Picture books have evolved over time to serve different agendas, from educational, such as teaching the alphabet, to more “edgy” topics in recent years, such as tackling what it’s like to be a child of divorce. With every change, however, one thing remains consistent: the design of a children’s book must keep a child interested and entice them to turn the page.
As I sit on the MAX on my way into Portland, I flip through the pages of my beat-up copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Every few stops, I find myself glancing up from the pages to look around at the passengers who are coming and going from the train on its way into the city. I notice an older man is fast asleep while the woman next to him stares out the window, a mother reties her son’s shoes, and a young man in a college hoodie taps his feet to the beat of whatever tune must be playing in his headphones. While I flip another page, I notice that I’m the only passenger in the car who is reading a book, while the majority of other passengers keep their eyes glued to their phones.