April 27, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Second Annual Picture Book Month Kicks off in November

Book display at Brook Forest Elementary School.

Librarians, authors and illustrators are gearing up for Picture Book Month in November, which will build on the success of last year’s inaugural event. The brainchild of author and storyteller Dianne de Las Casas, Picture Book Month encourages the recognition of picture books through blogs, tweets and other activities.

What’s on the schedule? For starters, de Las Casas has arranged for authors and illustrators to post daily on the Picture Book Month site. Caldecott Medalists Chris Raschka and Paul O. Zelinsky, along with authors Doreen Cronin and Jon Scieszka, are among the 30 “Picture Book Month Champions” weighing in. A Picture Book Month calendar recommends daily themes that educators can focus on—from food to monsters to pigs—and suggests that every Monday be devoted to nonfiction picture books.

Organizations including the Children’s Book Council and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) have signed on for the event. “AASL is pleased to partner with Picture Book Month and to help highlight the value of connecting people of all ages, but especially the young, with this unique and remarkable format,” said AASL president Susan Ballard.

Mock Caldecott display at Minges Brook Elementary School.

How are school librarians getting involved? Mary Ann Scheuer, librarian at Emerson School in the  Berkeley (CA) Unified School District, will emphasize titles for older readers, like Jacqueline Woodson’s picture books, for her fourth and fifth graders. “My students are completely drawn into her stories, appreciating the language, character development and emotions,” Scheuer told School Library Journal. In addition, she says, picture books can challenge older students to focus on skills like inference that are critical to the Common Core Standards. “When we read Woodson’s Visiting Day (Scholastic, 2002) illustrated by James Ransome, they inferred that Maya’s father was in prison, a fact the text does not explicitly state,” she observes.

Displays, an author visit, and student-run mock Caldecotts are all part of the plan for John Schumacher, librarian at Brook Forest Elementary School in Oak Brook, IL. Schumacher will post the calendar around his school and have classes set picture book reading goals that they will track using Biblionasium, a social networking site for kids that promotes independent reading.

He’ll also host Tad Hills, bestselling author/illustrator of Rocket Writes a Story (Schwartz & Wade, 2012) and will collaborate on the mock Caldecott with Colby Sharp, a fourth grade teacher at Minges Brook Elementary School in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Laurel Snyder, author of such picture books as Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher (Tricycle, 2010), will visiting the Main Street Academy in College Park, GA, and will Skype with students from the Community School of Davidson in North Carolina.

Looking for more ways to get involved? Find some inspirations on the event website.

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Rocco Staino About Rocco Staino

Rocco Staino @RoccoA is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York. He is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.



  1. And don’t forget your big sister–the Horn Book celebrates Picture Book Month with a series of online-only new articles, with contributors including Barbara Bader, Peter Sis, Crescent Dragonwagon and Patti Lee Gauch. All at http://www.hbook.com starting November 1st.


  1. […] happening? Check out this blog post and the official website to learn […]