A Plea for Picture Books

This article comes from Publisher's Weekly (in America). Very interesting plea for the promotion of picture books by independent booksellers. Ken Geist (VP and editorial director of Orchard Books and Cartwheel Books...and author of the picture book 'The Three Little Fish') made this empassioned plea at the New England Children’s Booksellers Advisory Council, held at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass. Admitting that pictures books are not truly 'endangered', there is clear evidence, as we know, that the demand for picture books is in decline, making their production very problematic for publishers. One of the biggest difficulties seems to be that many customers don't understand what picture books are (!) and when they do, they still want more text.
Geist has made some great suggestions for a grassroots movement for the promotion of picture books as a genre, such as making next year the 'Year of the Picture Book' or creating instore mailboxes for children to write to their favourite picture book authors.
While this was presented to the conference in the US and dealt, therefore, with some very specific issues to that market, I think we obviously have understanding in the Irish/UK market of this very same problem. Perhaps, we, too, should get behind the picture book in a very active and supportive way!



  1. I'm posting this from Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, as it's an extremely important comment and she couldn't get it posted on the blog for some reason and posted it to my facebook page.

    "Thanks for posting this, Mary. 'Getting' picture books seems to be a real problem. Visual literacy isn't valued or understood by so many people until someone opens their eyes to the layers of story they are missing by trying to 'read' a picture book with words only. The problem isn't ... See Morethat children don't understand good picture books, it's that they are not being put in their hands in the first place because the adults who buy for them don't speak picturebook! I gritted my teeth the other day listening to RTE radio when the presenter moaned about how few words you get per euro in a picture book...
    My hubby (Michael Emberley) will be very interested in this article as he has worked with Ken on several books."

    Thank you, Marie-Louise.


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