November is officially Picture Book Month –  a great opportunity to celebrate the power of the Picture Book with loved ones of ALL ages.  Picture books are NOT just for little kids.  Here’s the letter I like to send home to parents to emphasize just how important it is not to shun those picture books too early in their children’s lives.
 Dear Parents,
When I visit schools, I like to tell children that I fell in love with
stories as a little girl in Scotland, before I could read or write, by
listening to them on the radio during the BBC Children’s Story hour.  Nowadays, I notice that there seems to be
less emphasis on the importance of reading aloud to children of ALL ages.  Have you ever felt pressured to stop reading
picture books to your child in an effort to expose him or her to the more
“advanced” literature of chapter books?
I urge you to continue to share picture books with your child,
regardless of age, because:
Good Picture Books have many
layers of meaning that the reader or listener can enjoy on many different
Good Picture Books are meant
to be READ ALOUD to a loved one, be she five or fifty.
Good Picture Books offer
rich, lyrical language that nurtures a life-long passion for stories.
For the past sixteen years, I
have been reading Picture Books (mainly fairy tales and folk tales) at an inner
city elementary school here in Denver.
The single best way to foster a love of literature is to READ ALOUD to
your children (regardless of age) every single day.  Read them stories that are AGE-APPROPRIATE,
and stories that you love.
Picture Books “not only
ignite a child’s imagination and curiosity, but inspire them to read more.”
Mary Brigid Barrett, President of the NCBLA (National Children’s Book and
Literacy Alliance).
For a list of recommended
Picture Books to read aloud see: here (my recommended list) and also – here (Bank Street List)
Here’s to picture books that help us all – “burn bright in the forests of the night.”
 A big thanks to Tattered Cover for mentioning RAJ on NPR recently as a great choice for a Christmas gift!