Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words

How is it possible that I can forget what I'm saying halfway through a sentence or forget that I ever had a conversation with someone but I can look at a photograph and remember every vivid detail of the story it tells, no matter how old it is. I love looking at photos of my kids through the years and reliving some of our greatest times through pictures. Words and pictures often compliment each other but sometimes words are enough to tell a story and sometimes, all you need is a picture. Our twin daughters will soon celebrate a religious milestone and I have been perusing our photo albums and spending time with their younger selves through their photos. There is one photo in particular that's a family favorite. It's from one of their earlier birthdays; the one when they first seemed to understand what a birthday was and the photo my mom snapped as the cake was being placed before them captured the most wondrous and innocent unabashed glee. When I look at the photo, it brings me back to that day. I remember the gym where we celebrated. I remember the friends we invited, I remember the pizza and birthday cake. And most of all, I remember the sheer joy of that moment, captured on film. A picture really is worth a thousand words.

My recent journey down memory lane via photos has reinforced my appreciation of picture books, particularly those of the wordless variety. The Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser trio of  You Can't Take a Balloon Books (You Can't Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan MuseumYou Can't Take a Balloon Into the National Gallery and You Can't Take a Balloon Into the Museum of Fine Arts) capture my focus and imagination even when I don't have a child sitting on my lap. Last year's Caldecott Medal winner, Jerry Pinkney's The Lion and The Mouse, is another example where you get so lost in the visual storytelling that words are simply not necessary. Books like these are great reminders that children's book illustrators are tremendously talented artists and that art is a vibrant and magical form of storytelling.

The Children's Book Council has commissioned original art works from the biggest names in children's book illustration over the years to commemorate Children's Book Week, the longest running national literacy initiative in the country. Next year, during the holiday shopping season, we will auction off some of those amazing pieces to benefit Every Child a Reader, the CBC Foundation, whose mission is to promote the joy of reading. We are so excited to have this opportunity to share these brilliant works and to find them good homes. You'll hear more about this event next fall.

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