Picture Books and Children's Literature can be used to introduce themes, time periods, perspective, making inferences, and the use of low stakes creative writing.

Wrongly characterized as being only for young children, picture books and children's literature are practical and helpful to use in upper elementary through secondary education classrooms.

Page from Orbis Pictus
Page from Orbis Pictus

Orbis Pictus (or Orbis Sensualism Pictus) was one of the first picture books for children, published in 1658 by John Amos Comenius

November is Picture Book Month

Dare to Disturb the Universe: Madeleine L'Engle on Creativity, Censorship, Writing and the Duty of Children's Books
  • This is a summary of L'Engle's 1983 Library of Congress lecture


NPR put together a list of summer reading books that showed a wider selection of diversity in terms of author and protagonist ethnicity as well as themes. Not every author on this list is part of a minority group but every book features a protagonist who is. More of your students will be able to look to these characters and better identify with them.

Check out this book!

"A Comic Alphabet" by George Cruikshank, 1836
"A Comic Alphabet" by George Cruikshank, 1836

How and Why I Teach with Historical Fiction from Scholastic

Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People

Using Picture Books to Teach Plot Development and Conflict Resolution

13 Civil Rights Picture Books for Kids