In Praise of Picture Books: Books We (and Caldecott) Love


I’ve always loved picture books. My earliest childhood memory is a picture book on puffins. Picture books encourage creativity as illustrations inspire the reader/viewer to write a story in their own imagination. It’s a different type of literacy, entirely compatible and complementary to young readers’ early attempts at phonics and reading. 

The Caldecott Medal, awarded annually by the Association for Library Services to Children, is the most coveted prize for creators of picture books. Named for nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott, it honors books that encourage visual literacy. You’re sure to find something intriguing in this year’s winner and runner-up honor books. They’re food for your child’s imagination. 

This year’s Caldecott Medal winner is A Ball for Daisy, (cover seen above) written and illustrated by Chris Raschka, published by Schwartz & Wade Books. The illustrations of doggie Daisy as she goes through a day are reminiscent of medieval Asian illustrations. You can see the artist’s mastery in how few actual brushstrokes each illustration took. They’re deceptively simple, yet wonderfully expressive. This wordless book by Chris Raschka tells us the story of an irrepressible little dog whose most prized possession is accidently destroyed. It’s described as a “buoyant tale of loss, recovery and friendship.” I like the way the illustrations invite such personal interpretation. Your imagination (and your child’s) will be sparked. 

Continue reading at Media Darlings.

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