Picturebooks, Pedagogy, and Philosophy
A review of Joanna Haynes & Karin Murris’ Picturebooks, Pedagogy, and Philosophy by Richard Morehouse.
Introduction: There is no guideline or insurance policy to cover the new and unfamiliar territory that we enter by encouraging children to think independently, to question and to engage in dialogue” (Haynes & Murris, 2012, p. 183). I chose this sentence to open this review as it provides a quick picture of the nature and style of the book. This work provides no easy answers for the uses of picture books but instead is a comprehensive examination of how picture books contribute to our understanding of pedagogy and philosophy. If one reflects on the title, one may notice that it does not include a reference to Philosophy for Children. This appears to be intentional. My sense is that the authors consider themselves educators of philosophy who use picture books as a way to teach philosophy. While the authors advocate for the teaching methodology that is grounded in the work of Matthew Lipman and others involved in Philosophy for Children (P4C), the authors do not wish to only address this narrower audience. They are educators and philosophers who use P4C as a part of their teaching approaches. “Picturebooks and philosophy for children (P4C) provide a framework to support adults’ exploration with courage and confidence” (Haynes & Murris, 2012, p. 1). The semantics here are important. The authors are saying that in addition to being a methodology for teaching, P4C is a way of looking at and understanding philosophy and picture books in the classroom and as a way of supporting this exploration by adults.