Book reviews · Education

Picture books don’t bite

6 April 2017

Dear Clarice,

This week was your school’s book donation drive and I thought it would be a great opportunity for you to get rid of books you don’t read anymore, to free up some space and make room for new books. Oh well, it was just wishful thinking on my part.

It was so hard for you to part with your books that 3/4 of what I selected returned to their original places on your book shelves. “Why?” I thought you have outgrown picture books and wished to move on to thicker worded books. But you answered:

  •  “But I still want to read Pinkalicious again and feel her sadness when her classmates rejected her favourite pink colour”,
  • “I want to feel how Arthur felt when he pulled out his tooth”,
  • “Princess must have felt jealous when little baby brother came along”……

Then it dawned on me that picture books are still valuable in helping you articulate your feelings. It expressed the same feelings you may be experiencing without judgement, it is short and non-tedious.

Regardless of older or younger children, picture books which teach values are invaluable. As our society becomes more visual, children with short attention spans can start reading picture books to gain visual and moral nourishment. For some children ploughing through a 108-page book may be daunting, but picture books could offer a short pleasurable reading experience in digestible bits. Here are some resources which extols the benefits of picture books for middle school children. So regardless how old your kids are, let them delve into the illustrations and enjoy a picture book!

Targeted teaching with picture books

Teachers Find Many Reasons to Use Picture Books with Middle and High School Students

Teacher Paul Hankins with some of his books.

Teacher Paul Hankins with some of his books. (source: School Library Journal)



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