Clare and I (Lydia) routinely integrate picture books into our pre-service literacy methods courses. We often begin each class with a read aloud from a picture book. The feedback we have received from student teachers suggests they appreciate this practice because it introduces them to a variety of texts they can use in the classroom, and it models storytelling and read aloud techniques. We have often used the creative and compelling picture books of author Shaun Tan in our literacy courses. I wanted to share a quote from Shaun Tan in which he comments on the “visual language of illustrations”.
“the word illustration is a little misleading, because the best illustrations do not actually illustrate anything, in the sense of describing or illuminating. My own narrative images, and those of my favourite artists, are actually far more concerned with deepening the uncertainty of language, enjoying its ambiguous references, exploiting its slipperiness, and at times, confessing its inadequacy. My own aspirations as an illustrator – using that term advisedly – is to simply present the reader with ideas that are essentially silent, unexplained, and open to very broad interpretation”.— Shaun Tan
(Quote taken from an essay originally written for ABC Radio National’s Lingua Franca.)