The Power of Picture Books

The Power of Picture BooksOn my day off this week, I find myself eagerly drafting my first blog post for FLVS because (as all writers understand) I not only enjoy writing, I need to write.

So given my literacy background and current position as a first grade teacher at FLVS, I think I’ve chosen the right topic for me and you, my readers.  Author Randy Pausch eloquently says, “Your passion must come from the things that fuel you from the inside.”

My own children were quite young when I started my career in early childhood education, but it was clear to me then (and even clearer now) that I am passionate about beautiful picture books and quality children’s literature. 

I whole-heartedly believe when those two are in alignment, we have the recipe to inspire our students to learn and fall in love with books.  So how does “the joyous power of picture books” turn young listeners into readers and writers?

Now I could write all the quotes from the experts on why young students need picture books incorporated into their curriculum, but instead will ask you to take a real break and give yourself a three-minute visual and auditory treat.

Enjoy the art from the covers of beautiful picture books, listen to upbeat music, and read what world-renowned authors and illustrators have to say about the importance of offering their craft to your students.

This video is a gift from author Katie Davies, who produced it in honor of International Picture Book Month, celebrated in November:

I invite you to explore all the rich resources on the website, where every day in November a picture book champion explains the importance of picture books.

The site also provides a wise reminder for those of us sharing the virtual version of these treasures: “In this digital age where people are predicting the coming death of print books, picture books (the print kind) need love. And the world needs picture books. There’s nothing like the physical page turn of a beautifully crafted picture book.”Picture Book Quote

Just as the stars must be in alignment for the words and the art to complete one great picture book, the stars were in alignment for me when selecting Debi Ridpath Ohi’s captioned comic for this blog post.

I was excited to see that she referenced my current professional read, Donalyn Miller’s powerful and practical book, The Book Whisperer:  Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child (2009).  And so, I will use that book’s beginning as my end:

What we have loved
Others will love
And we will teach them how
– William Wordsworth

More to Explore

And, for those of you who think this is all about elementary school, (Go FLVS Elementary team!) check out…

  • a great book about using picture books with older students:
    The Power of Picture Books by Fresh and Harkins (NCTE, September 2009).  You can preview Chapter 1 here.
  • a current article with reasons to include picture books with older students:  Teachers Find Many Reasons to Use Picture Books with Middle and High School Students by Linda Jacobson

Photo credit: Debbie Ridpath Ohi at

Post by: Nancy Jo Mannix, Former FLVS 1st Grade Teacher

2 comments on “The Power of Picture Books

  1. Amanda Schaffer

    Nancy Jo- thank you for this awesome post about picture books. I look forward to encouraging teachers to use picture books and thank you for your beautiful reflections!! Can’t wait to hear more from you!!


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