Seeing Sense

Customers outside of North America (USA and Canada) should contact Facet Publishing for purchasing information.

Find on LibraryThing.Find on WorldCat.
Regular Price 
ALA Member 
Item Number: 
Facet Publishing, UK
  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the Author
  • Reviews

The burgeoning field of visual literacy can be universally understood across a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, regardless of traditional literacy levels. A key tool for navigating digital devices, there is often an antipathy surrounding visual literacy borne out of stigma and at times, intimidation.

At a point when funding for public libraries in the UK is in decline, Seeing Sense will include new research and bring together best practice from different organizations and institutions from a national and global perspective. This book will showcase the role of visual literacy as a tool for promoting reading, helping to raise understanding and awareness among librarians and education practitioners and promoting aspiration and achievement among the children and young people they work with. Content will include

  • an overview of visual literacy as a tool for reading development;
  • the role of visual literacy in design and display within libraries and resource centers;
  • advice for library and information professionals on how to gain greater confidence in using and understanding visual literacy as part of strategies to engage readers; and
  • a number of practical case studies to illustrate the power and potency of visual literacy as a key tool for making reading accessible, engaging, and appealing for all.


Philip Pullman

1. In the Frame: what is visual literacy and why does it matter?
An introduction to Seeing Sense

Origins of visual literacy

Visual literacy in the digital age

Becoming visually literate

Cave to computer screen: a potted guide to visual literacy in society

Types of visual literacy

2. The Big Picture: terminology for talking about and critiquing illustration

The building blocks for visual literacy

The anatomy of a picture book

The role of colour

Media, style and techniques

Features of visual narratives

Features in graphic novels


3. The Reading Journey: the developmental stages of reading

The emerging pre-reader

The novice reader

The decoding reader

The fluent, comprehending reader

The expert reader

A framework for visual competencies

Visual literacy in practice


4. Close Inspection: influences and insights into people and processes that shape visual narratives



Graphic design and print

Harmony in words and pictures

Representation and translation

Pictures mean business

A comic perspective

Graphic novels


5. Windows into Worlds: the importance of visual representation and inclusion

Cultural diversity



Mental health


Learning needs



Colour blindness


6. Prize Winning Pictures: an exploration of awards and honours

The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal

The Macmillan Prize for Illustration

The Klaus Flugge Prize

The Excelsior Award

Regional book awards

International Awards

The Biennial of illustration, Bratislava

The Bologna Ragazzi Award

The Caldecott Medal

The Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards

The Little Hakka Awards

The Children’s Laureate


7. Looking to Learn: an insight into visual literacy for information

The power of visual information

Finding fun in learning

Creating visually rich learning environments

Partnerships to create visual learning opportunities


8. A Room with a View: making the most of visual literacy in libraries and settings




Case Studies




Nick Sharratt





Jake Hope

Jake Hope is a reading development and children's book consultant with a keen interest in librarianship, visual literacy, diversity and children's books. Named as one of top ten librarians of the future in the United Kingdom's 'Love Libraries Campaign', he has been a regular reviewer and commentator on children's books for numerous publications and websites, including leading children's book journal Books for Keeps and the UK's trade magazine The Bookseller. As Reading and Learning Development Manager for Lancashire County Council, he designed and delivered a year-long promotion of visual literacy as well as the "Lancashire Reading Trail," an illustrated scheme aimed at encouraging children to read while fostering an awareness of local geography and culture. He has judged numerous book awards, including the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, for whom he now Chairs the Working Party.

"For both established and new illustrators and writers, Hope’s book lays out the concept of visual literacy in a way that is not only approachable but useful and fascinating."
— Dawn Finch, Chair of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group of the Society of Authors (CWIG)

"Seeing Sense is an invaluable addition to any librarian or teacher's CPD library. Not only does it enhance understanding of this neglected topic, but the clarity and lucidity of the exposition make this an enjoyable and fascinating read. Both philosophical and highly practical, this is a very rich resource, supplemented by witness statements from artists and illustrators and relevant case studies which show how applying the tenets of visual literacy to library and classroom practice can reap rewards and engage readers. The reader is given a thorough grounding in the technical language of the visual arts, and the deeper awareness of all the processes involved will make it essential reading for future CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal judges and all those who nominate for the awards."
— Joy Court, Editor of Reading by Reading and Read to Succeed, Reviews Editor of The School Librarian, UKLA Trustee

