As an Early Lit specialist, I love board books. I love what they do for kids. I love that I can give them to parents who come to storytime but are afraid to check anything out for fear of ripped pages and chewed corners. Let me say this again, cuz I’ve said it before, a good children’s librarian won’t care if your child ruins a book or two. They will chock it up to learning and give you a smile. Please don’t misuse what I just said I let your child look at books unattended and have them destroy 10 of them. Your local children’s librarian will want to kill me for telling you what I just did if that’s what you took from it. I digress, I have some excess time this week due to problems with our main library and so I’m catching up on my Kirkus and School Library Journal. I came across this amazing interview with Christoper Franceschelli, an author of board books. This statement struck me so hard I had to share.
“It’s also true that all too often picture books are still far more likely to be taken seriously and be reviewed than board books. So it becomes far easier to publish some texts and illustrations as picture books even though they’re crying out to become a board book.”
I read Kirkus reviews in order to assist in my ordering decisions. Rarely, if ever, are there reviews on board books. They are just not seen the same way picture books are. WHY? Board books are given to our children at their most sponge-like time. They are learning EVERYTHING. They need quality literature. They need amazing illustrations. They need this and I’m so glad that someone else sees it. This is how much they need it. In another article in the same SLJ issue they talk about the 30 million-word gap. “Language exposure is what feeds early brain development… Children are not born smart, but parents help make them so through verbal interaction.” Talking to your babies and reading them books is SO important. Please read these articles and make an effort to re-vamp your board book section. If you’re a mom and you have a baby, check out some books! Don’t be afraid of drool and rips. Pleeeeease. And if your local children’s librarian makes you pay for that book, give her/him my number.