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Personification in Picture Books

Personification is a figure of speech used in books for children, poetry, advertising, novels, and other literary forms. When an author gives objects or animals human qualities, or attributes a human characteristic to a non-human character, they are using personification.

These qualities include feelings, characteristics, and the ability to do things the object or animal wouldnít normally be able to do. For example, an author may write the sun smiled or the ants were marching. The sun doesn't smile and ants don't march. However, readers can imagine them doing those actions within the context of a story.

These descriptions help readers visualize text and relate to non-human characters. Figures of speech make writing come alive. Boring sentences become interesting sentences with personification. For example: I wrote quickly, becomes, The pencil flew across my paper.

Here is a list of picture books to use when introducing students to the concept of personification. During each reading, discuss with your students what they imagine the object or animal doing when personification is used. Talk about why the author may have chosen the figure of speech, and how it helped create a particular visual image. After reading the book, ask the students to write one sentence or paragraph using personification, using the picture book as a model.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Heidi Shelton Jenck. All rights reserved.
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