Monday, October 18, 2010

Save the Picture Book! If It Needs Saving at All

First, there was the New York Times article. Then the blogosphere went bananas (it's a popular activity, you have to admit), with this post by MotherReader  probably best representing our collective mindset. Then Lisa Von Drasek published this piece on HuffPo, which articulat all our rebuttals for the non-book-blogging public.

Now that the furor has died down (and we've all realized that we've played right into the NYT's hands by uproaring about it), what do you think?

Speaking from my very small experience sample as the reigning dictator of the children's section in a public library of a book-lovin' town, the picture book is doing just fine. We've got new books from author/illustrators like Mo Willems, Emily Gravett, and Nikki McClure, plus scores of others, rolling in every day. Parents are maxing out their library cards on Fancy Nancy, munchkins are staggering out the door clutching books wider than their heads. Storytimes are stuffed to the gills. If the picture book is really in trouble, I'm not seeing it.

There are some parents who disdain them. I can't deny it. Much like the poor, the pushy parent will always be with us. Tell yourself it's a teachable moment. (Point of interest: the mom who was quoted in the article as not "allowing" her six-year-old reluctant reader to pick up picture books had her quotes taken totally out of context, which she addressed at her own blog.)

Maybe picture books are not being bought in the same numbers, but in this economy, what is? As somebody mentioned (and if this was you, please comment so I can attribute!), the picture books that are being bought are the ones that the parent has checked out forty-four times already.

That's me, though. What are you seeing?

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