds us that picture books from the past are worth celebrating, too. In fact, the timeless quality of picture books is one of their most amazing qualities. For example:

Chronicle Books, 2002
RUBY'S WISH, written by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, offers a glimpse into the life of an exuberant young girl growing up in China. This takes place at a time when boys were favored with education, privilege, and the best of everything, while girls were educated in domestic skills and expected to marry and tend to a family. Ruby's wise grandfather heard the truth in her poem, listened to her wishes, and helped them to come true. Based on a the real life of the author's grandmother, Ruby, whose grandfather supported her with finances and his love to attend university and shape a life for herself outside the expectations and conventions of her time.

Capstone: Picture Window Books, 2014

With a story created by Patti Kim and pictures by Sonia Sanchez, HERE I AM is a 2014 release set in modern day New York City. When a young Korean boy's family relocates there he finds himself overwhelmed and confused, unable to read his new environment, literally and socially. Self-imposed isolation is his solution. When his special seed, his familiar source of comfort, drops out a window he braves the unknown and gradually discovers a welcoming array of people, places, aromas and activities in his new city. This is a wordless book blending picture book illustration patterns with graphic panels to reveal a story that is both specific and universal. The author note indicates it, too, is based on a true story, the author's own. 

In both cases there are fascinating visual details, emotions, and cultural references. The story lines are location referenced and anchored in specific times, separated by an ocean and more than a century. Yet both address the question of a young person feeling alienated from his or her home life and society's expectations. 

The power of picture books lies in this remarkable versatility and universality. What are you doing to celebrate and share picture books this month? (Or ANY month!)

Popped back in to add a post from the incredible Debbie Ohi on this topic just posted on her InkyGirl blog.

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Picture books are as versatile and diverse as the readers who enjoy them. Join me to explore the wacky, wonderful, challenging and changing world of picture books.