It's November 1st, and Picture Book Month is here! I'm so excited about this because I think picture books are pieces of art that we can all collect and enjoy. I love my crates full of picture books, and even though I teach 5th and 6th grades, we read them all the time. I use them for teaching reading and writing skills, as mentor texts for writing, to teach visual literacy, build background knowledge, and just to enjoy. This month we will read them to predict a Caldecott winner, too. We'll be writing reviews about 2013 picture books on our classroom blog. Can't wait!
I love these words of Tomie dePaola in today's Picture Book Month blog post: "The main difference between book illustration and film, TV or electronic media is the frantic pace of the one and the stillness of the other. The importance of stillness versus frantic action is of the utmost in the intellectual and emotional welfare of our young children. We already face the problems of hyperactivity and lack of focus." It is getting more and more difficult to sustain children's attention for any amount of time, but when I pull out a picture book, I know I've got them for a while. Even at ages 10-12, students are riveted by a great picture book. I know when I go to a literacy conference, some of my favorite moments are when a speaker reads a picture book to us. My favorite reader is Lester Laminack. I can listen to him read all day. We're all craving those few moments when we can rest into a good book, and picture books absorb our attention fully. We must connect the words and illustrations, feel the mood the book creates, and comprehend the full text. We laugh, we cry, and we understand the world more clearly.
Today is an exciting day in my classroom. First, we will be Skyping Liesl Shurtliff about her wonderful book, Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin, our first read aloud of the year. Then I will kick off Picture Book Month with Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman because she sent us lots of swag when I tweeted about how much I loved the book.
The fun does not stop there! When school started, I entered Kate Messner's Wake Up Missing School Launch contest and was one of the winners! We just received our signed books yesterday, so I'm giving them out today. I know they're going to be excited!! We'll be Skyping Kate in the late winter about her new book.
What am I waiting for?! It's time to go to school and celebrate the joy of books and authors/illustrators!! Happy Picture Book Month!