Unfortunate Trends: Waning Interest in Children’s Picture Books

Wendy Lawton

Blogger:  Wendy Lawton

Location: Books & Such Central Valley Office

Last week Janet did some trend spotting in her blog posts. It’s always fun to look toward the future with anticipation, figuring out how to adapt ourselves to the coming trends. I’m a person who resists change. Yes, I generally look toward the future with optimism but I always allow myself time to mourn what used to be. Happily, everything has a way of circling around again so we usually don’t need to mourn long.

But for now I’m going to talk about some of the unfortunate trends I see. Hopefully, these trends are temporary but they are disturbing nonetheless.  Last month the New York Times ran an article about the decline of the picture book. The author found that parents are jumping over picture books to hurry their children into chapter books. How sad.

As an agent I don’t often represent picture books but I’m a dedicated fan of the art form. I’d hate to even admit to how many feet of bookshelf space in my house is dedicated to these slim volumes. I consider them story and art. I originally bought picture books to read to my children but it didn’t take long for me to stop using children as a ruse to buy the books. I buy them because I love them.

Just a foot or so of my picture book collection

Just a foot or so of my picture book collection

For me the books are a bound art form that combines both art and words– a feast for the eyes and the heart. Everyone who knows me knows that there is no gift I love better than a fine picture book. I’ve previously mentioned some of the writer/illustrators I collect but if you want to see some of the best, check out contemporary authors Patricia Polacco, Jan Brett, Susan Jeffers, Michael Hague, Trina Schart Hyman, Barbara McClintock, my own client Andy McGuire, and many others. In the “antiquarian” category I love Johnny Gruelle’s early Volland Press Raggedy Ann books, Rumer Godden, Tasha Tudor, Maud Humphrey, Kate Greenaway, H. Willabeek LeMair, Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit books, The Babar books and so many more there’s not room to list them. There’s barely enough room to shelve them all. One of my all time favorites is All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan. These are works of art.

Illustration is one of my favorite art forms. In fact, I’m enjoying my purchase of two new original illustrations by Andy McGuire that appeared in his book, Rainy Day Games.

Andy McGuire's Chameleon. Original watercolor from Rainy Day Games.

Andy McGuire's Zebra. An original watercolor from his book, Rainy Day Games.

Original illustrations from Andy McGuire’s Rainy Day Games.

But, of course, the real consumer of picture books is the child. There are so many reasons parents can’t abandon picture books with their little ones. Books are critical in the development of the child. A few of the reasons:

  • The very act of reading a picture book to a child brings the adult and child together in something other than play– a quest, an experience.
  • Picture books not only introduce the child to words but to both story and art.
  • Picture books give the young child the tactile pleasure of turning pages. He is in control of the experience  as opposed to media like television which is passively delivered to him.
  • Picture books allow the child to discover more over time. They reveal themselves slowly. It’s one of the reasons I’ve always loved Jan Brett’s illustrations. If the child studies the illustrated frames around the pages she can uncover the secrets unfolding in the story.

Deciderius Erasmus wrote, “When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.” That’s how important I feel picture books are for children. Strike that. That’s how important picture books are for all of us.

We need to reverse this unfortunate trend. Let’s lavish picture books on the people we love this Christmas.

Your turn. Tell us why picture books are important. What picture books are not to be missed by us? How have you incorporated them into your own personal library? To celebrate the importance of the picture book I will randomly choose six of you who comment today to receive Andy McGuire’s beautiful Rainy Day Games as a gift.

43 Responses

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Wow! I would’ve commented without the incentive!

    I have read that one of the parents quoted in that article says she was taken out-of-context and does NOT condone skipping picture books or pushing her kids into chapter books.

    My kids are just beyond the picture book age, but as a teacher of upper elementary students, I used picture books to help teach writing and history. There are some of the most awesome picture books out there for older kids that I’m pretty sure don’t connect to their intended audience.

    Now, as an aunt to little ones, guess who always buys them books? Aunt Stephenie can be counted on to buy Bible story books and picture books (signed by the author or illustrator if I can manage it.)

    They’re works of art that we shouldn’t keep from our children. I understand that the price tag is prohibitive at times. My solution: Buy the very special ones and check them out of your library by the armload. I still do.

  2. Lori says:

    I love picture books. I have a small collection. Recently, I have been giving picture books to friends as gifts. I have also been trying to find favorite children’s books that I used to have when I was a child. My original books were past down to my younger sisters and therefore were worn out.

