Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Picture Book Discoveries

It seems to me that I have always loved beautiful picture books. They feature heavily in our home and in the learning I do with the children.
However strange as it may sound to those who know me this has not always been the case.

When we first started our Homeschooling adventure Stephen and I had one very small bookcase full of children's and picture books.

That being said I can now say we have a wonderful selection of picture books and children's classics as well as some wonderful newer writers and lots and lots of resource books.

The book that first started my love of picture books was A Childs Garden of Verses by R L Stevenson.
It was the beautiful illustrations by Tasha Tudor however that captured my heart and my imagination.
What appealed to me about the Tasha Tudor books was the sense of family life and closeness within the home, the traditions that show themselves in abundance through the year , the doll's fair, Christmas , Easter, harvest time, Valentine's day. I also love the old fashioned stove that is shown throughout the books and the cooking especially the cookie making and Christmas cooking.

These are aspects of life that are important in my own life and could relate to so easily.
When I think about it I can see how this book was such an opportunity for me.
I can see in our own home life how the richness of everyday life is enhanced by the love of all these traditions in Tasha Tudor's Books.

Since then over the years we have acquired a selection of her books. They are treasured books that we have made part of our family culture.
One of the blessings we have had by following the Charlotte Mason principle of Home Education has been the love of living books.
When you take this further into picture books I believe that some of my other favourite Authors fit into this as well.

My next foray into longer picture books was my introduction to Marguerite de Angeli. I was once again intrigued by the illustrations but also the text is so moving as well. She has researched so many different time periods and her life was so interesting as well.
I was thrilled when I was able to own a copy of Butter at the Old Price - her auto biography.
Her children were such a part of her life and so many of her illustrations were based upon them.

The Ted and Nina Story book was such a find for us. It was a very hard to find book and the children have all loved it. There is an online version to read here.
Elsa Beskow has been a wonderful edition to our home library. These are books that capture the imagination and activate the creativity within.
These books also feature beautiful illustrations and are often read aloud. The only drawback is that they are so long and when our children want one read they often want another and another and another!!!!!
In teaching our children to draw and illustrate I have not found a better way than using these books and a few other illustrators as a guide.
This has been the best way for the children to learn and their work is quite remarkable.
In living a life that uses "living books" as our basis for our lessons I could have saved some money by not buying those 'learn to draw guides' and just continued on with copying these beautiful illustrations.

After having copied the work of these illustrators our children have then been inspired to draw more using the style they like.

Other illustrators we have used this approach with are Eloise Wilkin, Kate Greenaway and David Macaulay.

Some of our other favourite Authors or illustrators are Patricca Pollaco, Shirley Hughes and Kim Lewis is especially loved by our little ones.
When I think back to the books we had when our older children were very little and how we have created a library for them at home I am thankful for the opportunities this gives us.
Although we go to the library and we do take out a lot of books ( as seen above we have 3 basketful's) I think that having these wonderful collections of books at home is a legacy to pass on to the children.
Not so much the books themselves but the beauty and knowledge that they contain. These books (not only the ones mentioned but our others as well) are a treasure in what they contain in the way our family can learn and spend time together.
For it is in reading together that we have developed so many memories. Times shared around the fire in winter reading aloud to our children or the children sprawled all over the house with a variety of books.
Reading outside in Summer, swatting at the mozzies and watching out for bull ants.

For years we always took our current read aloud with us in the car and I read aloud while Stephen drove.

I believe that our love of picture books and reading aloud to our children from a very young age has helped them develop a love of the written word, not that they have all been early readers (that is another post altogether), but they all love to listen while we read or if they have free time they are to be found with heads in a book.

Books are a way of life for our family and picture books are my passion within that lifestyle.
I pray you enjoy reading some of our favourite books soon.

Blessings,

3 comments:

Erin said...

Would you believe that although I know most of these authors we don't own any books? Except Kim Lewis, we have a couple of her books and the little ones do like her simplicity.
Now if you were to move closer I could borrow;)

Oh the memories, they are soo precious I agree.

Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website said...

Thank you for the lovely, poignant post Gae. You have touched upon things that have always struck my heart in a book (sense of family, timeless customs and traditions, etc...) so I too, must be a picture-book lover! One of my most FAVORITE stories (for both content and illustration) is "Big Sarah's Little Boots" by Paulette Bourgeois/Illustrated by: Brenda Clark. Although more modern...it brings to LIFE the simple love of a brother and sister (the Daddy is never mentioned in the story; hence, the "more modern") The detailed illustrations of bandaids on a knee or a wrinkle in an area rug...a ray of sunlight shining into the room, etc...delight me senses as I read this story time and again with my children. "Sarah" has a quandary one day when her favorite yellow boots (that go "splish!" in a puddle) no longer fit her feet! She tries planting them to make them grow, pulling them with rope and trikes, but alas...her "boots have shrunk".
Sarah's mother helps her learn that her feet have grown and in the end she passes on her treasured gollashes to her baby brother in exchange for a new "big girl" pair...which no longer "splish" but can go "WOOSH" right OVER the puddles instead!
Our books have taken such a beating over the years...many are missing covers! I am SO IMPRESSED at the top-notch condition in which your family has preserved your books! How do you manage that?!

Gardenia said...

that Ted and Nena book looks delightful. I'm going to look into these books you posted about. thank you for sharig. this Lovliness fair is truly wonderful. I've gotten so many great ideas for books (and that have-to-have book cart at wildflowers and marbles).

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