When I grow up, I want to be a cross between Anita Silvey and Steven Herb. Steven is a professor at Penn State University and serves on the Advisory Board of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book. He is on the selection committee for The Baker’s Dozen--an annual list that names 13 of the best picture books for children. The committee uses the following criteria:
- Recent outstanding trade books whose text and illustrations are particularly suited to the interests and developmental characteristics of children between three and six years of age. Fiction and non-fiction as well as wordless books are considered.
- Books that are accessible to adults enrolled in family literacy programs, particularly those characterized by:
- Text that is easily approachable because of attributes such as these:
- use of language that is primarily natural as opposed to literary
- use of repetitive words and phrases
- Print that is easy to read because of features such as these:
- large lettering with ample space between letters and words
- few sentences per page without many sentences that break to the next page
- print that appears at about the same place on each page, and generally reads left to right and top to bottom
- Illustrations that support and extend the text
I was lucky enough to take Steven’s Library Materials for Children course when he was the Follett Chair in Dominican’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science. One day he brought in boxes of recently published children's books and passed out the selection criteria for a Baker’s Dozen. We spent the morning reading and identifying the best books. B-L-I-S-S!
The committee released this year's list a few weeks ago. Take a look....
Mad at Mommy by Komako Sakai