Off the Shelf: Picture books are worth a thousand words

The popularity of adult coloring books has led this librarian to believe that adults are craving … something. Is it a connection to their childhood?

Are we seeking to slow down our busy lives and de-stress with simply coloring in the lines?

Or is it just the simple pleasure of gazing at happy, colorful images?

The fact that so many adults are willing to put aside the belief that coloring is only “appropriate” for children makes my heart soar. Why? Because it leads me to believe that more and more adults will be open to picking up one of my favorite forms of literature: the picture book.

And guess what! November is National Picture Book Month! So here are some fun recommendations, all of which are available here at the Sequim Branch Library.

“Be Quiet!” by Ryan T. Higgins blends an outrageously hysterical narrative with dynamic, colorfully rendered illustrations in this laugh-out-loud caper. It tells the story of a determined mouse who dreams of creating a “visually stimulating” book with no pictures. His well-meaning friends are all too eager to help him, though they can’t seem to manage doing so without spoiling things.

Higgins cleverly overlays dialogue on illustrations that transform from page to page as they display the actual book that the mice are “writing.”

“Boat of Dreams,” created by Rogério Coelho depicts a stunning story that explores themes of imagination, dreams, and surprising connections. Though longer than a traditional picture book, the story flows effortlessly through full page illustrations that are occasionally blocked into a more traditionally graphic novel format.

Through sepia toned paintings, it chronicles an elderly gentleman and a young boy as they communicate with each other through dreams and drawing. It illustrates how though they are experiencing two distinct times of life, they can find commonality through their shared dreams of flight and freedom.

“The Book with No Pictures” by B. J. Novak does the very opposite of “Boat of Dreams” with a fourth-wall-breaking narration that begs to be read aloud to one, or a gaggle, of excitable preschoolers. Novak has cleverly “illustrated” how books are able to tell an exciting and engaging story, even without pictures. I dare you to read this book to the kiddos in your life (or to yourself) without giggling.

Make sure to check out the library’s many storytimes for children ages 0-5 … there’s a special storytime for everyone. Visit the NOLS webpage for dates and times.

For more

Library staff love to help connect readers to books. Visit the Sequim Branch Library at 630 North Sequim Avenue, or get in touch with your friendly library staff by calling 360.683.1161, or sending an email to The library is always open at

Kamilla Kavmark is a Customer Service Specialist for the North Olympic Library System.

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