Are Children’s Books Still Important?

The Importance of Children’s Books

We all remember that time as children when a book hit us, and hit us hard! The book 101 Dalmatians did it for me, a very old (and apparently now very valuable, although it’s disappeared in the annals of time!) copy my grandparents had. It was pink, with the most beautiful illustrations. I remember it so clearly, the sadness of it ending, and the excitement of opening it up again as if for the first time. I could lose myself in that book for hours and hours, just happy to be back amongst the characters I thought of as friends and family. But with the rise of technology and the ubiquitousness of the television, should we still be reading to children?

Stories play a vital role in the growth and development of children. The books they read and the characters they get to know can become like friends. It’s also good for children to understand that books are a useful source of information and that good reading skills are important for success in their future lives. Reading also helps children with their confidence levels, coping with feelings and language and learning.

children's book illustrator

Children who can read well are more likely to have higher confidence levels. This will benefit them in school as they’ll feel able to participate fully in activities. Another part of building confidence and self-esteem is knowing where you fit into the world. Stories can help with this process by showing children what people’s lives are like where they live and in other parts of the world. This can encourage their ability to understand diversity, and hopefully to show children how to behave as they grow up in order to be tolerant, kind and understanding of the world around them.

Stories are a great way to introduce new words and ideas into a child’s language. If you start children off with picture books when they are very young you can build a base to build on, until you start to discover more complex novels for teenagers and young adults (YA). Stories can help children learn about concepts such as shape, size, space and colour, up and down, inside and outside, numbers and the names of objects. They can also teach children about everyday tasks, such as how to brush their teeth, taking care of animals, cleaning and tidying and preparing food. The books they read can also introduce them to concepts that may be tough to approach, such as feelings, divorce, death and relationships. In this way, stories are also useful for teaching more complex ideas, such as the importance of sharing, the passage of time, compassion for others.

When children learn through stories it can be approached in a really natural way. There’s no actual teaching involved at all, they learn from simply reading the story.

children's illustratorReading stories can be helpful for relaxation, so before bedtime is a great way to get kids to switch off and think about something else. This can help to give them much happier dreams! Stories before bedtime allows children to forget the stresses and strains of the day and indulge in fantasy for a while. The soothing familiarity of a much-loved story, the rhyming and repetition in a picture book, plus the sense of security that time spent reading together can foster, all help the child to relax.

Stories help to develop a child’s imagination by introducing new ideas into their world. You can introduce fantastical worlds, other planets, different points in time and invented characters. It’ll encourage children to realise that they can, and should, imagine anything they want. The beauty of stories is that they can be really realistic or incredibly fantastical. Stories and books can jump between the normal and everyday and the fantastical. Just look at a story like Strong and Mighty Max, for example. Max could be anyone from their nursery or school, and yet he can also be a superhero! Or books about the Dalby family, who are always off on adventures but have a strong sense of realism running through them. The next book can be about dragons or tigers!

childrens book illustrator

When children read stories that contain feelings it can help them understand and accept their own feelings. It helps them understand that there are other children who feel the same way and they are not alone. This helps the child understand that feelings are normal and should be expressed. Watching their responses to the feelings of the characters in the stories will give you some idea of how a child feels about certain situations and emotions. For example, how the child responds to the character in the story feeling sad or scared will give you some idea of how the child thinks. This can help you to communicate more effectively with the child, and encourage the child to open up to you. Books can be used as a way to open the gate into a child’s mind, especially when they can’t articulate how they are feeling effectively, as they don’t have the words yet, or the emotional vocabulary.

We’re, of course, always going to be enthusiastic about children’s books, it’s what we do! But it’s so important to realise what an impact just a few books a week can have on your child, or the development of children you care for. Who knows, you may end up enjoying it as much as the children!

