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The Disappearing Picture Book?

October 13, 2010

Really… I don’t understand how people can be this shortsighted, this dumb.

“Parents are saying, ‘My kid doesn’t need books with pictures anymore,’ ” said Justin Chanda, the publisher of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. “There’s a real push with parents and schools to have kids start reading big-kid books earlier. We’ve accelerated the graduation rate out of picture books.”

Booksellers see this shift too.

This manic, maniacal, shift away from picture books… misses the point on so many levels! It’s teach-to-the-test panic, which the article acknowledges. But… the sacrifices in thinking, in developmental stages. I don’t know that much about little kids’ brains, but I do know that picture books invite kids to imagine, to dream. And gorgeous ones are fun for caregivers to linger over, too. What about… cuddling with a bedtime story? What about getting a developing brain exposed to beautiful colors, textures, worlds beyond imagining?

Here’s more, about developing brains and the threat of the disappearing picture book, via Psychology Today.

Are we raising bubble-filling robots?  With no imaginations? But they’ll be good at tests… Factory drones! I can’t even form a coherent thought about how mad this makes me.

I had already planned to enjoy one of the highlights of my year, reading kids picture books, and tween novels for the Ledger gift guide. Now I feel a touch political about it. There are beautiful books coming out every year, by talented artists, and writers who pay attention to the sounds and rhythms of language.

What’s your favorite picture book? If you have kids in your orbit, what books do they love, lately?

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