    When my niece was young, I gave her the Madeline books which she has kept for when she has her own children. Now my niece is a senior studying Speech Pathology and is starting to have clients and wants picture books since she planning to work primarily with children. I’ve already started a collection for her for Christmas.

    Wendy, I love Rumer Godden and I did not know she did picture books. Can you please list the titles for me?

  3. Lynn Dean says:

    When I read your article, an eclectic group of illustrators came to mind: Beatrix Potter (I love Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and The Tailor of Gloucester), Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are), Garth Williams (not exactly an illustrator of picture books, but his sketches in the Little House books are forever), Shel Silverstein (whose illustrations are as much fun as his poetry), Bessie Pease Gutmann (whose drawings became the epitome of childhood in my mind), and the delightful Dr. Seuss.

    You are so right–illustration is an art form and an indispensable part of the reading experience!

  4. Ditto Stephanie on the Wow!

    My kids are ages 4-8 and I love looking at picture books with them. There is just something about a beautifully illustrated book that hooks me. My family reads the NIrV Read With Me Bible (put out by Zonderkidz) not only because its text is close to the biblical text but the illustrations are beautiful, fun, and whimsical.

    I know you’re not suppose to judge a book by its cover (or illustrations in this case), but many times I do. I love wonderful artwork along with a great story 🙂 And I will be buying more picture books this Christmas to support this market!

  5. As the mother of a 3 & 5yr old with another on the way, I spend a lot of time reading children’s picture books (even though I write for teens and adults). I’ve found that good pictures are great teaching mechanisms for my young ones and inspire memorization and reading, which is certainly something I want them to enjoy! We spend time with picture books everyday. Some hits in our house include Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr & Illustrated by Eric Carle (and most anything by Eric Carle), the “Gossie” books by Dunrea Olivier, “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Keats, all of Sandra Boynton’s books, “Green Eggs & Ham” by Dr. Seuss, “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch, “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney, & the Gigi God’s Little Princess series by Sheila Walsh….just to name a few. 🙂 I’m so thankful for the ability of a children’s picture book to grab their attention & introduce them to the world of reading in fun, exciting, and unique ways.

  6. Lindsay Franklin says:

    My kids range in age from 2 to 9. My nine-year-old still likes to pull down the picture books currently belonging to his younger brother and sister – and he’s well into chapter books! Between the three of them, we have worn through copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, several Dr. Suess books, and more. I sincerely hope picture books don’t die out.

    My father is an illustrator, though not of books. I remember the difficulty of watching him transition from a field that used to be all about using your hands to create art, into a computer-based business. It was a difficult shift for someone of his generation. At one point, I remember him lamenting the fact that he hadn’t actually drawn something in years. Children’s books may be one of the few areas where artists still use their hands to draw, paint, or watercolor their illustrations. I’m sure a lot of the art is digital, too, but what a shame to lose one of the last outposts of real drawing. Hopefully this trend will swing the other way soon.

    Side note, Morgan, my kids love that picture Bible, too. 🙂

  7. Diane Stortz says:

    I LOVE picture books.

    Some of the best aren’t the best known. I have always loved “The Very Best of Friends” by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Julie Vivas. My sister gave it to me for Christmas in 1990. It’s a story of friendship between a woman and her husband’s cat, but also a story of forgiveness.

  8. As a former preschool and kindergarten teacher, I love picture books. When I quit teaching I kept my favorites. I just couldn’t part with them. A few examples: Goodnight, Moon, Harold and the Purple Crayon, all my Jan Brett books, Where the Wild Things Are, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie….I could go on and on.

  9. janetgrant says:

    I can’t resist joining into this conversation because I love (and have for myself) picture books that tickle my fancy. I’m an Olivia fan. Anything Olivia is for me.

  10. Wendy Lawton says:

    Lori, Rumer Godden wrote more then twenty books for children. My all-time favorites are The Doll House, Impunity Jane, The Story of Holly and Ivy, and Miss Happiness and Miss Flower (all about dolls, of course). I also have some of her more recent ones (from the 90s) like FuDog.

  11. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother reading to me from picture books. I couldn’t read the words, but I could follow the story through the artwork.
    Like you, I still believe there is a place for picture books – so much so that I’ve co-authored 2 picture books to be released in January.
    Let’s hope this trend away from picture books will soon be reversed. Truth for the ears and art for the eyes, but both touch the heart!

