Off-Campus Hollins Users:
To access this document, please click here to log in to our proxy server with your campus network user name/password (the same one you use to log into the campus network and your e-mail).

Year of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

MFA: Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating

Directing Professor

Ashley Wolff



This thesis reviews my experiences in learning about picture books from the perspective of an undergraduate English literature major, a Ph.D. in experimental psychology, and aseventy-five-year-old grandmother. I respond to Iain McGilchrist’s The Master and the Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World. Importantly, he warns of the dangers of the left hemisphere of the brain becoming dominant over the right hemisphere. I posit that picture books contribute to the development of essential right hemisphere abilities in children in a number of ways and thus contribute to the rebalancing of the two hemispheres. I discuss how picture books help children develop the right hemisphere skills of reading the human face, of sustaining vigilant attention to the world, and of developing empathy. I also suggest that by focusing on certain points within a reader’s field of vision, the two hemispheres work together to read the generally left to right forward motion in a spread and its possible meaning for the story. With this research, I reinforce the importance of picture books as essential to a child’s cognitive development and for the future of our world.