Alto, the dog in the picture above, is a character from Michele’s new book, “The Harp and the Storm Tamer: Michigan Conservatory Harp Method Book 1.”
In a world where binge watching is our favorite pass time and devices are used by children under two, books often are a forgotten tool for parents and childcare providers. Still, libraries are finding new and creative ways to keep their doors open to serve a base number of patrons. A good percentage of those patrons in my area are toddlers and young children.
For a toddler, the library is a safe place to make a first friend or listen to a story read by someone other than a parent. Children’s illustrated books are the introduction to the world of books. As an illustrator, I don’t take that lightly.
Children’s authors and illustrators, in this growing age of digital media, owe it to the upcoming readers of today to be more creative, more imaginative and more inviting than ever. It is our job to hold the line and make the subtle argument that books are not dead; in fact, they are a place of happiness and sanctuary throughout childhood and life.
It has come to my attention that some well loved children’s book stores have recently been forced to closed their doors in Seattle. If you are a parent or a child care provider, I implore you to support your local children’s books store as well as your local library. Children have few places of quiet and simplicity left in a world moving faster and faster; a world which expects more and more of them at an earlier and earlier age.
Books ask nothing of us save our time and our imagination. Children’s bookstores and libraries provide a space where children can walk into that world of words and pictures with confidence. Build a pillow fort, bring home a stack of colorful books and spend the day lost in a place where dragons sing, robots know friendship, animals talk and children can do just about anything. If you need me, I will be painting and writing more worlds in which I take sanctuary. You’re very welcome to join me. The door to those worlds is only a page turn away.