A few of my previous clients

happydesigner clients

  • "WOW! Love it! I'm so happy with what you've produced- and with so little input from me. FANTASTIC!!! THANK YOU” - Darren Pascoe: 'Red Rabbit Book'

  • “Sarah was lovely to work with and keen to make sure that the illustrations were a perfect match for the story. It’s obvious that she really cares about her work and wants you, the author, to be happy with the final results.” – Marion Adams

  • "Sarah quickly understood what I wanted to achieve and the look I was after. Sarah kept me informed and brought me into the whole process” – Darron Jon Love

  • "I can’t speak highly enough of Sarah! She has brought Roopert Snoopert to life in a way I could never have imagined.
    The illustrations are fantastic! Sarah keeps you update with progress from the draft stage right through to sign off." - Paul Micklewright
  • “I am so happy that I found Sarah to bring my book to life. Sarah took the time to listen and really made the effort to make sure that I was happy and her brilliant designs translated the words of my book into a beautiful visual story." - Jodie Jackson

  • “Sarah’s advice has been invaluable, she could have just illustrated my first attempt but knew there was more to be had from the story and pointed me towards the right help." – Darron Jon Love

  • “When we first contacted Sarah, Dainty Dizzy was a concept;  an idea to be shaped into a brand.  Sarah took this idea and illustrated it perfectly….and our brand look and feel was born.” – Dainty Dizzy

  • "The logos are absolutely fantastic, they are spot on brief and are even better than we imagined!Paolo Pini, Step Up To Languages

  • "It's been great working with Sarah as our illustrator! She's been so great in taking all feedback on board and delivers work of the highest standard. Would 100% recommend :-)" - Michelle Gibbs, Doodle Dozen Series
  • "These posters and flyers are perfect”
    - Julia G, Manager at the Truro branch of Pets at Home

  • “Sarah’s re-branding of my business has given it a much needed fresh and quirky feel. She provided us with an extremely friendly courteous and efficient service and injected an energy into the project, that only Sarah could.” – Discovery Leisure

  • “Thank you, Sarah, for the amazing work you did on the illustrations for my book. Working with you has been so easy thanks to your enthusiasm, flexibility, support, professionalism and, of course, the amazing quality of your work." – Stuart Neath

  • "I hope my recommendation will persuade you to use Sarah! I cannot fault her, for her professionalism, enthusiasm and talent." - Michelle Hawkins, Director: The Flying DoDo

  • "Sarah understood what I was looking for and produced a fantastic logo for me.  She is very approachable and friendly – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her” Katie Jarvis, Fancy Prints

  • "Sarah is amazing - very fast at understanding the requirements, great pictures and never too much trouble. I recommend her wholeheartedly" - Fernando Caldeira-Saraiva
  • "She has a keen eye for the quirky detail, she is punctual and a joy to work with. I simply cannot praise her enough.” - Clickety Books

  • "Outstanding illustrator with exceptional talent. You couldn’t wish for a better artist, as it would be impossible to find. Such a spectacular gifted designer who is always happy!" - Rachel Lake

  • "Sarah loves her work, her friendly ‘can do’ approach is reassuring whether you’re on your first or tenth book."  – Darron Jon Love
  • Sarah is an extremely talented designer and illustrator. She has that rare gift of being able to find something in your business or character that you never knew existed" Craig Green

  • “I was so nervous ringing you as i've never done anything like this before, but you were so friendly and put me completely at ease.” - Donna Purvis

  • “Books arrived safely today- I am absolutely delighted with how they look – I can’t thank you enough – you’ve made my dream come true :)” – Jane Collins

  • Sarah is professional, friendly and very knowledgeable, she delivered 100% with a new logo that was spot on! We can't recommend her enough!” - Lucy @ Get Active

  • Sarah has a great insight into how to best produce a children’s book and is really helpful in getting you there! I really cannot recommend Sarah enough – brilliant designer, friendly and professional. The experience has been a great one!“ – Jodie Jackson
  • Sarah really understood the brief right from the beginning and has been able to translate my ideas and mental images, that at times were quite specific, into magical illustrations that are better than I’d ever hoped. She has absolutely nailed it!” – Gareth Edwards