We Believe in Pictures Books!

Candlewick Press launched a year-long tribute to the picture book beginning this month.  Every day for the next year, a new video will highlight authors, illustrators, librarians, teachers, readers, and YOU!  Yep, that’s right–YOU!

If you love picture books and believe they have a purpose in young reader’s lives, or in your own, you too can make a video and have it shown on the Candlewick Press site called Reading Starts Here  If you are interested in submitting a video, look at the end of this post for details.

This is also Candlewick Press’ 20th Anniversary!

Do you love picture books?

If you have been following this site, you know I LOVE picture books.  I love the bright illustrations that can tell a story without words.  I love the bouncy text that rolls off my tongue.  I love the feel of the picture book.  I love holding a picture book and turning the large pages in anticipation of the next spread.

Not everyone likes picture books for their kids.  According to a New York Times article, picture books are on their way out of the pre-schooler’s reading life.  More and more parents, mainly to keep up with educational demands, are not only encouraging their three and four year old to read chapter books, they are demanding it.  From the New York Times article:

.......Some parents say they just want to advance 
.......their children’s skills. Amanda Gignac, 
.......a stay-at-home mother in San Antonio 
.......who writes The Zen Leaf, a book blog,
 ......said her youngest son, Laurence, 
.......started reading chapter books when he was 4.

...Now Laurence is 6 ½, and while he regularly tackles 
...80-page chapter books, he is still a “reluctant reader,” 
...Ms. Gignac said.

.........Sometimes, she said, he tries to go 
.........back to picture books.

...“He would still read picture books now if we let him, 
...because he doesn’t want to work to read,” she said, 
...adding that she and her husband have kept him 
...reading chapter books.

According to the Times, parents are pressuring their kindergarten and first graders to leave picture books on the shelf and instead, read chapter books, many of which are  more appropriate for ages 9 to 13.  Most blame the demanding standardize tests as the reason.

With all due respect to Ms. Gignac, who I’m sure has only good intentions, I believe pushing kids to read something they do not want to read, or may not be ready to read, will make the child a reluctant reader.

Picture Books often use big words,  words that can be difficult for a ages 4 to 6 to understand.  For Example:

cauldron and whimsical - Into the Pumpkin,
tendency and pitiful - Laverne,
mundane and absurd - Monkey of the Month, or
preposterous and recite - Stubby Pencil Noodlehead.

Picture Books are more than just a few pages of pretty pictures and a few words.  They are important beginner books, starting when parents and others read to the young child, garnering interest in books and the adventures inside them.

If you want your child to read and read at a high level, it is no secret you must read to them when they are young, take them to the library, and help them read that early book— picture books.

I hope Candlewick Press, who takes pride in their picture books and the large selection printed each year, is successful in this year’s We Believe in Picture Books campaign.

Don’t forget to check out the new video each day at Reading Starts Here. If you would like to contribute your own video and tell the world why you believe in picture books, the information is in a pdf found HERE.

There is a special giveaway on The Nerdy Book Club. If you like winning stuff, check it out.  I received an email from them, which started this post.

In the coming year, Kid Lit Reviews will be reviewing some of the best picture books and some of the newest from Candlewick Press and other publishers, authors, and publicists.

For more information on We Believe in Picture Books Event,

Contact: Sean at Candlewick –  anniversaryvideo@candlewick.com


Why do you believe in picture books?

13 thoughts on “We Believe in Pictures Books!

  1. I’m a big fan of picture books also. My 9 year old still loves them and she reads at a Grade 4/5 level. In fact, she regularly comments on the fact that she still would enjoy having illustrations in chapter books. They will always be an important part of our lives. What I fear is that by pushing children to read chapter books too quickly that they are losing out on comprehension. I’ve seen how my son (who’s attempting to read Geronimo Stilton at 5 years old) doesn’t understand a word of what he’s reading – but he can read them! I think it’s one thing to be able to read words on a page, but it’s worthless if you can’t understand anything you are reading! That’s where picture books come in (IMHO).


    • Wow! I had not thought of this. Thank you for sharing this about your son.

      Comprehension is important. I wonder how many of the parents who push kids (or even force them, according to the Times article), to move on to higher level books, and do not allow picture books to be read, realize their child may be reading the books but not understanding what they read?


  2. Everyone, start the chant! Picture books! Picture books!

    Picture books ARE important! THEY are the ones that get young kids into reading! THEY are the guides to learning! WE need THEM and THEY need US! With all due respect, what’s next?!!!!!!!? Telling kids to keep away from comics and graphic novels?!!!!!? *SIGH* THEY make GREAT bedtime stories! THEY help calm US! THEY bring US TO-GETH-ER!!!! WE NEED THEM!!!! I read at a sixth grade level in kindergarten and I STILL love to read picutre books!!

    Erik 🙂


    • Everyone start the chant! Go Erik! Go Erik! Go Erik!

      This is the best comment I have ever received and will probably ever receive about picture books.

      I agree, we need picture books and picture books need us. What a wonderful way of putting this, Eric.

      I am going to send this comment, attributed to you, to Candlewick Press.


  3. I believe picture books will always be important in a young child’s life. It’s where the child becomes intrigued with words and story. It’s what the young child wants to look at and have read to them. Pictures, words, and soon, reading by themselves should be an adventure for kids. LONG LIVE THE PICTURE BOOK!


    • An adventure! Great comment. Add it to Renee’s and you wonder how many adventures are experienced when word or sentence comprehension suffers.

      Speaking of adventure, did this thought stem from your Adventure series? Is adventure in the right brain because, maybe, you have been working on your Pen Pieyu ADVENTURES Series? Yes? Good for us! I cannot wait to read book two, or at least get a taste by knowing the title. Hint. Hint. 😉


  4. Excellent post! I couldn’t agree with you more. Many parents are pushing their chilren to read early readers and chapter books way to early. Where is the fun of discovery in picture books and imagination? Heard about the Candlewick’s “We Believe in Picture Books” campaign from Pete Reynolds. Meant to look into it. Thanks for the great reminder.



      • Thank you Patricia. I have it fixed. You can either copy the email address after Sean’s name or click on the email address to be sent to, at least, a Windows compose page.

        I am not sure if Yahoo Mail or Gmail or any of the others will work.

        I appreciate you letting me know. I hate it when the blog acts up or, even worse, I act up. ;-(


        • No, I’m a former journalist, and prepublished PB author. But, I had kids and I know what’s happening with the trends. Bothers me that parents are pushing kids so hard.


    • If I remember correctly, and sometimes I do not, you are a teacher. Which gives you a front row seat to the books kids like and which genre they want to read and when. Thank you for agreeing with my sentiments in the post regarding pushing kids to read chapter books and leave picture books alone.


  5. Hi, I am the author of Lily’s Little Life Lessons, and I agree with you-I love picture books! I look forward to reading books to my daughter at night. We enjoy looking at the pictures and talking about the stories together. I hope the campaign you wrote about today encourages parents to pick up picture books and read them with their children. Thanks! Rebecca


    • Hi Rebecca, You are lucky you can enjoy picture books with your daughter.
      I imagine it must be a fun thing to do. I used to read to my niece and great-nephews when they were young. Now, I read PB’s to my cats. 🙂


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