I have had so many kids and teens tell me they don’t read picture books because they are ‘just for babies’. There is some point where kids get the message that, once they start reading, it’s time to put picture books away for more ‘grown up’ books without pictures. As they grow, the books they feel they ‘should’ be reading are bigger and longer, and those picture books start gathering dust on the shelf.
This is really sad, as there are so many picture books that have a strong message for teens.
Most recently, I read Tabitha and the Raincloud by Devon Sillett & Melissa Johns, published by EK Books. This story is about a bad day that starts when Tabitha wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and how this impacts the people around her. When she decides to make the most of her situation, then things start to change.
I have kids with chronic illness. It’s a pretty crappy life being a teen and being too unwell to do the things that your peers are doing – go to school, get a job, go out, etc. I was talking to my teens about how they are in a pretty awful situation with their health and they don’t have a choice about seeing doctors, taking medication, etc, but they do have control over how they react to their situation. There are things they can control, such as the number of lollies they eat in the car during a 2 hour drive to the hospital!! Tabitha and the Raincloud would have been the perfect book for him to read…
Tabitha and the Raincloud is just one picture book that has a strong message that teens need to hear. Raymund and the Fear Monster by Megan Higginson and Ester de Boer has a great message about fear, Mouse Sprouts: a tale about being different by Heather Anthony talks about following your own path and it being OK not to know what you want to do when you grow up, Some Boys and Some Girls by Nelly Thomas has a message that all kids are OK, no matter what they look like or what they are in to. These are just a few that come to mind. My bookshelf is full of them.
I don’t know where kids and teens get the message that picture books are just for little kids. Picture books are amazing. They have a special way of presenting a message in a simple way for everyone to understand.
If you are the parent of kids and teens, encourage them to read picture books as well as novels. You never know, they may learn the important lesson they need to learn just at the right time.