Inadvertently reporter Julie Bosman gave picture books a big boost last fall when she wrote a front-page story for the New York Times that said picture books were "no longer a staple." Not only is the category very much alive, as a PW story subsequently pointed out, but since then a number of authors and publishers have gone out of their way to draw parents’ attention to picture books.
The latest picture book picture book defenders— storyteller and author Dianne de Las Casas (Tell Along Tales), illustrator Katie Davis (Little Chickens Big Day), Elizabeth O. Dulemba (Soap, Soap, Soap), Tara Lazar (The Monstore, 2013), and illustrator Wendy Martin (Smoky and the Feast of Mabon)—are declaring November "Picture Book Month."
Next Tuesday the organization will launch a Web site with essays by picture book authors and illustrators, including Jane Yolen and Dan Yaccarino. The site will include links to picture book resources, authors, illustrators, and kidlit book bloggers, as well as a theme calendar and picture book activities.
Then in the first week of May, Linda Eve Diamond plans to follow up with the second annual National Picture Book Week. Diamond, who also has a blog on the Beauty of Picture Books at the NPBW Web site, says she started the effort because "I was concerned and wanted to do something that might help to counter any misrepresentation of picture books as less valuable to early learning than text-only books." And in a posting on the ABC listserv earlier today, Shannon O’Connor, ABC Children’s Group manager, said that the ABC staff at the American Booksellers Association is exploring the idea of launching a Year of the Picture Book initiative.
Who says picture books are languishing now?!