Sharjah International Library Conference

Tuesday, November 7, 2023 العربية

Exploring Picture Books using the Whole Book Approach (half-day 9:00-12:30 plus lunch)

The Whole Book Approach, is a pedagogical method and critical framework developed by Megan Dowd Lambert in association with the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. The approach known as "See, Hear, and Say" reading is employed worldwide across libraries, museums, and various reading programs. This method is characterized by its dynamic and collaborative nature, as instructors utilize dialogic reading techniques and visual thinking strategies to immerse students in a shared reading experience, with a specific focus on treating picture books as visual works of art.

Over time, students develop an appreciation for picture book art, recognizing the books as intricate artistic creations that combine text, illustrations, and design elements. They develop strong visual analysis skills, becoming adept at interpreting and appreciating various artistic details such as color, line, shape, texture, and form. As students examine the relationship between illustrations and stories, they consider the illustrator's artistic choices and reflect on potential meanings conveyed through visuals.

This process also encourages the development of critical thinking skills and deepens the student’s understanding of both the art and the narrative. It also supports the reader’s critical engagement with the book’s representations of race, gender, class, and other aspects of identity in characterization. Integrating the approach in the art classroom inspires students to respond to picture book art with their own creative expression. They create artwork inspired by illustrations or even develop their own picture books, fostering imagination and artistic growth.

The workshop will be a mix of presentations, interactive small group discussions and hands-on activities. During the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to practice the approach and apply what they have learned to present a mini lesson on a book of their choice.

Learning Outcomes: Participants will be able to:

  • Select and evaluate books from multiple perspectives.
  • Understand the key concepts, principles, and benefits of the approach.
  • Gain proficiency in using Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) and dialogic reading techniques to build vocabulary, guide visual analysis, and facilitate collaborative discussions about picture books.
  • Develop integrations which support multiple literacies, spark children’s curiosity and imagination, and encourage artistic expression.

Workshop Handouts:

Participants will be able to:

  • How to Select High Quality Picture Books
  • Elements of Art, Design, and Style
  • Sample Lesson Plans and Extensions
  • Recommended Books and Resources


Michell Hackwelder

Michell Hackwelder,
Interpretation Unit Head, Education and Outreach Department, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism

Dr. Fawzia Gilani-Williams

Dr. Fawzia Gilani-Williams,
Cluster Lead Librarian, Bloom Charter Schools, Al Ain, UAE