Reading the Art in Picture Books

Tuesday, 7/5/2022

A picture book is more than just the story. Learn how text and illustrations work together to enhance readers' appreciation of this format. This 4-week online course will prepare students to articulate why they like picture books by describing its artistic elements, media, style, and design. 

Students will develop visual literacy skills and learn how to examine and evaluate picture books for both text and illustrations. This course would be good preparation for reviewing picture books or serving on book award committees, as well as for sharing picture books with children in a more expansive way.

This is a four week course run asynchronously, meaning you will never need to login to a class on a certain date/time. This course will begin the week of July 5, 2022.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • Articulate how artistic elements within illustrations convey meaning.
  • Identify the style and media of picture books.
  • Examine peritext and design elements and describe how they contribute to the aesthetic appreciation of picture books.
  • Develop strategies for reading picture books for evaluation purposes and sharing with children.

Who Should Attend

Youth services librarians, school librarians, classroom teachers, LIS students, parents and caregivers, children’s literature enthusiasts, and anyone else with a vested interest in visual literacy in children's books. 


Heidi Hammond was a former public school librarian and associate professor in the Master of Library and Information Science Program at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She served on the 2011 Randolph Caldecott Award Committee and since then has made numerous presentations about visual literacy in picture books. She co-authored Reading the Art in Caldecott Award Books: A Guide to the Illustrations (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014) with Gail Nordstrom. She also cotaught a graduate level picture book course with Gail for St. Catherine University.

Gail Nordstrom is the Public Library Consultant for Viking Library System in rural western Minnesota. Passionate about picture books, she served on the 2011 Randolph Caldecott Award Committee and speaks to librarians and educators about book illustration. With Heidi Hammond, she coauthored Reading the Art in Caldecott Award Books: A Guide to the Illustrations (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014) and co-taught a graduate level picture book course for the MLIS program of St. Catherine University.



Class size is limited to 30 students.

ALSC Personal Member: $156.75
ALA Personal Member: $188.10
Nonmember: $209

Member rates apply to personal memberships only. Interested in joining ALSC? Click here to learn more about ALSC and how to join.

How to Register

Registration for this eCourse is now open!

Refund and Transfer Policy

Refunds may be requested for facilitated eCourses until the date the course starts. Refunds may be requested for live webinars until the webinar starts. To request a refund, please email ALA Membership and Registration Services.

If you are registered but unable to take a course you may transfer your registration to another student if that student falls under the same registration category.  For instance, an ALSC member may transfer their registration to another ALSC member free of charge. If you would like to transfer your registration to someone in a different category, the difference between prices must be paid at the time of transfer.  All requests for registration transfers must be made in writing no later than seven days before the start of the course. Please address all requests, including the reason for the transfer and both parties' membership numbers, to Sarah Polen, ALSC Program Officer for Continuing Education, and ALA Membership and Registration Services. Transfers may not be made once a course has started.

Tech Requirements

Computer, internet access


If you have questions about the course material, please contact the course instructor.

All other questions can be directed to Sarah Polen, ALSC Program Officer for Continuing Education, via email or by calling (312) 280-4026.