The Mighty Picturebook: Providing a Plethora of Possibilities

Judi Moreillon


Picturebooks are books in which both words and illustrations are essential to the story’s meaning. . . . In a true picturebook, the illustrations are integral to the reader’s experience of the book and the story would be diminished or confusing without the illustrations.”1 Readers may agree with this definition, but that is not the end of the conversation. Picturebook readers continue to engage in discussions in the library world and children’s literature field about the audiences for, formats of, and uses of picturebooks in the literacy lives of readers, listeners, and viewers.

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Kathy G. Short, Carol Lynch-Brown, and Carl M. Tomlinson, Essentials of Children’s Literature, 8th ed. (Boston: Pearson, 2014): 50.

Virginia Buysse and Patricia Wesley, Evidence-Based Practice in the Early Childhood Field (Washington, DC: Zero to Three Press, 2016).

Dorothy Stoltz, Elaine M. Czarnecki, and Connie Wilson, Every Child Ready for School: Helping Adults Inspire Young Children to Learn (Chicago: ALA, 2013).

Elizabeth Bullen and Susan Nichols, “Dual Audiences, Double Pedagogies: Representing Family Literacy as Parental Work in Picturebooks,” Children’s Literature in Education 42, no. 3 (September 2011): 213–25.

Jennifer Gibson, “Text Optional: Visual Storytelling with Wordless Picturebooks,” Children & Libraries 14, no. 2 (Summer 2016): 3.

Thomas Phinney and Lesley Colabucci, “The Best Font for the Job: Typography in Caldecott Winners, 1990–2010,” Children & Libraries 8, no. 3 (Winter 2010): 17–26.

Cyndi Giorgis, “The Power of Reading Picturebooks Aloud to Secondary Students,” Clearing House 73, no. 1 (September 1999): 51.

Lettie K. Albright, “Bringing the Ice Maiden to Life: Engaging Adolescents in Learning through Picturebook Read-alouds in the Content Areas,” Journal of Adolescent Literacy 45, no. 5 (2002): 418–28.

Tom Bober, “Picturebooks and Primary Sources: Exploring Voting and Elections,” School Library Connection (August-September 2016): 11–13.

Isabel L. Beck et al., “Questioning the Author: A Yearlong Classroom Implementation to Engage Students with Text,” Elementary School Journal 96, no. 5 (1996): 385–414.



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