  12. Trisha says:

    After one of Janet’s posts last week, I looked online for sites that read picture books aloud to children. Just curious. They are out there. No matter how sweetly these sites are done, I hope parents never use these sites to replace their priviledge of reading to their kids on their own.

    I’ve taken up this joy of reading to my nieces and nephews, and have fallen in love with picture books all over again. Something about snuggling with a little one and gazing at the colorful pages that reveal a story. My favorites so far are still Kim Lewis’ farm books–beautiful pictures and stories.

  13. As a person who started out in the visual arts as my main creative form of expression, this trend you mention disturbs me too. My favorite novels are those that are rich with image. The authors that grip me are those who obviously have a good eye for line and color, and can incorporate that into their prose. As a child I had tons of picture books and buy them today for my grandchildren. How sad that parents are not seeing that picture books and novels are really one in the same–story a series of images that take us on a continues dream.

  14. I am an avid picture book fan (and aspiring picture book author)! I can spend hours pouring over picture books and I love finding one that I know will resonate with one of my boys (ages 3, 5 and 8). I also love finding one that resonates with me! I recently fell in love with “Bridget’s Beret” by Tom Lichtenheld. It is perfect for encouraging the wannabe artist in all of us!

  15. There was a time when I considered the most important thing about picture books to be the pictures. But I learned a startling lesson one time when a family emergency had me babysitting a not-quite-two-year-old who lived too far away to kow me very well. However, I knew it was her mama’s habit to read to the children every night, so was not surprised when she mimicked her older brother in choosing a bedtime book.

    The book she chose was one of those re-told classics with beautiful pictures but too many paragraphs of prose that was more appropriate for an older child. So, I began to paraphrase and point out the corresponding pictures, instead. What a shock to turn the first page only to have that tiny hand turn it back, again, with an indignant thump on those paragraphs because I had skipped THE WORDS.

    She had no words of her own to tell me with, but I knew that’s what she meant — just by the way she bent her little red head over the page with a contented sigh when I began to read it RIGHT. But they were such boring words! Yet, I came away feeling a little bit like Dorothy, wondering if just clicking your heels together and murmuring something so simple as, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…” could really usher in all that magic. Yes, it could. So, I’ve never skipped over anymore REAL words since. No matter how pretty the pictures.

    Because — for children — maybe it is what is most familiar to them that becomes their beloved.

  16. Carla says:

    So many of the picture books are celeb books today, squeezing out space for other good ones. As a mom who raised many children with disabilities, I used picture books to help convey messages that my kids couldn’t comprehend otherwise. When I teach writing to kids and adults I use picture books to show different writing techniques. I have at least three shelves of picture books–my son an illustrator has even more! Andy is one of our favorites!

  17. Bonnie Grove says:

    Please don’t enter me in the draw – I’m fortunate to have two copies of Andy’s wonderful book, one of which he signed, including two little drawings especially for my two children. (sigh. So wonderful)

    I’d forgotten how wonderful picture books were until I had Ben (9) and Heather (7). Days after I had Ben I bought his first ABC book – an amazing treasure box style book with 26 little boxes, one for every letter, and when you opened the box, inside was a 3D paper picture of something beginning with that letter. From that moment on, I’ve been on the hunt for original, creative, outside the box (no pun intended) children’s books. Our house swims with books as sweet as Sandra Boynton’s board books, as funny as The Stinky Cheese Man and Bad Kitty, and a gloriously artistic as Andy’s Rainy Day Games and The Nutcracker. Keepers every one.

    One thing I’ll mention as a Mom (not as a writer) is when I look for Christian books for my gaffers, I look for books they can relate to. If there are pictures of sheep, men in long robes, or other stock images relating to life 2000 years ago, I leave them on the shelf. My kiddos live in the city in 2010. They don’t know from 2000 year old sheep. (yes, I’m aware Andy’s book is filled with animal pictures, but the art is fresh, modern, exotic. A cut above.)

  18. I have a children’s picture book that I’m quite excited about, but am still waiting on God to provide the right artist to collaborate with on the project. I’ve read the prose and seen it in print in my mind for many years.

    Who can forget the joy or curling up by the fire as someone special reads us a book? It’s hard to calculate the true impact those inspired writers have had on our lives.

