An excellent article entitled "Why We Love Picture Books" appeared in the
Sunday, September 22, 2002 Parade section of The Hartford Courant in
conjunction with the opening of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in
Amherst, Mass. Excerpts from that article appear below.
"With the great books, there is a pace and magic" according to Nick Clark, the
museum's director. "But it's not just the book. You remember that you were
snuggling with somebody".
According to the article, "A picture book is best appreciated when one(usually
older) person reads and turns the pages, and another(usually younger)person
eagerly listens, anticipates and responds, touching and pointing as each new
picture comes into view. These moments form a powerful connection between
adult and child, which is why cherished picture books can resuscitate memories
and emotions even into old age."
According to Eric Carle, "reading picture books to a child has the same value
as those shared walks; a way of giving of oneself by spending time together.
Part of the whole process between the adult and the child, says Carle, is
showing the child, "I have time for you, I respect you, I love you, I care for
you-therefore I read to you.'"
The staff at the Eric Carle Museum recommends these steps to nurture a love of
words and pictures in children:
-"MAKE A SPECIAL READING SPACE in your home. For example, designate a certain
chair as a "reading chair", spread a special blanket on the floor for a "book
picnic" or make a "reading nest" out of a big pile of pillows.
-GET A LIBRARY CARD. Browse through the shelves together and spend reading time
at the library. Check out a stack of big books.
-CHOOSE BOOKS WITH INTERESTING DESIGNS AND TEXTURES so the child will want to
touch and explore as you read the accompanying words.
-ENCOURAGE A CHILD TO PARTICIPATE in the storytelling. Ask what he sees in a
picture or what an animal on the page is saying. Ask him to act out parts of a
story as you read.
GET SILLY. Don't be embarrassed to use funny voices for characters. You will be
showing a child that it's good to use imagination-and the child will adore you