Why You Shouldn’t Outgrow Picture Books


For most readers, picture books are our first introduction to the literary world. Many of us likely have fond memories of hearing beloved stories while sitting cross-legged on colorful rugs during library story time, watching our favorite teacher hold up each page, or being curled up next to our caregiver. But then we grew up and the books became longer and longer, and slowly but surely the illustrations disappeared. Early chapter books gave way to novels until one day we were fully fledged adults who wouldn’t pick up a picture book unless there was a child around to read it to. But what if I told you that you’re never too old to read picture books? That’s right, no matter your age, picture books have plenty to offer each and every reader. So, without further ado, let’s explore the many reasons why no one should outgrow picture books. In fact, older readers might be able to enjoy them even more!

Beautiful Illustrations 

Calling all art lovers! Reading picture books is a great way to explore the work of some incredibly talented illustrators. Whether you prefer realism or abstract, watercolors or pencil sketches, there’s a picture book out there with an art style to suit you. While I would never discount the power of words (I am a writer after all), sometimes images can convey meaning in a completely different way. Whether the book is playful and fun or emotional and moving, a good illustration drives that tone home like nothing else can. 

Cozy Details

Who doesn’t love some nice cozy vibes? Picture books, written with the naptime and footie pajama crowd in mind, have coziness down to a science. Sometimes, we grown-ups just want to skip the harrowing plots and interpersonal drama and get to the good stuff. And mice eating soup in front of a roaring fire is the definition of good stuff! If you love warm baths, delicious food, rainy days or snuggly pets, picture books are for you. 

Heartfelt Messages 

Many picture books act as a love letter to children, offering them a message about the world filled with hope and gentleness. No matter your age, we can all stand to hear these kinds of ideas from time to time, too. The world is often complicated and stressful and even downright scary. Picture books take this world and help us make sense of it. Best of all, they show us that we’re not alone in our feelings, and that people of all sizes can have big emotions. 


While many picture books can be touching and moving, just as many are downright silly! Young children tend to find much to laugh about in life, and I’m here to say they’re not wrong. Big messes, ripped pants, misbehaving dogs, lost items, and many of the other things that make adults want to pull their hair out are pretty hilarious when you think about it. Funny picture books are a wonderful reminder not to take life too seriously. 


This reason may seem obvious, but I think it’s still worth highlighting. Typically, the longer the story, the more complex it will be. But complicated stories, while great, aren’t always what we need. Sometimes, when our heads feel stuffed to the brim with big ideas and even bigger worries, we don’t have the mental energy to grapple with an epic tale. In moments like these, there’s nothing more soothing than sitting down with a picture book and letting ourselves melt into a world where the problems (as well as their solutions) are a bit more straightforward. People of all ages enjoy watching children’s animated films for similar reasons. 


The final reason that people who are no longer children should still read picture books, and perhaps the best one of all, is the opportunity to bask in nostalgia. Do you remember a certain picture book from childhood, the one that was your very favorite, that you could at one point probably recite from memory? Read that book again, after all these years, and prepare to feel all those old emotions and sensations come flowing back. The feeling of your grandmother’s corduroy couch, the taste of the graham crackers they passed out at snack time in preschool, that rush of happiness when the story’s protagonist finds their way. Revisiting a beloved picture book from long ago is the closest thing we have to time travel. 

These are just a few of the many reasons why picture books are wonderful pieces of literature for readers big and small. If you can think of any more, please feel free to comment them down below. I hope this blog inspired you to pick up a picture book, no matter your age!

Emily Pimental, PRR Writer