  19. Wendy Lawton says:

    Ooo, Ava. You said, “Truth for the ears and art for the eyes, but both touch the heart!”

    What a perfect way to say it.

  20. The list is endless… but my kids were Olivia fans too. I like the “If you give a mouse a cookie” series by Felicia Bond & Laura Numeroff. I just can’t imagine parents shoving their kids out of picture books and into chapter books!

    There… do I win my free copy of Andy’s book now? Can’t wait!

  21. Susy Flory says:

    First, let me just say that I’m envious of your Andy McGuire originals. I love his work and can’t wait for the next book.

    I too love picture books and have purchased several “second copies” of books that my kids literally teethed on, just so I can keep a copy for myself. My absolute favorite picture book of the moment is Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Hyperion, 2006). Nelson is an amazing, award-winning artist who served as a creative consultant on Steven Spielberg’s Amistad. This picture book is like owning a mini-gallery of his work, and his illustrations make Harriet Tubman’s life, heart, and faith come to life. It is a treasure.

  22. Nikki says:

    What is there not to love about picture books? I have two boys , 11 and 7, and I still read them a picture book every night – along with longer books of course.
    My seven year old loves The Grumpus Under the Rug.(Why, I wonder? Maybe it was the toothpaste on the mirror? The peanut butter in the telephone? The overall naughtiness that finally gets blamed on someone OTHER than the child?)
    The rest of us have deep and abiding love for Roxaboxen by Alice McIerran, which will make you cry as many tears as The Velveteen Rabbit, and will inspire your kids to play outdoors for hours, recreating that world.
    Or at least that’s how it worked around here.

  23. Wendy Lawton says:

    The way you describe Roxaboxen intrigues me. I’m going to have to discover that one, Nikki.

  24. When I was young, my best friends were all in books. We moved a lot and I was shy, making it hard to have ‘real’ friends. But no matter where we lived, my book friends were there.

    My favorite time of the day was when my mom read to us. My favorite day of the week was Saturday when we’d go to the library to choose a week’s worth of bedtime stories.

    While I buy and read children’s books for my boys, the truth is, I’ve never outgrown them for myself.

    I refer to the first books I published as “picture books for grown-ups.” The photos I designed to function the same way as the illustrations in a children’s book–they’re there to tell the same story visually that the words tell verbally.

    Some of my favorite books to read to my boys are the classic stories that are as beautifully written as they are illustrated. Since they first began speaking people commented on how clearly they expressed themselves. I sat next to a speech therapist once at the cafe in Barnes and Noble. She initiated our conversation by commenting that it was clear we read to our boys. She was impressed with how well our little one spoke for his age.

    There are so many benefits to what reading gives children. I hope this trend isn’t one of those that continues until all we have left are the “remember when?” laments.

  25. PS–Among my “guilty pleasure” picture books (the ones we still read because *I* like them) are Berenstain Bears. The stories and illustrations are humorous, the language not overly simplistic and many of them are excellent introductions to important topics.

  26. Salena Stormo says:

    My son is 6 years old and he laughs everytime we go out shopping because I always buy him books. My mom and I home school him and we are drawn to anything that sparks his imagination as well as adds to his education of literature. We often times pick up a book and buy it based on the beautiful illustrations. There is something deeply moving to me when a book is illustrated by a talented artist. I have a copy of the Velvateen Rabbit that I recently picked up and even though I have sevearal already I was struck by the illustrations and couldn’t leave it at the store. It would be sad if these books were to go away. It is important that our children learn to read but they need to learn to appreciate art and develope their imaginations too and illustrated books help them with those precious gifts.

  27. Caroline says:

    I am so thankful that you chose to post about the NEED for picture books today! And not just because I’m writing picture book manuscripts. 😉 I am passionate about their purpose and passionately in love with picture books.

    I agree with you that it was so sad to read in that article how parents are pushing their children right past picture books. If I recall it correctly, I believe it was reported that parents were saying to their children something to the effect of “You’re better than these” when their children reached for picture books. That deeply saddens me. I hope, as Stephenie said, that the parent quoted there was taken out of context.

    But, I do also still see the great use of picture books in schools and in libraries. I hope that you’re right, and that this unfortunate trend will turn around in the upcoming years.

    My 1-year-old son and I read every day. Even at his age, he loves to turn the pages, rub his finger over details that capture his attention, and listen to the rhythm and sounds of the words. I have already seen how he is drawn to different details in the illustrations than he was just a few months ago. His view of the story is already expanding.

