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Children's Picture Book, a literature in its own right

In a good children's picture book, everything makes sense

We mainly share children’s picture books, which are also called illustrated books, children’s books or “album” in French-speaking world. The so-called “children’s” picture book is aimed at childhood, but also resonates with all ages of life, and we are keen to introduce it to children, adolescents and adults alike, from selections that challenge or surprise them.
Authentic literature

The children’s literature that we defend and promote has the particularity of moving both children and adults. Beyond the age, the origin, the history of each one, it questions us on subjects, universal themes such as the origin of the world, our origin, love, fears, abandonment, death and after death…

It speaks wonderfully about our emotions, our dreams, our worries with a mixture of gravity and lightness, tenderness and humour, and this in a diversity of registers, representations and techniques, which often dazzles us. It tells us many stories and makes us taste the beauty of words, phrases and images, often with a power of evocation that carries our reading aloud. It allows access to literary and artistic games, to multiple interactions, to shifts between text and image, it is full of references to great classical texts, to myths, to painting, to photography, to the plastic arts…

“Fiction books provide children with tools and a framework to explore, experiment and expand the scope of their speculative thinking, imagination and feeling”.*

This literature is a weapon against the explicit and the simplified. It has great authors and illustrators who have made it a real space for creation. These creators are all the more numerous as translation gives us access to artists from all languages and many countries, a wonderful opening onto other cultures and other understandings of the world.

If the child’s and the adult’s points of view are necessarily different, “it is important to respect the interpretations that the child gives, even if they are far from the text, and to encourage him to find others. That is why a good book is one that has infinite possibilities of interpretation. The text (…) then becomes an inexhaustible source of psychic activity. And that’s where the pleasure of reading begins”.** When we read stories to children, we don’t know what they understand and we don’t ask them, because we are keen to create reading spaces that give pride of place to silence, daydreaming, secrecy and intimacy, and to singular discoveries.

* Elzbieta, L’Enfance de l’art, éd. Rouergue, 1999
** Evelio Cabrejo-Parra, Tout petit tu lis, Centre de promotion du livre de jeunesse de Seine-Saint-Denis, 2002

Make a choice
Offering readings aloud means giving access to known works, “classics”, and offering discoveries, opening up to new encounters… It’s making a choice in editorial production.

The success of reading sessions depends a lot on the quality of the works, and the selection of children’s picture books is a fundamental step for any proposal to share readings.

It can be done according to various criteria, depending on the audiences addressed and the reading contexts.

But it is important to choose children’s picture books whose literary and aesthetic quality feed the imagination of young and old, for a lively and joyful awakening to language, literature and culture.

To work on this question of choice and selection of children’s picture books, to build up rich and varied collections, the Read with me team is constantly training with specialists in Youth literature.

We share this work in times of awareness and training, and in reading committees, conferences and working groups offered each semester to our network.

The work around children’s picture books is of course done in conjunction with the companions of the world of books:

Some selections
Bibliographies of children’s picture books
Learn and discover
Choose children’s picture book
The children’s picture book, a true literature
Reading Committees
For further
The children's picture book, a literature for all audiences, Practitioner's Kit - Co-published by the Agency when books connect and the ANLCI - Work led by Dominique Walter (DDCS - North) - 2010.
Album[s] – Sophie Van der Linden - in collaboration with Olivier Douzou –De Facto-Actes Sud – 2013
These books that make children grow (expanded edition) – Joëlle Turin – 2012
Read and choose your children's picture books, a little manual for adults – Cécile Boulaire – 2018
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