Last year I read over 500 picture books. I don’t think I’ve read quite that many this year, but I have kept up a steady pace. I certainly have changed the way I look at picture books. Spending a year on the Caldecott committee does that – I will never look at a picture book the same way again, and this is a good thing. For one, it has made it easier for me to share how to look at the art in these books. I have been working with our local school board to help teachers look more closely at picture books. I spent a week in early December with the Grade 1 teachers. I showed them what I saw in the books, and they shared what they saw. I was amazed that I was able to find something new in The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. I consider all the books our committee chose as friends. I carry them in my car. They are lifelong companions. They are gifts.
Speaking of book gifts. This makes me so proud to be Canadian that I am shouting it from my virtual rooftops. IBBY Canada, Groundwood Books , Sydney Smith, and JonArno Lawson have banded together to give a gift to the Syrian refugees that are coming to our country. Along with a copy of Sidewalk Flowers, each book will contain a card inviting them to take a trip to their local public library. It makes my librarian heart melt, this does.
So whatever you are doing this day, be it celebrating with family, eating cookies, working, lounging by the fire, or just relaxing, enjoy a gift. Find a favourite picture book and read it aloud.