The Most Dangerous Rumors
From the Archives: Creating Picture Books

Picture Books on the Wane?

If the New York Times says so, it must be true. Um, yeah, right. Sure.

This is the article that is heating up Twitter right now.

"Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children," by Julie Bosman. NYT, October 7, 2010 (online edition).

As librarian Elizabeth Burns (@LizB) points out, wouldn't it be great to see library stats on picture books? There are many factors at work here, among them the money (for publishers) being in YA right now, plus also, as Junie B. Jones would say, the economy.


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I was very upset to read your article about picture books waning. I was a nursery school teacher in NYC and now write books for children. Kindergarten children are not ready to tackle a chapter book. I wish parents these days would think more about their child and what he/she is ready for, and not worry NOW about whether they'll get into Harvard. I understand how much pressure there is on parents. But where are the parents who will stand up and say, "Enough is enough." Let their imagination flourish with picture books.

Thanks for stopping by. Julie Bosman's article in the New York Times has provoked a lot of conversation! Most parents I know do consider their children's tastes and readiness when suggesting books, and I wonder about some of the conclusions in Bosman's piece.

As a picture book author/artist, I have to say that I remember in the early 1980's when I was working hard at developing stories before I was published there were so many picture books on shelves at bookstores, and it felt kind of new and excessive in an exciting way. Over the years, there were so many picture books I had to hide my eyes (even if by then my own books would be among them on the store shelves), it felt inevitable that at some point, we'd have to go back to just a little less maybe, instead of a major glut each season. I don't know, but hopefully the industry will keep changing and growing and the picture book will always BE.

Elaine, I so appreciated hearing the perspective from someone who has been in this industry for a number of years. Thank you!

I have struggled for 25 years to get my children's picture book published. At last it's out by a small independent publisher in Alaska, but what a struggle to get it into stores! The title is Santa Christina and Her Sled Dogs. It's about Mrs. Claus.

Say it isn't so. Picture books are timeless and teach so much!


It just ain't so.

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