Tag Archives: book illustrations

How to Use Wordless and Minimal-text Picture Books

In this age of rigor, text complexity, and higher standards for younger and younger readers—why do wordless picture books continue to be so popular?

Wordless, or minimal-text, picture books:

  • enable children to explore the art of storytelling and world-building
  • are a wonderful medium for expression and creative thought
  • are a natural introduction to inferencing, a metacognitive skill that is often taught in the later grades
  • help readers practice reading facial cues and studying visual context clues for vocabulary and plot development
  • engage visual learners or visually-motivated readers
  • alleviate struggling readers who may feel overwhelmed by dense text and long print sections
  • offer a launch pad to a lifelong love of other visually-rich formats, including comics and graphic novels

Why choose a wordless, or minimal-text, picture book for your next storytime?

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Illustrator Keith Mallett Takes Us Behind the Art of Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee!

Released this month from LEE & LOW BOOKS, Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee! is a picture book biograpy of James VanDerZee, a groundbreaking photographer who chronicled an important era in Harlem and showed the beauty and pride of its people. He took photographs of legendary figures of the Harlem Renaissance—politicians such as Marcus Garvey, performers including Florence Mills, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and Mamie Smith—and ordinary folks in the neighborhood too.

We asked illustrator Keith Mallett to take us behind the scenes of his art process bringing Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee to life: Continue reading