An insight from a Japanese researcher
In this entry, I’ll resort to a viewpoint expressed by Toshiyuki Shiomi, a Japanese author of pediatric literature.
Children from 0 to 1 have become a topic of psychological research relatively recently. Psychology is a science based on feedback. Infants are a category of people unable to provide specific feedback. So it is no wonder that the field of psychology that studies infants has grown only after the introduction of advanced technical devices and AI.
Studying 0 years old employs a display of stimulus, it may be a picture or a real person, and recording reactions. The researcher then finds patterns and similarities which allow him or her to conclude on who infants are and how they function. This research revealed that infants have very poor eyesight, they do not differentiate colours until they reach a certain age, and they do not perceive speech as speech.
The data from such and similar research is vital for infant-oriented picture book producers. Creating a picture book for 0 years old implies learning about what infants can understand and what they are interested to read.
What content do you offer an infant who does not know words? Many picture books for 0 years old indicate that reading them would boost a child’s imagination. This notion is doable at the very least. An 0-year-old is not developed enough to produce a similar situation in their mind.
That is why words in many picture books for 0 years old are either simple nouns or onomatopoeia. Scientists discovered that a child does not differentiate speech from music. Picture books create a repetitive pattern that a child may remember and repeat. But for that, you need to read the same book a couple of times a day.
Pictures and colours
Simple shapes on solid colours usually go down better with a 0-year-old than colourful pictures with multiple objects. As for the colour, there is no research that suggests the best colour for a picture book. A Japanese nursery has conducted an experiment in which they changed the colour of the floor on a weekly basis. Turns out, blue was the colour that could help children stay focused on a task for a longer time.
Pages and turning pages
Picture books for 0 years old have thick pages. A child can hold a book in its hands and turn pages. Turning pages is an act of independency. It is something a child can do on their own. A miraculous discovery of independence.
You might be wondering why a child likes turning pages so much. The French psychologist Piaget conducted a series of experiments to give us a clue. When a child sees a toy, the toy exists for the child. When you hide a toy under the mattress, for example, the toy does not exist for the child anymore. Even if they see the bump. 0-years-old are able to perceive only the things they see.
Turning pages, in other words, would become a game where a picture appears and disappears in a short time frame. Yeah, just like tik tok