Our guess is, when you first encountered books as a child, you were captivated by the beautifully drawn images that made the story come to life, rather than the written text itself.
Then, when you got older and read “grown-up” books, you longed for the enchanting illustrations, at least at first… Don’t worry, we did too and so did everyone else.
So with all this in mind, it seems quite absurd that there are people out there debating the importance of illustrations in children’s books.
Have no fear – criticism awoke our desire to be a modern day Robin Hood and fight for justice for those who can’t.
Thus, we sharpened our pencils (or rather: stretched our fingers) to give you nine darn good reasons why illustration in children’s books is incredibly important.
A child’s sensitivity to pictures predates its ability of speech.
Just show your (or your friend’s) a few-month old toddler a picture book and you will see how they respond.
Most of the time, they will either giggle cheerfully or happily grab the book to curiously stare at the pictures.
That’s pretty much all the proof you need to see that kids do respond to visual stimuli better than to written ones at this age.
Pictures tell stories.
Illustrations help to make the text work, and vice versa. Both components have to go well together in order to tell the story the way it deserves to be told and to make children understand the message better.
This message cannot only be transmitted through written language alone, it needs pictures.
Therefore having picture books seems fairly legit.
Pictures make stories understandable.
This is not only true for children, but also for those who speak a language which differs from the one used in the text bits of the picture books.
With the help of the pictures it becomes easier for every reader to understand and enjoy the story.
This makes picture books great for learning foreign languages.
Illustrations can affect a child’s development positively.
It all comes down to imagination and creativity – and illustrated children’s books contribute to the development of both concepts – and to that of many others.
And isn’t that what all parents want for their children?
Help them become a creative person to whom nothing seems out of reach?
Picture books raise cultural awareness.
Depending on the nature of your children’s picture books, they will get used to cultural diversity and the different concepts of culture that exist all around the world.
Picture books help eliminate stereotypes and increase your children’s chances of growing into open-minded, tolerant citizens.
Tolerance and open-mindedness is something we should always aim towards.
Moreover, these books also help kids learn about their own culture, arouse their natural curiosity about it, and to give them a clearer idea of their past. Concepts, like history or inventions, that were rather fuzzy and completely out of their experience become a lot more understandable.
Picture books challenge children.
Imaginative and adventurous illustrations make children grow both on an intellectual and an emotional level. Kids today are exposed to lots of influences; they grow up in a way that is different from the way they were raised fifty years ago.
Picture books have evolved just like everything else in order to meet the changing needs – and natural intellects – of their target audience.
Picture books let children explore the world with their imagination.
When we hear stories, we have a scene in our mind of how the story happens – children are no different.
When children see pictures to stories, they discover similarities and differences with the world they had imagined – and hence the stories become more real for them.
Picture books are funny.
Just look at how many covers from our post “13 Examples of Children’s Book Illustrations That will Leave You Breathless” make you smile.
Humor is powerful. Kids love humor and that’s why humor will increase their love for books, as they automatically connect (picture) books with fun. And we all want to have fun.
So hand that picture book over already!
Picture books encourage the development of an everlasting love for books.
Confronting kids with books at an early age, increases the chances of continued reading throughout their lives.
And isn’t reading just one of the most beautiful things to do – to dive into that whole new world, to escape, forgetting everything around you and making the characters’ experiences your own, at least for a little while?
For us, it is and we think that it’d be a shame to withhold this wonderful experience from children.
So give them books. Let them discover them on their own. Talk about them. That’s one of the best things you can do.
So, basically it should have become pretty clear that illustrated children’s books make kids more perceptive and better observers with an imagination that can run wild. Illustrations keep them happy and in a good mood because they are enjoyable and make them laugh – something we all enjoy.
In yo face, critics!
It is the duty of the illustrator to closely cooperate with both the author and the editor of the children’s book they are illustrating, to make sure the illustrations fit the story and its mood.
They should also aim at creating illustrations that are capable of challenging children and making them feel better. This will enhance their development on several levels.
Speaking of illustrators – let’s talk about you!
Did your childhood picture books influence your decision to take on a career as an illustrator?
Is this a field you would like to specialize in?
Or are you already an active illustrator in the world of picture books?
Tell us your story by leaving a comment!
And – please also share this post to show the critics that illustration in children’s books is absolutely NECESSARY.
As you have seen from these nine darn good reasons we mentioned above – illustration in children’s books is incredibly important.