Picturebooks in ELT

Passionate about picturebooks

Welcome to my blog about picturebooks in ELT.

“A picturebook is text, illustrations, total design; an item of manufacture and a commercial product; a social, cultural, historic document; and foremost, an experience for a child. As an art form it hinges on the interdependence of pictures and words, on the simultaneous display of two facing pages, and on the drama of the turning page.” (Barbara Bader 1976:1)

My intention is to discuss picturebooks, in particular the pictures in them! Why? Because, in ELT we tend to select picturebooks because they contain words our students might know. I plan to write something a couple of times a month, sharing what I discover in my readings; describe new titles I come across; discuss particular illustrators and their styles and generally promote the picture in picturebooks.

From January 2008 to December 2011 I benefitted from a PhD research grant from FCT, in Portugal.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Picturebooks in ELT nominated for Best English Blog Awards 2013

I am delighted to be one of the nine nominated blogs for the Really Learn English Blog Awards. Do pop along and check out the list, all very different blogs and all great resources for teachers. It's an honour to be one of the nominations. 

I've been quiet for six months, not because my passion for picturebooks has ebbed, but because life has been rather whirlwindy. I will do my best to get a post up within the week, but I thought as an attempt to get you back to reading, I'd just copy paste one of the answers to the judges questions. Question 2: What is the most useful resource/page/section on your blog? Here is my reply!


‘Useful’ is difficult to define.


For me I think the ‘most useful posts’ for teachers are those that provide information about the picturebook itself. The two most visited posts of this nature discuss endpapers and peritext, two aspects of picturebooks which are less known in the world of ELT.  These are the links, both rewritten from early 2010 as the original posts disappeared as a result of technical problems (I lost ten posts from the early days).

But if I was to look at the most visited posts over the last three years they have featured specific picturebook titles. I’ll share four.

1. The Smartest Giant in Town
I am always surprised to find that the most visited post is one that discusses The Smartest Giant in Town (Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler). It has been visited three times more than any other post. It’s a great picturebook, but not that great, so I’ve never worked out why it gets so much attention!

2. Lost and Found
The next most visited posts look at some slightly different picturebooks: Lost and Found (Oliver Jeffers) is a cute little story about a boy who finds a penguin. Together they discover the essence of friendship. This particular post also talks about the film of the picturebook.

3. The House that Crack Built
The House that Crack Built (Clark Taylor and Jan Dick) is a challenging picturebook for ELT contexts. A picturebook for older learners, teenagers in particular, and not at all cute. It is about drug abuse, a topic we rarely get to share with our learners, but which gets them talking animatedly.

4. Rabbits
Rabbits (John Marsden and Shaun Tan) is another challenging picturebook about the colonization of Australia.  Very powerful and thought provoking, again an unusual approach to a lesser touched upon topic in language learning.

These last three ‘well-visited posts’ show me that I have succeeded in bringing lesser known picturebooks to the attention of visitors, that was one of my aims.  I know from feedback from colleagues around the world that I’ve made a difference to the way they look at picturebooks.

As a closing remark for this blog post, I'd just like to say thanks to all the teachers who have visited my blog and taken what I say seriously, thus taking picturebooks seriously. When I started out in May 2010 I had no idea I was going to blog about so many picturebooks - 100 so far (and I had I been busy between March and September it would have been nearly 120!). I've discovered so many exciting new titles on my journey and I'm glad I've enabled others to discover them too!  Here's to me getting the time and energy to blog about 100 more! 

1 comment:

Rama said...

Very nice to see that this site has got Best English blog award since it is providing useful resources/pages/sections on the blog.