An October 2010 New York Times article sited evidence that the glorious picture book is becoming less of a staple for children for several reasons, including a struggling economy and academic and parental pressure for kids to start reading chapter books earlier and earlier. A children's book author has come up with a wonderfully positive response to this sad news: She's created a save the picture book campaign! Visit the Save Everything (and the Picture Book) blog for reading suggestions and a worksheet you can fill out with your child for a chance to win the most wonderful prize of all, free books!
Remember that picture books are not only lovely and comforting to read, they are challenging in their own right. Good picture books engage children as interactive readers who must interpret pictures as well as words, and learn vocabulary and concepts that are typically more advanced that those they'll find in early chapter books. Even more mature readers can benefit from picking up a picture book and digesting a full range of sophisticated art, writing and feeling that one can rarely find elsewhere in literature. Ask your librarian for some suggestions. We all have our favorites. Mine include The Rainbow Goblins, Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs, Roxaboxen, Elena's Serenade and A Bad Case of Stripes.