Megan Dowd Lambert is a senior lecturer in children's literature at Simmons College, where she earned her master's degree in children's literature after completing a B.A. at Smith College.
She writes for the Horn Book Magazine; served on the 2011 Caldecott committee; and worked at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art for many years, leading Whole Book Approach story times and training others in her methods.
Visit Megan online.
From the Preface of Reading Picture Books with Children:
In 2001 I was a graduate student studying children's literature at Simmons College, and I heard that a new museum devoted to picture book art was slated to open a year later in Amherst, Massachusetts, right in my backyard. After some finagling, I managed to earn the final four credits toward my master's degree through an independent study in which I documented my work on behalf of the burgeoning education department of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. The museum was founded by the artist Eric Carle and his wife, Barbara, and remains the only full-scale museum in the United States focused on picture books and their art form. By the time the Carle's grand opening occurred on November 22, 2002, I'd laid the groundwork for the Whole Book Approach, a co-constructive (interactive) storytime model centered on the picture book as a visual art form, which I'd used with more than eight thousand children across Massachusetts in anticipation of that day.
Fast-forward eight years, and I'd worked with more than twenty-five thousand students and about three thousand professionals by leading hundreds of Whole Book Approach storytimes and professional development programs for the Carle. Meanwhile, I was also teaching at Simmons and other schools, raising my growing family, serving on book award committees, and making forays into speaking and writing about picture books and my experiences reading them with children. The confluence of my family life as the mother of five children and my professional life in children's literature all felt pretty happily-ever-after, but as I shifted into full-time teaching at Simmons and less programming work at the Carle, I knew I wanted to round out my work on the Whole Book Approach with a book—with this book.
As a reader, a mother, and a teacher, I know that we carry picture books about with us, not just as physical objects in our hands with pages that we turn, but as remembered experiences with stories and art, and with each other. I pick up a single picture book, and I recall not only the specific story and art on its pages but also the myriad insights that it provoked through Whole Book Approach readings that invited children to read words, pictures, and design along with me.