Several years ago, I read the book 100 Best Books for Children—publishing insider Anita Silvey’s look at the story behind the creation of some of the all-time greatest children’s books. One detail that’s stuck with me from the book is the story of what inspired Goodnight Moon. Silvey explains that author Margaret Wise Brown was influenced by her belief that children need to see familiar objects in their books. That’s why illustrator Clement Hurd’s art shows simple things, such as a bookcase; a fireplace; and a red balloon.
While on the surface, there may not seem to be much in common between the trade picture book Goodnight Moon and the school & library products Lerner publishes, I think a similar philosophy informs Lerner’s new Your Amazing Senses series (cover pictured). The photos in these books show kids doing familiar, simple things. The kids are in home and school settings, interacting with adults and other kids, and simply being kids. We see iPods, minivans, and pizza slices in the photos—all familiar trappings of kids’ everyday lives.
Familiar objects and relatable photos in books help kids connect with nonfiction content. They bring curricular topics close to home and help kids feel emotionally linked to them. Such emotional connections are what help turn kids into lifelong readers and learners.