    In writing picture book manuscripts as an adult (and so also in reading them), I find that I can return to noticing the simpler or more significant aspects of life (friendship, family, love, trust, handling fear, etc.). Picture books also can often have complex language that can be understood through sentence OR illustration context. I’m like you, Wendy, in that I read them for my own learning as well as to my son!

    As for some of my favorites, I’m going to have a really hard time limiting the titles I type out here… Here are a few contemporary titles that we enjoy:
    “Katie Loves the Kittens” by John Himmelman is so, so sweet and the illustrations are fabulous and energetic.
    “Big Bear Hug” by Nicholas Oldland is absolutely one of my favorites. The story is so great, and you are quickly drawn into the Bear’s character. The illustrations show so much emotion in such a simple way.
    A uniquely presented picture book I’ve recently read is called “The Quiet Book” by Deborah Underwood. This book is one of those that absolutely does not have the same effect if it lacked either the text or the illustrations. They both work so beautifully together.
    I do also love how interactive Mo Willems’ Pigeon series is (like “Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late”).

    There are plenty of old favorites that are still great, like Dr. Seuss and more. I also, like Morgan, love the NIrV bibles.

    Oh, I want to share more, but I’ve taken up more than my fair share of comment space here today.

    I love your idea of sharing picture books at Christmas. We can help this trend turn around!

  28. Wendy Lawton says:

    Caroline, I’m so glad you are committed to picture books. I do see the trend swinging back around. I keep waiting for Fisher Price or someone in the toy industry to make a colorful, affordable landscape-size child’s e-reader. Then we will no longer have the problem of four-color printing being prohibitive cost-wise.
    And with the exception of Jamie Lee Curtis (who is a fine writer in her own right) I’ll be glad to see the trend shift way from celebrity-penned books for children. We need authors who are gifted in reaching the very young child– authors who are committed to that reader group.

  29. Caroline says:

    Wendy, I’ve thought the same thing about the emergence of a children’s e-reader. On one hand (like we’ve discussed on this blog before), I don’t want hard copy books to completely disappear (and I just can’t imagine that they will anytime soon). But, I’ve also wondered if an e-reader for kids does come around, the possibility of even more interactive picture books could be coming. Depending on how that takes form, more interaction could be even more enticing… as long as it really still includes reading and doesn’t become too game-like.

    It’s so exciting to examine the upcoming trends, and even more exciting to discuss with fellow readers and writers about how to continue to help picture books (and reading in general) become part of our daily lives with our children. Thanks again for this post!

  30. Wow, lots of wonderful books have been mentioned.

    As a grandparent it is fun to see my kids buying some of the same books for their kids that I bought for them, and my parents bought for me. H. A. Rey’s CURIOUS GEORGE series, Robert McCloskey’s BLUEBERRIES FOR SAL, and the earliest Dr. Seuss books (like HORTON HATCHES THE EGG)come to mind.

    There are another handful of books I became acquainted with while teaching third grade, with my favorite probably the series by Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch (AMAZING GRACE, BOUNDLESS GRACE, PRINCESS GRACE, etc.) each with a fair amount of text, but wonderful pictures.

    Finally, one series in Spanish makes my list of favorites, MIGUEL VICENTE PATA CALIENTE and LOS VIAJES DE MIGUEL VICENTE PATA CALIENTE, by Orlando Araujo. The main character lives in the slums of Caracas, Venezuela, but dreams of traveling to distant places. The text is rich, but it’s the pictures that capture, for me, the essence of Latin American childhood.

  31. BLUEBERRIES FOR SAL is one of my all time favorites. My son who is 5 and my daughter who is 18 months love books. They are always strewn throughout the living room, no matter how many times a day I pick up. 🙂
    One of our favorite Christmas books to read is THE CRIPPLED LAMB by Max Lucado and also CORDUROY by Don Freeman for all-year-long.

  32. Jill Kemerer says:

    I check children’s picture books out of the library for myself. Jan Brett is a favorite in our house, and both of my kids are well beyond the picture book phase.

    Picture books truly are art–our local art museum had an exhibit last year featuring them!

