Picture books usually contain around 31 “rare words,” words that a child does not typically hear. Because of this, they are, indeed, powerful tools to help a child prepare for school. Hearing the rich vocabulary, presented with visual cues and repetition, are the building blocks for getting a child ready to read.
According to its website, “Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November.” It’s fantastic that picture books get a whole month. They are so versatile! For instance, children need repeated readings of books to learn vocabulary, but you can use those extra times to have great conversations about the pictures.
Spend a little time after reading to draw pictures inspired by the reading, or participate in some imaginative play. Ask your librarian for their favorite book to sing. Or make your own stories, drawing pictures to work on the fine motor skills needed for early writing.
Celebrate Picture Book Month with MCPL by checking out some new and old favorites:
This nonfiction title has been a hit recommendation. The simple layout of a single word and beautiful, die-cut, peek-a-boo illustrations make this a great vocabulary builder. Where it really shines is in its ability to grow with the reader. Back material provides more in-depth information on each land and water form, making this a great read for all ages.
Awarded the Caldecott Award―which recognizes the most “distinguished American picture book for children”―in 1963, The Snowy Day is a classic reminder of childhood. Keats’ signature collage style follows Peter as he explores the city on a day off from school. All of Keats’ work is worth checking out, as is the great picture book biography, A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney.
Inspired by the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, and the treats her mother made for her growing up, Lin creates a touching fable of the moon phases. This sweet, tender story is sure to become a bedtime favorite. The relationship between Mama and Little Star is also super relatable for parents.
Another Caldecott Medal winner, this cumulative story employs clever wordplay and gorgeous artwork. Based on a folk song about seven soldiers, there are surprises along the way. There is also a great Weston Woods video of this story available through Just for Kids Access Video.
The first day of school can be scary, but Woodson paints a beautiful picture of a multicultural classroom and the things that bring us together. Illustrator Rafael López weaves acrylic paint on wood, pen and ink, pencil, and watercolors into a digital collage that brings this story to life.
This was my favorite book growing up. My mom and dad probably read it a hundred times each. Repetition is a great way to build vocabulary and a love of reading. If you give a kid a great book, they are going to want to read it again!
Check in with your favorite librarian for even more suggestions, and let us know your favorite picture books below.
Youth Services Department