Picture Books

Picture books, little gifts with few words and many illustrations, hand out fun, informational, quirky—you name it—looks at life that fascinate the most devout or reluctant reader of all ages. I read one recently about Winston Churchill’s little dog, named Rufus, aimed at a young audience, which included a charming timeline in the back matter that summarizes Churchill’s (and Rufus’s) involvement in WW II. War Dogs: Churchill and Rufus by Kathryn Selbert are title and author. Another recent one that spoke to me is The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, published by Kwame’s new Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt imprint called Diversify. Very few words convey his message about “the unforgettable, the survivors, and the ones who didn’t.” It makes a beautiful coffee table book if you need a little color in your environment along with its powerful message about historical figures. And of course, there are the Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans, published between 1939 and 1962. I’m especially drawn to those right now because I’m writing a picture book biography about Bemelmans—how he created Madeline and how his childhood influenced his later writing. I think I’ve mentioned this one before, but I’m also finishing a picture book about Morganville, Kansas’ alliance with Feves, France, in 1948, and how Morganville created and performed a community happening around a pageant scripted by famous Morganville citizen, Velma Carson, to raise funds for Feves’ recovery from World War II. Amazing—the relationship between the two communities continues more than seventy years later. Sneak into your library’s picture book section and have a look. Same in your local bookstore. Perhaps purchase one for a small (or large) family member or give it to a school classroom teacher or share it in a pre-school setting. Enjoy it and pay it forward; encourage your recipient to keep it moving toward potential readers and listeners. Picture books never go out of style.