Shocking discoveries about picture books

22 Oct

This week I’ve been weeding the picture books in my library which date from the 1960s forward.  Luckily, I had some readings to help guide the process:  Kay E. Vandergrift’s webpage Notes for the Analysis of a Picture Book and John Sciezka’s article Design Matters.  So although I’ve been weeding the 250 picture books that we have in our secondary school library for age, wear, relevance and subject matter, I hadn’t really paid much attention to design. Sciezka’s article on design is so good that I immediately sent it to all the art teachers I know.

I particularly found Vandergrift’s suggestions for analysis to be helpful.  She suggests reading the story without looking at the pictures, and then looking at the pictures without reading the story.  That may sound simple, but few of the picture books in my collection made the cut because they didn’t have both a great story and great design.  I even discovered that *shocker* there were non-fiction books mixed in with the fiction.

Mostly I questioned why I had other picture books mixed into my otherwise secondary collection and at what point did I want to separate them out.  Why is Shaun Tan’s book The Arrival in with the graphic novels when it is clearly a picture book? Why are the picture books of myths in the folklore section rather than with the picture books?

One major thing I did decide is that the awful juvenile stickers on the picture books have got to go.  There is nothing juvenile about reading a great picture book.  Why would any sane teen pick up a book with so much stigma just in its label?  As Sciezka says:  “Design is an essential part of any…” library.


Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “Shocking discoveries about picture books

  1. introvertedlass

    October 22, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Alanna. I’ve bookmarked Kay E. Vandergrift’s webpage Notes for the Analysis of a Picture Book. What a great resource! I loved her strategy of “reading the story without looking at the pictures, and then looking at the pictures without reading the story.”

    • alanna29

      October 22, 2012 at 7:53 pm

      Me too! As simple as it sounds, it really gives the book a run through its paces.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension

Education musings, technology, and lessons; my life as a teacher by Pernille Ripp.

Government Library & IM Professionals Network

Building the Canadian library and information community

Riverfest Elora

Riverfest Elora's Ice Jam | March 7 2015 | Elora Mill Inn

Candice Curry - Women With Worth

because you are amazing just the way you are!

TED Blog

The TED Blog shares interesting news about TED, TED Talks video, the TED Prize and more.

Wearing 500 Hats

Thoughts about teacher-librarianship, technology, and online learning

Reflecting English

In search of classroom answers


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,809 other followers

%d bloggers like this: