It is often said that "the world is a classroom" and that is true for no one more than for young children. Before the school years begin, they learn, for the most part, just by taking it all in: touching, tasting and smelling, listening, and above all, looking.
No one understood this better than Tana Hoban, the prolific and brilliant photographer and children's book creator. Tana Hoban began her career in the 1940s, photographing mainly children, and some of her pictures are now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. In the 1970s, she turned to taking pictures for young children, which she collected in a series of beautiful books. Many of these are still in print, and we hope they will remain so for years and years to come.
Hoban's books are all about how small children see and learn from ordinary objects in the world around them. Her photographs are often stark, and always graphically captivating. She focused on shapes, sizes, and numbers expressed in daily environments. She wrote, for example, that "A neat row of garbage cans sitting in the bright sun inspired me to do the counting book, 'Count and See.'"
Children love the way these books reflect their own perception of the world. And Tana Hoban also reminds parents just how much there is for a kid to learn from a walk down the block and a conversation about what she sees:
"Through my photographs and through open eyes I try to say, 'Look!' There are shapes here and everywhere, things to count, colors to see and always, surprises."
Below are a few of our favorite Tana Hoban titles -- take a look for yourself, and see!
Shapes, Shapes, Shapes by Tana Hoban
Kids can’t do without silliness. They need it and crave it and will find it wherever they can: in crazy jokes, hokey dancing, strange pictures, and wild behavior of every kind. So let’s be sure they find it on their bookshelves as well!Silly po... read more
My heart is being filled and my wallet emptied anew now that I've started wandering into the young adult section of my local bookstores. Even though my son is only four, we've been delving into longer chapter books of old that have some pictures and ... read more