So I have finally reached a conclusion about my research project for my program: I’m going to investigate unconventional picture books to discover how their characteristics (form, shape, illustrations, text) promote playful experiences for readers. I have a few ideas on what data (actual books) to use within my investigation, including Herve Tullet’s books in the game series. Have you heard of Herve Tullet? He has masterfully captured the possibilities of what can be experienced while interacting with a picture book: his work could be considered a book OR a toy OR a game…which is why I find his books so fascinating (and so does Stella…especially “The Game of Light”). Take a look at some spreads from a few of his books below, but also be sure to access:
- Herve Tullet’s website: http://www.herve-tullet.com/en/accueil.html
- Herve Tullet’s Author Page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hervé-Tullet/e/B001JPBVMG
- Herve Tullet’s Phaidon Page: http://www.phaidon.com/store/childrens-books/herve-tullet/
Along with this blog, I co-author a family and lifestyle blog, Mrs. B & Mrs. V, with my bestie, Miranda. In a recent post, she curated some of her son’s favorite board books and why she feels he responded to them in such a positive and encouraging manner. Take a look at the post here. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to take another look at board books for your family!
So, you may be wondering why I began graduate study in children’s literature and decided to dedicate an entire blog to it. Back when I began my studies, I couldn’t really put my finger on what it was that drew me into the study of books for children. At the time I was working at an early childhood development center and was the proud aunt of a toddler boy. (I still am a proud aunt, although my nephew is certainly not a toddler anymore!) Being around young children at this time and hearing their interactions each day inspired me to try my hand at writing stories for kids. I then enrolled in a non-credit writing course. This not only enhanced my interest in writing, but it really ignited my passion for children’s literature. I re-visited so many stories I loved growing up and was introduced to more modern, complex, and fascinating tales and characters. Soon my bookshelves were bursting with more and more children’s books…and I didn’t even have a child of my own!
At the suggestion of a writing advisor, I decided to apply for a program to receive my Master’s degree in children’s literature. After an entrance exam and a lengthy application process I was accepted and began what would become one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. I became drawn to picture books as a writer and reader, so the first text of the first course I took in the program eloquently put into words my feelings about becoming deeply involved in children’s literature. In their book , The Picture Book Comes of Age, Joseph and Chava Schwarcz state that picture book components work together to impact a reader through, “…their playfulness – visual communication, optical illusions, and message in configurations of shapes and colors surround us, beckon to us, and often practically enwrap us” (3).
This is what I love about children’s literature: the experiential nature that invites readers to laugh out loud, stare at a lovely image, communicate their feelings, or just play. I have learned to appreciate children’s literature for this potential and I hope that your experience of children’s books will change or become enhanced through this blog.