The Case for Picture Books for All Ages

October 13, 2021

At the Atlantic, Amitava Kumar makes a case for more images to appear in literature for adults, as tools to prompt questions and multiple interpretations. “Drawings and photographs run the risk of making everything literal,” Kumar writes. “In books for children, they mostly are mere illustrations, directly representing the ideas on the page. Virginia Woolf once wrote about paintings: ‘A story-telling picture is as pathetic and ludicrous as a trick played by a dog.’ But it is possible to imagine a more complex dialogue between art and narrative. Writers can use images to question the truth instead of simply underlining it.”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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