If I could chart a course to rescue picture books, I’d suggest that we establish the writer again as half of the equation. We need real stories, and long stories, that can be read more than once. I, by the way, don’t believe that critics change books. I believe geniuses—like Wanda Gag, Virginia Lee Burton, Robert McCloskey, Margaret Wise Brown, Maurice Sendak, Ruth Krauss, Chris Van Allsburg, and more recently Shaun Tan—reinvent the form. Someone who creates contemporary picture books is probably working right now on a title that’ll revitalize our understanding of and ideas about picture books.
What do you think?