Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children

Picture books are so unpopular these days at the Children’s Book Shop in Brookline, Mass., that employees there are used to placing new copies on the shelves, watching them languish and then returning them to the publisher.

“So many of them just die a sad little death, and we never see them again,” said Terri Schmitz, the owner.

The shop has plenty of company. The picture book, a mainstay of children’s literature with its lavish illustrations, cheerful colors and large print wrapped in a glossy jacket, has been fading. It is not going away — perennials like the Sendaks and Seusses still sell well — but publishers have scaled back the number of titles they have released in the last several years, and booksellers across the country say sales have been suffering.

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There's no better way to get children to love books and reading then by exposing them to great picture books from birth to 10. Very sad to read about the mother who forced her kid to read chapter books too young (and the child is a 'reluctant reader').

Picture books tend to be relatively expensive. For families on a budget, and they all seem to be, picture books are a difficult purchase. One problem is that as a parent you do not want to drop $17 on a book only to find your child didn't really like the book. Using the library is one way to conquer this. Use the library to discover the picture books that your child wants to hear over and over and then buy the book when you know it is one they love.

Certain books like "The Lorax" and "The Sneetches" can be purchased without library pre-screening because Seuss hits a home run with kids and parents about 98% of the time.

The person interviewed was misquoted by the journalist. This is a link to the librarian which was interviewed. You might want to put this up.

Thanks for this, it appears that the subject of the article was not happy with the NYTimes report.

NYT should deliver news and not make them.

We see picture books rockin' out of the library just fine. The article seemed to really point out how driven some parents are to skip development stages and appropriate reading material to get junior and juniorette in the lane for some prestiguous future. Bet they won't enjoy reading much though!

The cost of buying a picture book is high; the cost of checking one out and trying it out at the library is low! The death of the picture book is greatly exaggerated in this children's librarian's opinion!

Marge Loch-Wouters

Even though I don't have children, I still enjoy looking at picture books. Children benefit from exposure to great illustrations....we are really losing something when we insist on only letting them learn what gets them to pass some stupid test. Good picture books are a launching pad for imagination. One way around the cost is to share the picture book between families. I know in my family, my brother's picture books were handed down to me, and I have given books in good shape of mine to friends with children. Children love to read a single book over and over again so I just don't buy the whole cost thing. And, of course, libraries provide a free source....though often the books are loved to death by children who adore this material. People will allow an 8 year old a cell phone without considering the costs involve....where did we get the idea only electronics was worth spending money on?

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