Monthly Archives: February 2012

Understanding the Opportunity of a Book

This week I’ve been reading the spring 1996 issue of Library Trends: Imagination and Scholarship: Contributions of Women to American Youth Services and Literature. The issue includes an article on children’s services pioneer Virginia Haviland (Initiative and Influence: The Contributions of Virginia Haviland and Children’s Services, Research and Writing by Karen Patricia Smith). While the entire issue is a fascinating look at the impact of women on the field–one quote was a game changer for me. Smith quotes Haviland, “…distinguished art in children’s books may be for some children the only way they can behold beautiful art.”

Books offer many opportunities to educate and empower children. Until reading this quote I’ve never fully understood what illustrations can mean to children. Pictures in a book do more than help tell stories. For some children, illustrations are their first and only art museum. I read Haviland’s words and saw a challenge and an opportunity to provide children with great books and great illustrations.

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Filed under Lessons and Discoveries, Library School, Picture Book

Little Blue and Little Yellow…Finally!

Little Blue and Little Yellow are dots–they are great friends. One day they hug and become two green dots. At first, Little Blue and Little Yellow’s parents are stunned by their transformation. Eventually Their parents learn to hug other dots too.

During my first semester of library school I did a research project on Leo Lionni. I had the best time reading through his classic work but I couldn’t get my hands on a copy of Little Blue and Little Yellow (his first children’s book). I came a cross a copy the other day and was able to sit down tonight and read it. While it’s not my favorite Lionni–I found it to be charming. Leo Lionni displays a complicated concept through utterly simple art. The scraps of paper Lionni arranges to tell this story show just enough to give us the main idea while letting us fill the “white space” with our own context. This is a great companion to contemporary works like Press Here by Herve Tullet and Dot by Patricia Intriago.

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