Picture This: New reading guide is a celebration of illustration

September 2022
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Elaina Ryan reading with children, surrounded by cartoon cutouts

Today, Children's Books Ireland celebrates the launch of its new reading guide celebrating picturebooks and illustration. Picture This features over 230 recommended reads for children and young people aged 0–18, which have been reviewed by experts in children’s literature.  Each review is accompanied by a ‘Read also’ recommendation, bringing the total of books included to over 450.

Picture This focuses on books with strong visual narratives, including wordless or silent books; graphic novels and comics; picturebooks for all ages and graphic diary-style texts. The guide aims to highlight books, series and texts that might encourage reluctant readers or those with language barriers to engage with reading.

Testament to the increased visibility of excellent books for children as Gaeilge, the guide, whose Irish name  ‘Amharc! Breathnaigh! Féach!’, translates to ‘Look! Look! Look!’, features 29 Irish language books. These include new releases, such as An Slipéar Gloine by Fearghas Mac Lochlainn and Paddy Donnelly, and family favourites such as Geansaí Otto by Sadhbh Devlin and Tarsila Krüse. All books from Irish authors, illustrators, publishers or those written in the Irish language are highlighted in the guide with a shamrock.

Picture This

Commenting on the launch of the Picture This Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland, said:

Pictures are important. They are rich and expressive and joyful and complex. As a child, they’re our first dip into the world of storytelling – but they’re not something to be left behind once a child is comfortable reading text. Pictures on the page aren’t just a stepping stone, they’re a journey in themselves.

'Presenting an alternative route to the linear progression from picturebooks to chapter books, we want Picture This to give children and young people just a little bit of space to discover a love of reading at their own pace, to read stories in formats they never knew about or would never have considered, to come back again and again to an illustration, experiencing the joy of finding something new each time.

'We particularly hope that these stories will have special appeal for young readers with reading difficulties, or those whose first language may not be English or Irish.'

Picture This is now available for free in every library authority in Ireland and in sixty participating bookshops island-wide. The guide is also free to download from the Children’s Books Ireland website: childrensbooksireland.ie.