“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good…” ― Maya Angelou

April is an amazing month for libraries because it celebrates so many things literary including D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) Month, National Poetry Month, and National Literature Month. This week also includes National Children’s Picture Book Day on April 2nd. Picture book simply refers to a book format in which art and text depend on one another for the full meaning of the book to emerge. Picture books span a wide range of intended ages. There are picture books for babies, picture books for just about every age of childhood, and picture books for adults. Though they may seem simple, picture books often contain more sophisticated language, because they are intended for fluent readers to read aloud. The illustrations in a picture book often introduce an unwritten subplot, tell mini-stories not in the text, or actually contradict the text, sometimes written in verse — inviting us to make connections between the two. These books whisk us away on adventures or teach us what happens when we meet monsters or tumble into trouble. They calm us on our way to sleep and facing new experiences. And they are usually only 32 pages long so they are the perfect length to drop everything and read for a few minutes.

The very first picture book was “Visible World in Pictures,” by Jan Komensky, a Bohemian educator, in 1658. It was a reading primer with images. Nearly a hundred years later came John Newbery’s “A Little Pretty Pocket-Book” in 1744. It gained fame for being the first children’s storybook intended purely for enjoyment. The 1800’s included authors Hans Christian Anderson and Lewis Carroll. The first Children’s Picture Book Day was officially announced in 1967. The day falls each year on the same day – appropriately enough, the birthday of Hans Christian Anderson. You can celebrate all the wonderful literary events of April at your library. There is probably a picture book for you. All you need is your always free library card.

“You can find magic wherever you look.  Sit back and relax all you need is a book!” – Dr. Seuss