The Art of Storytelling in Children’s Literature

I have sailed across a sea of words to ask if you will come away with me.

Have you ever read a book to your children and through the magic of it’s words and illustrations, transported you back to your own childhood? When adults immerse themselves in children’s literature, there is tremendous benefit for both the parent and child. A union of two distinct worlds coming together, learning from one another’s intellect and emotions. Children’s literature is an enriching process for the child’s personality. Shaping universal concepts such as character, purpose, morals, and meaning.

A Child of Books is unlike any other book. In fact, the book’s creators are two illustrators. Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston’s brilliant collaboration is an exquisite ode to classic children’s literature. The story allows for discoveries of young minds, while appealing to the sophistication of an adult. It has the aspect of a fairy tale but with a modern twist. As soon as you open the book, your eyes get lost in row after row of titles from children’s classics. The reader will feel the unique innate distinction. Endless quotes from forty treasured children’s classics and lullabies are featured throughout the entire books in typographical landscapes. Readers of all ages will find themselves going back to reread all the small print that is the marker of such creative art.

The book is centered on a young girl who comes from a world of stories. She takes you on her journey in helping a young boy find the imagination locked in the world of books. Through seas, rabbit holes, mountains, caves, forests, castles, and clouds of words; these illustrations not only enhance the reader’s imaginative response to the story, but give a clear visual representation of it. An example of this particular visual representation is in the monster’s illustration of detailed typography art. Even the teeth illustrated of the following words spark curiosity in the reader, “I am alone children of the night.” Another example is the rope illustrated of quotes from Rapunzel’s fairy tale. The girl slides down them while the boy holds on.

There is immense symbolism in the illustration of a key with a tag that reads “imagination is free”. It allows the reader to connect with the powerful message of how within our minds is the key to unlock the world in a book. The same can be said for the cover’s illustration featuring a lock on the book. It allows the young mind to question. What key will unlock this book? What mysteries does it hold?

On a personal and psychological level, this book is quite a metaphor for my own life. As a young reader, I immersed myself in the art of the literary storyteller. I understood the power in words and how to lose myself in the worlds those words created. I pondered for the deeper meaning only books can satisfy. As a mother and educator, I knew of the importance of filling my children’s life with books. When I began to write about the alignments of books and their purpose, my husband, who disliked to read as far back as I can recall, began to see the world a book can unlock. In my mind, as I read the book, the girl represented me and the boy my husband. Slowly, but surely, leading him to pick his own key of imagination. 

For this is our world we’ve made from stories… our house is a home of invention. Where anyone of all can come. For imagination is free.

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