Islands to Swim to — The Power of Images in Writing

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A lesson learnt from Jeff Kinney

Once we migrated from children’s books to YA and beyond, books with pictures in them were immediately thrown to the side, discarded as “baby books”. But the world of articles and other online pieces of text follow different rules. Images attract readers, they reel them in, like bait for fish.

December of last year, I attended the Puffin Annual Lecture with Jeff Kinney as the speaker. While there was a lot to take away from the talk, I’m going to focus on my personal favourite — Jeff Kinney’s concept of islands in books. He used the example of his school textbooks to illustrate his point, but that can be extended to articles too.

Jeff talked about how while reading his textbook, he would lose focus very quickly and easily. And there weren’t many pictures either. But there still were some.


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