Hello from the Children’s Desk!

November is international children’s picture book month. The American Library Association will celebrate its third year as a partner with the annual Picture Book Month. Author Dianne de Las Casas founded this library celebration with co-founders Katie Davis, Elizabeth O. Dulemba, Tara Lazar, and Wendy Martin; all of them are authors and illustrators of children’s picture books. Picture Book Month was established as an international literacy movement to focus on printed books in an ever-increasingly digital age.

While reading picture books in any format promotes early literacy skills such as building vocabulary, narrative skills, letter knowledge, and phonological awareness, there is something magical about snuggling up with a child or a group of children to share a picture book. Picture books are meant to be shared. Typically, we share them with young children; however, older children, teens, and even adults often find connections and enjoy reading and or listening to a picture book. They make us laugh and sometimes cry, and most often, the stories will stay with us long after we have finished reading the book. Many of us can recite picture books or parts of favorite titles from when we were children. I encourage you to share a picture book with someone this November. Picture books also make fantastic and creative gifts for people of all ages. As children’s author, poet, teacher, and editor Emilie Buchwald states, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” However, the word “parents” can be substituted for grandparents, older siblings, and childcare providers.

Picture books bring us closer together physically, emotionally, and socially. Through rich text and vibrant pictures, we can engage, captivate, and teach children about the world. Picture books share information and stories about the world that is often different from the child’s current known world; this discovery will broaden their ideas, knowledge, and understanding of more of the world in a safe and secure way. Children can take in as much as they like while reading or being read to and rediscover new truths and ideas from the same picture when re-read or perhaps re-discovered many years later. Greg Pizzoli, children’s book author, states that picture books “make a space for them [children] to be absorbed into a world different than their own lives, which in turn, make their worlds a bigger and more interesting place to live.”

As part of Picture Book Month, there will be a new daily post from a picture book champion about the importance of picture books. Visit www.picturebookmonth.com to read these short articles throughout November.

Check out a picture book or perhaps a stack of picture books to share with a loved one this month. The Litchfield Public Library has many brand-new books available, Thanksgiving-themed books, and old favorites to rediscover or share with someone for the first time. Call the Litchfield Public Library if you need help locating a title or make a 15-minute browsing appointment to explore the shelves yourself.

The Litchfield Public Library has digital storytimes posted to our website with new storytimes added weekly. The Litchfield Public Library will also have Take and Make kits available throughout the month. Check the library’s website at www.litchfield.lib.mn.us or find us on Facebook and Twitter to get up to date information about available programs and services.

Until next time, happy reading!

— Rachelle Golde is Children’s Librarian at Litchfield Library.