We all know that children love picture books. But what about adults? It turns out that adults need picture books just as much as kids do!
I'm talking about "Run, Jane, Run" or "Giraffes Don't Dance" or "Everybody Poops". All great picture books, of course. But I'm talking about the ones we skip over even for kids because there's little drama and, more interestingly, no words. Or very few of them! You might not have noticed them; or you might have picked them up, leafed through, and put them back because it's "not really a book-book". One of my favourites is Journey by Aaron Becker which illustrates a lonely girl drawing a magic door on her bedroom wall. She escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. And there isn't a single word within it's pages. But still there was a story of self-determination and friendship.
Here are six reasons why you need to get on Picture Books:
They're a great way to relax without a blue screen!
Technology has certainly changed the way that we live - it's almost impossible not to be connected with social media, and blue-light from screens is known to increase stress and inhibit sleep. Yes, there are cartoons and memes and reels and shorts, bursts of bright colour that keep you entertained (and keep you up scrolling) but the fact is, seeing recurring images and affording yourself time to inspect them is far more fulfilling to your sense of accomplishment than hearing "Bloody Mary," over, and over, and over! Also there's something quite satisfying about literally closing a book once you are done for the day - this connotation of closure scientifically improves your sense of achievement! is a much needed weight off your shoulders versus having an open browser window telling you that you have ten notifications waiting for you. Plus how long you engage with a picture book is determined solely by you and not by the momentum of ever-evolving information highway.
They help you remember what it's like to be a kid again without the trauma!
Picture books remind us of the level of innocence, creativity and curiosity that only comes with the magical spirit of being a child. Not only do picture books help us remember our childhood days, they can also be a great way to reflect on the skills we learned back then that today might be so easy to forget. At times all it takes is a little bit of good, child-like behaviour to make you feel more positive and happy - and picture books help you to do just that!
They focus your mind on something detailed
Picture books are a great way to get your mind focused; they are formatted to draw the eye around, and in doing so your brain is formatting how it notices things. Picture books can be quite comforting too: they remind you that no matter how often you go back and look at them, there will always be something you may have missed. But don't worry too much – whatever you did or didn't spot was always there and will continue to be there.
They improve emotional literacy in adulthood!
Emotional literacy can often be deceiving because it is less about reading, speech, or hearing the spoken words, and more about understanding what we see and feel. Picture books provide a unique platform for reinforcing these valuable skills at any age; they are free from any other distractions like complicated jargon or overly distressing imagery that may ignite our undeveloped emotions before we've even read the trigger warning! With language free of complicated jargon or long paragraphs (sometimes no words at all) and deceptively detailed illustrations, picture books help adults hone in on the emotions portrayed and subsequently reinforce meaningful conversations surrounding them.
They help boost your mood on days when you're feeling crap.
If you're having a day of 'slugging', distraction can be a great help in boosting your mood. Picture books are a fantastic diversion that allows you to disconnect from complicated adult-life and slip into comfortably into a realm designed for gentle discovery. The simple format offers an uncomplicated way of looking at things without pressure or patronisation. The thing about a picture book is that interpretation is all about what you see rather than what you are being told. There is no right or wrong, there is no bad or good.
You can never have too many picture books, and they can be shared by everybody!
Picture books are mistaken for being child-exclusive. We think of the large format and insist that this is because kids are distracted and need BIG BOOKS for TINY ATTENTION SPAN. But don't be fooled--the reason picture books are so big is because they are made for sharing- with anyone. There's tons of creativity and complexity tucked away in those page corners! You will notice things that others won't, and that alone is a marvel. You can read the same book multiple times, yet see something new each time. And unlike other books, they are designed to bring about discussion about what you see as an individual without become embroiled in the complicated "context" that the written word brings about.
If you haven't gotten into the picture book hype yet, I highly recommend that you do. They're a great way to relax without being glued to a blue screen, and they help you remember, positively, what it's like to be a kid again. Not to mention, they focus your mind, increase emotional literacy, and can help boost your mood. You can never have too many books anyway- so why not start with some pictures ones? If anything they look pretty on the coffee table! Here's some of my favourites! I Get Loud by David Ouimet - Great for exploring sensory issues with neurodivergence alongside it's partner I Go Quiet. The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble - Looking at freedom through illustration inspired by Native American culture. The Word Collector by Sonja Wimmer - A book about looking for the right words while looking for the right words. So tell me...what picture books do YOU own?