What are your first memories of books? Was it a ragged old picture book you had love and cuddled to pieces? Or perhaps a lift the flap book with textures and surprises? Strangely, one thing that connects many of our early memories of books is a surprising lack of words. Before we have the skills to unravel written text or even spoken word we have the knowledge to understand stories. This is why small babies can enjoy story time every bit as much as much as older children. Illustration, design and colour are a key part of our early connection with books and encouraging your children to explore and enjoy these early picture books can forge a lifelong love of reading. I’ve brought together my favourite ways to explore illustrated books with your child below.
Make Illustrated Books Part of Your Routine
If books aren’t already part of your bedtime, bath time or naptime routine, they should be. Not only are they a wonderful way to interact with your child they create an early connection to reading that is tough to break. Explore different styles of illustration and storytelling to create a rich imaginary world for your little one. Looking back at vintage children’s storybooks is a lovely way to appreciate different styles of illustration alongside enjoying some of the great modern picture books available. From Dr Seuss to the Gruffalo there is a whole colourful world of children’s illustration to enjoy.
Bring Picture Books into Playtime
Continue the story long after you have put down the book by bringing themes and ideas from picture books for children into playtime. Act out storylines or think about where the adventure may have continued after ‘The End’. Encourage your child to talk about the characters from their favourite illustrated story and discuss their likes, dislikes and motivation. It’s this depth of interaction with children’s stories that transforms a story into a special memory. Play centered around stories is also a great way to aid development of language, creativity and emotional skills.
Visit the Library
I have a soft spot for public libraries. There is something special about a collection of well used books all loved by so many people collected together in one space. Give your little one some control over the children’s books they choose by scheduling in a regular library trip. This sense of routine and occasion creates a special significance around reading. The added excitement of being able to choose just a small number of books always makes trips to the library memorable.
Working as a children’s illustrator I work every day to create images that will connect with small people in a significant and special way. I hope you have as much fun exploring the world of children’s illustration as I do. If you’re inspired to create your very own children’s picture book then get in touch today to discuss illustrations that could bring your very own book to life.
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