'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 1 August 2023

Reading Pictures, Drawing Words: A Database of Picture Books for Older Readers

The National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature (NCACL) has launched a new database that will bring substantial opportunity for indulgence by older readers of picture books. The contribution of extensive knowledge from a vast range of children’s literature experts are the foundations and building blocks in the development of this database.

The aim of PBOR (Picture Books for Older Readers) is to reach a broad audience. It will benefit and encourage reluctant readers, those with visual rather than textual comprehension, those who prefer image analysis and varied literature style, or those who simply enjoy the beauty of picture books.

Along with design and layout, the above elements play a huge part in understanding and analysing the visual narrative of picture books. Able to address more sensitive topics appropriate to older readers, PBOR embraces non-traditional plot structure, welcoming the challenge and options of literary devices aimed at these age groups.

Not only for children, this database opens up new areas of exploration for people who adore picture books of all kinds, who read them to find the sometimes-hidden or disguised meanings in both image and text, or a combination of the two.

PBOR is easy to navigate, with its drop-down choices and search function. There is also a Guide to using the PBOR database, with free on-line resources available. On exploration, I found it easy to navigate through the subject headings, annotations and curriculum links that line up from grade 5 through to secondary school (Australian Curriculum Version 9).

PBOR is still in its early stages, so content will expand as books are added. Nevertheless, the database promises to prove a useful tool for reading and learning about picture books in schools.

The PBOR database can be accessed at https://www.ncacl.org.au/pbor-database. For further information email ncacl@canberra.edu.au