Friday, October 8, 2010

Picture Books Increasingly Bypassed for Chapter Books

I fondly remember spending  many hours reading this picture book to my two sons.

Link to October 8 New York Times article, "Pictures Books No Longer a Staple for Children".

Excerpt: 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.

The economic downturn is certainly a major factor, but many in the industry see an additional reason for the slump. Parents have begun pressing their kindergartners and first graders to leave the picture book behind and move on to more text-heavy chapter books. Publishers cite pressures from parents who are mindful of increasingly rigorous standardized testing in schools

The article focuses on retailers and publishers; it does not include a library perspective.  I'm interested in knowing if youth librarians have seen a decline in the circulation of pictures books.


Anonymous said...

My picture books are still going strong here in Rice Lake. Parents and kids seem fully aware of the great stories inside. One thing I HAVE noticed though, is that a lot of picture books are too long for the audience that wants them. That is, the 3,4,5 and 6 year olds. We do seem to get quite a few that are aimed at a 2nd-3rd grade level, where the kids feel they are too old for Picture books. I still read them aloud to that age when they have class visits, and they enjoy them, but very few will check them out.

Kara Lynn Russell said...

I agree with the previous comment. I have also seen a few families with parents that discourage children from reading books that are too easy. These parents seem to measure a book's worth by how small the print is and how many pages (excluding illustrations) there are. I can't imagine that reading is a fun activity for those children. On the other hand, I also have a few families in which the parents allow their children to check out stacks of DVDs but refuse to let them get books because they'll "loose them."