Picture Book Possibiities
We haven’t talked too much about picture books yet this year, and I wanted to check in and see where everyone was in terms of picture books with potential. After LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET took the gold, I think we are all thinking even more about the text in picture books and how it can compare with other longer-form types of writing.
It is hard hard HARD to separate the art from the text in picture books, and I’d argue that you don’t have to entirely in order to consider it for the Newbery. While the writing is what’s being considered and the author is the one who receieves the award, you have to honor each book for what it is doing within its format, and I think we can look at picture books just like we can look at graphic novels.
One trick, though, with picture books that doesn’t work with graphic novels, is to actually pull the text out and read it on its own.
I’m not going to delve too deeply into any of these titles in this post. It’s almost Thanksgiving, and I just want to give you some eye candy and hear your thoughts on what picture books have been on your mind as Newbery potentials.
These are the ones I’ve been thinking about:
- After the Fall by Dan Santat
- Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers
- The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Adam Rex
- The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet by Carmen Agra Deedy
- The Secret Project by Jonah Winter
- Welcome by Mo Willems
- When’s My Birthday? by Julie Fogliano
Let’s talk quickly about AFTER THE FALL. There is no doubt that the illustrations are stunning, but I would argue that the text is also beautiful on its own. This description of trauma and the after-effects is child-friendly, relatable, and deeply honest.
“Fortunately all the king’s men managed to put me back together. Well, most of me. There were some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue.”
Similarly, THE SECRET PROJECT approrpiately explains an extremely complex issue – the creation and testing of the atomic bomb – at a child’s level in a picture book format.
Those are the two that most excite me. What do you think? What did I miss? And are there any of these titles that you’d like to see a deeper discussion of?
Filed under: Book Discussion
About Sharon McKellar
Sharon McKellar is the Supervising Librarian for Teen Services at the Oakland Public Library in California. She has served on the Rainbow List Committee, the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee, The Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Committee, and the 2015 Caldecott Committee. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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