"‘No visual literacy, no democracy. It’s a simple as that.' So writes Philip Pullman in the foreword to this marvellously clear and full account of the role of visual literacy in culture. In our increasingly visual world, we all need to be able to decode images to understand their effects. Jake Hope uses interviews and case studies of those who make, publish and mediate picture books, to show how the very first art form children encounter can be harnessed to help them learn and acquire the skills they need to navigate the world. From Lancashire to Singapore environments and innovations in how to bring children and books together at home, in educational settings, in libraries and in digitally created environments are described and practical advice provided. This book truly is replete with information and insights."
— Professor Kim Reynolds, Professor of Children’s Literature, Newcastle University, Past President of International Research Society for Children's Literature 

"The power of illustration should never be underestimated. When you gaze into the eyes of a character on a page, you make a deeper connection which builds empathy and understanding. Seeing Sense is an engaging and compelling read for anyone who wants to explore how pictures add rich depth and nuance to narrative and indeed, tell their own story. It will be a hugely valuable resource for librarians, teachers and all those passionate about inspiring young readers."
— Sarah Mears, Programme Manager at Libraries Connected, co-founder of Empathy Lab

"Seeing Sense is essential reading for all librarians working with children and young people, other educators and anybody with an interest in visual literacy. Showing that visual literacy is a tool that is used by everybody on a daily basis and is an essential component to the process of 'growing' readers, Hope provides an insight into the many facets of the term in an accessible and illuminating manner.  With contributions from a host of respected illustrators, authors, publishers, graphic designers and other experts, rich and fascinating insights into the creative process are offered. This is a comprehensive guide to visual literacy, looking at a broad range of factors, including in-depth and fascinating explorations of the evolution of picture books, from concept to marketing; current theories and approaches to developing reading ability AND a love of reading; using visuals to create engaging environments for young people, and an extensive glossary. Showing the importance and power of visual literacy and how it enriches and enhances throughout our lives, Seeing Sense is a strong rebuttal to any suggestion that pictures are merely a stepping-stone to, or decortion of, the written word. Perfect for any librarian who has ever had to argue what constitutes a 'proper' book!"
— Amy McKay, CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway co-ordinator, School Library Association Board Member, School Librarian of the Year 2016

"Seeing Sense is a comprehensive and fascinating study of the importance of visual literacy and the power contained in illustrated texts to enrich the reading experience and broaden both perceptions and understanding. It will be equally useful to librarians, teachers and illustration students; many of today’s most talented artists and illustrators have lent their own insights to what is a seminal text on the subject. Having the confidence and discernment to see and feel the multi-layering and integrity of illustration, and to appreciate that there is more to this than the picture books associated with under 5s’ primary reading experience (though these are extremely valuable in themselves), is at the heart of what is also an immersive read and an essential handbook which covers a range of material. From the human eye and aspects of color, to board and tactile books, to the role of illustration in promoting diversity and representation, Seeing Sense has relevance beyond a UK readership and will be invaluable to any professional delivering visual literacy training."
— Alison Brumwell, Chair of Youth Libraries Group, contributor to Reading by Right

Also of Interest: 
Image for Information Systems: Process and Practice
Information Systems: Process and Practice
Image for Classroom Management for School Librarians
Classroom Management for School Librarians
Image for Leading for School Librarians: There Is No Other Option, Second Edition
Leading for School Librarians: There Is No Other Option, Second Edition
Image for Media Smart: Lessons, Tips and Strategies for Librarians, Classroom Instructors and Other Information Professionals
Media Smart: Lessons, Tips and Strategies for Librarians, Classroom Instructors and Other Information Professionals
Image for Becoming a Media Mentor: A Guide for Working with Children and Families — print/e-book Bundle
Becoming a Media Mentor: A Guide for Working with Children and Families — print/e-book Bundle
Image for Becoming a Media Mentor: A Guide for Working with Children and Families — eEditions e-book
Becoming a Media Mentor: A Guide for Working with Children and Families — eEditions e-book
Image for Digital Literacy, Inclusivity and Sustainable Development in Africa
Digital Literacy, Inclusivity and Sustainable Development in Africa
Image for Becoming a Media Mentor: A Guide for Working with Children and Families
Becoming a Media Mentor: A Guide for Working with Children and Families