How Children Benefit from Informational Picture Books
We’ve all seen them. Brilliant colors dancing off their pages. An extraordinary marriage of text and illustrations very carefully woven into 32 pages. But what are children’s informational picture books?
Informational picture books contain both illustrations and words that communicate information on a certain subject. As for the first title in my Kobee Manatee series, Kobee Manatee: Heading Home to Florida, I focus only on the habitat and behavior of the endangered Florida manatee. And to make it enjoyable for both the adult and child reader, I weave a fictional story around manatee fun facts.
The same can be said for Joanna Cole’s The Magic School Bus series. Each of her informational picture books focuses on a particular subject. Take for instance the title, The Magic School Bus: Inside a Beehive. Joanna nicely weaves facts all about the honeybee in this informational picture book. In The Magic School Bus series, it is Ms. Frizzle who teaches the reader. In my series, the teacher is Kobee Manatee.
To engage the student and satisfy their need for understanding all types of subjects at a young age, it is important that the teacher read both picture books and informational picture books (Vardell & Copeland 1992).
High-quality informational picture books “are examples of literary art and not just dreary compilations of facts.” (Burns & Flowers 1999) Case in point is the extraordinary artwork shown in the Kobee Manatee series. Illustrator, Lauren Gallegos creates thumbnail sketches that relate to the words. Then each illustration magically grows into a personality of its own, exhibiting more and more detail. The final touch is when Lauren paints each picture with layer upon layer of acrylic paints. The result? Both the child and adult reader are showered with brilliant, unique, breathtaking color images that makes the learning process fun.
Lauren Gallegos Paintings for Kobee Manatee Series Book 2 – Kobee Manatee: A Wild Weather Adventure (2015)
We even receive comments where the reader would like to collect the art and display it in their own home!
5 Benefits of Reading Information Picture Books to Children
1. Exposing children to new subjects that stimulate their curiosity. (Butterflies, the moon, seahorses, trees, countries, cities, clouds, etc.) These books provide an endless variety of information sparking children’s interest.
2. Increasing children’s vocabulary. Each new book quickly introduces the child to words he or she hasn’t seen before.
3. Giving children the motivation to further explore a particular subject. Children learn the importance of a library and how to use it for reference.
4. Expose children to the natural wonders of the world and universe. (Hurricanes, Snow, Mt. Everest, the Sun, Earth and its 4 seasons) Again there is such a wealth of science to stimulate children’s curiosity.
5. Introduce the child to his or her passions leading to relevant careers. Informational picture books can be children’s first source for discovering their own interests.
So go ahead and grab that colorful informational picture book. You will quickly discover there is something in it for everyone!
~ Robert Scott Thayer