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Picture Books – A Dying Format?

October 28, 2011

Mac Barnett has had enough. So, he and 21 other picture book creators are taking a stand in support of picture books with a proclamation called “A Picture Book Manifesto.” According to an article by Sally Lodge in Publishers Weekly, Barnett,  says that the manifesto “grew out of issues I’ve been thinking about and talking about for years…, and it just felt like it was time to do something.” He said the audience for the document is very broad, claiming, “It is really an exhortation to everyone—writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, art directors, booksellers, librarians, and parents—that we could all be doing better. The only people who are doing fine are the kids themselves. I really believe the rest of us should be doing better.”

Is the picture book a dying format?  Check out the article and the proclamation (linked above) and leave us a comment with your thoughts on the topic or the proclamation itself.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nancy Cardenuto permalink
    October 28, 2011 2:22 PM

    We cannot stop change. Change is as real as the air we breathe. What we can do is to be dedicated to excellence. Where there is excellence there will always be an audience.

  2. Karen Wanamaker permalink*
    October 28, 2011 2:48 PM

    I realize that the economy drives sales and that the same economy plays a large part in the survival of the picture book (and larger publishing) industry. However, as a teacher, librarian, parent, and fan of children’s literature, I believe that the picture book will always have a place in our society in my lifetime. I was deeply influenced by reading when I was growing up, and that influence has, in turn, influenced my actions as a parent who is working to instill a love of books and reading in my children. As an educator and a librarian, my world revolves around books and information. Children’s books, including the picture books, are a wonderful way to connect students to learning. I see that every day as KU’s education majors work with our children’s literature collection to find books to use with their lessons and units.

    It seems like the authors of the Picture Book Manifesto have the right idea about defending the format as a form of art among other things. But I also would defend the picture books of today that are seemingly not up to par with their standards. For me, getting students involved with reading is the key. Once they are drawn into the world of reading, they will gravitate to better and more complicated books. I have often heard teachers and librarians putting down some of my favorite books as being low quality books. I could be found reading the Sweet Valley High series right along with Victor Hugo and other classic authors and titles. Yes, I realize those aren’t picture books, but my point is that I was reading both, and part of the reason for that was that I was encouraged to read a lot during my “picture book” years. I got hooked on reading!

    I see a definite future for picture books, and I’ll be doing my part to keep the format alive.

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