The Importance of Picture Books


I think I’ll always remember the first time I went to the library.

I was in Kindergarten and I checked out one of the books in the Clifford the Big Red Dog series.  I was so happy about the prospect of unlimited books, that when my class got back to our room, I could barely pay attention to what the teacher was saying because I was too busy reading.

After Clifford, came Eric Carle and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. To this day, that book is one of my favorites and I still have the original copy my mom gave me on my 7th birthday.

My love for reading was not sudden. I was one of the slower readers in my class, if not the slowest, and I often mixed up certain letters in the alphabet. I wanted to read, but I couldn’t. Seeing other children sail through books with ease made me envious of something that I felt like I would never have.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

Afternoons spent with my mom reading letters off of flash cards and reading books that were 5 pages long prepared me for me for real picture books, which prepared me for books with small chapters, which prepared me for books like War & Peace and Anna Karenina.

I think one of the reasons why I love reading is because it didn’t come easily to me. The battle between “B” and “D” and “M” and “W” was one that was the long fault. But, it’s a battle I won.

Every time a child wanders into the shop, I silently pray for them. I pray that they always march into bookstores as quickly as they run into The Bookshelf at three years old. I pray that they never feel like reading isn’t their “thing” because it is.

I also wonder. What kind of books will they like? Who will their favorite author be? One day, will they be fortunate enough to spend their days surrounded books like I do?


The Children’s section of The Bookshelf is one of my favorite places. Sitting there, I am transported back to a simpler time when the world was full of endless possibilities. I wish I could sit in on a Saturday Story Time session from the perspective of a child. The next time you’re here follows the high pitched laughter to the back of the shop, you might just run into the author of the next great American novel reading a copy of Green Eggs and Ham.

Until next Tuesday, this is me signing off!


Azia WilliamsComment