My graduate thesis project explores the value of printed children's books for children under 5 years old






My thesis validates the role of the traditional printed picture book as a fundamental tool in child development and a profoundly meaningful form of visual communication. The research emphasizes the unique merits of the printed picture book that cannot be replicated by new media or digital interactivity and proposes the co-existence of both formats.


For my thesis project, I achieved my goal of creating a picture book that could not be reproduced digitally. As the reader progresses through the book, the mischievous monster continuously eats away the pages. This concept allows the reader to interact with the physicality of the book and creates a reading experience that is not only thoughtful but tactile and experiential as well.


Throughout my thesis research and creative process, I found myself constantly asking questions and considering different points of view in an attempt to better formulate a solid stance and conviction surrounding the role of printed picture books. As a result, I proved my hypothesis and demonstrated that printed picture books are a fundamental tool in child development and a profoundly meaningful form of visual communication.


Picture books facilitate a shared bonding experience between the child and the reader. Reading helps children’s cognitive development including early language and pre-reading skills. By encouraging emerging readers to think critically, ask questions and solve problems, books show the impact of actions and consequences. Picture books are a source of creative inspiration. Reading books also helps children develop self-awareness, a sense of empathy towards others and an understanding of the world around them.


However, after reading articles, interviewing industry professionals and attending lectures and a conference, I have learned that there are merits to new e-readers and digital technology. I think that there is great potential for the creation of content for interactive e-books and apps that will stimulate a child’s intellectual and creative development.


I am left wondering: How will digital media continue to progress? How might an over-exposure to screen-media impact future generations? How can print and digital media be better integrated?


Thesis Advisor: Alex Liebergesell

Thesis Resource Advisors: Scott Menchin, Michelle Hinebrook, Jean Brennan

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© Stephanie Cooper 2015