  33. What you say is oh so true! My Grandson Luke started reading chapter books in the first grade–the Magic Treehouse Series. He devours them. But, meanwhile, I hearken back to sweet story times with his mother, looking over Richard Scary books (laughing at Lowly Worm and all his crazy antics), or reading Dr. Seuss together and discussing life as depicted in rhyme. The together times are in danger of being shoved aside in favor or early independent reading.

  34. E-book readers that show kids’ books in color and read them aloud do already exist. They’re a great way to occupy kids while on car trips or similar situations, but not a substitute for parent’s reading to children. A few years ago I saw an article about a scientific study intended to learn which method of reading instruction worked best by interviewing the highest achieving students at prestigious universities. It tuned out the methods didn’t matter. The only thing those students had in common was that when they were little kids their parents had read bedtime stories to them every night.

  35. I’m coming in late to this conversation, but I have to tell you about some of my favorite picture books, books I’m hoarding for my future grandchildren because they are now out of print. You can still find a collection of them used here: http://www.amazon.com/Stories-Jesus-Told-Favorite-Bible/dp/1859855881/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1289329677&sr=1-1, but I have the originals where each story has its own book. The pictures are awesome! I love The Little Gate – just the look on the camel’s face is priceless! I can part with a lot of things, but these picture books are keepers!

  36. Shucks. I get the blog in my email and I’m always a day late. So I probably missed the drawing for Andy’s book, which I’d love to own.

    Still, I will tell you my favorite PBs.

    I adore Shirley Hughes’ Alfie books.

    My family and I spent probably a hundred hours or more searching through Paul Adshead’s A Peacock on the Roof, looking for the cat that was hidden on every page. That was great fun.

    But I think my favorite pb of all time may be, The Musical Life of Gustav Mole, by Kathryn Meyrick. I don’t know why I love the book so much. I just know I read it dozens of times and never got bored. It is humorous and I loved the flow of the words and I loved the message.

    And, in regards to celebrity PB’s, I think John Lithgow is pretty great. Check him out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAu7I4AiAts He’s the real deal.

  37. There would be so much mourning if the children’s picture books were no longer important, produced, purchased and loved by all of us.

    The picture books in my childhood were a great foundation for the Christian children’s books I have authored. It’s truly an art form!

  38. LeAnne Hardy says:

    I worked in a children’s bookstore when I was first married and started collecting before I had kids. My children grew up with lots of books, and a special collection in a glass case that was for careful looking together. I was sick when Hailstones and Halibut Bones and Charlotte Zoltow’s The Quarrelling Book seemed to have disappeared in all the moves we had made. Turns out they went to college with my eldest. Her second-born first attended the library play and story group when he was three days old. Hs sister had been going since five months. They are dedicated picture book readers. They are also techies. I don’t see technology supplanting picture books in their lives.

  39. David Todd says:

    I have wonderful, 50-some-odd year old memories of Mom reading to us from a nursery rhyme book, richly illustrated. It was falling apart when we were kids, so I suspect it was hers from childhood, or maybe even a generation before that. Unfortunately, it was not to be found among the books when we cleaned out Dad’s house.

    So, Wendy, are you or Books and Such open to picture book queries?

  40. janetgrant says:

    David, thanks for asking about Books & Such’s interest in representing children’s picture books. Etta Wilson is our children’s agent, but right now her roster is full. But, after all, this blog post is on unfortunate trends, including publisher’s challenges in making a profit on picture books. Those of us who love those books truly see the trend as unfortunate. And, by the way, this is a lesson is how agents don’t make trends; they respond to them. If it were up to us, picture books would be the uh, picture of health.

  41. So sad about the trend…hope it doesn’t stay true. Parents get a lot of self pride by pushing their children to achieve certain developmental markers earlier and earlier. And they are missing out. As far as picture books go, they provide such a higher quality of story than early chapter readers…in my humble opinion. There is a warmness that is accomplished when reading with your child vs. watching your child read.

  42. I’m writing about my son’s experience with reading and reading in school. And how I’m seeing a lack of love in reading because he is not being exposed to good stories. I think picture books provide good stories. I ‘ll be posting this on the 21st of Feb. at [email protected]

  43. I believe that children’s books are important as well. My best memories of my mother are her reading to us as children. You could relax and dream of places, and yes, the art was usually amazing. I wrote about my Raggedy Ann books (which I still have today) on my blog here: http://cherylmcnulty.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/johnny-gruelle/

    I hope they stay forever. Thanks for the post. Cheryl 🙂