Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Books to Inspire Imagination (Happy Birthday, H:)

To my Oldest Son:

You are three.  Three!  It is such a cliche to say "Where did the time go?", but it is so true.  In this short time you have gone from complete dependence to a boy who fiercely desires independence.  You express yourself in clear language, humor, and surprising insights.  You are showing love and protection for your younger brother and you have stories developing in your head...imaginative play.  What a joy to watch you create and develop these stories, involving us in plane travel, having your trains make perilous journeys to the edge of cliffs, and giving us medical check-ups (especially shots to 'make us better'.)

My hope as you enter your fourth year is that you continue to develop your imagination and find ways to share your stories.  I love you!  Mommy

Books that highlight the imagination:

Below (Author/Illustrator: Nina Crews) - This is one of H's favorites.  Jack and his best buddy, Guy (a toy) are always going on adventures.  But one day, they discover a hole in the staircase and only Guy can fit through. Jack begins to worry about what Guy is encountering and decides to begin a rescue operation.  After that, they only go on their adventures together!  Nina Crews' photographs, overlaid with various landscapes and chalk-drawings, bring Jack's imagination to life.

A Quiet Place (Author: Douglas Wood; Illustrator: Dan Andreasen) - I love how this book begins: "Sometimes a person needs a quiet place....But it can be hard to find one.  You have to know where to look."  When the world gets overwhelming, this book offers "quiet place"  suggestions and what you might find there.  Will you discover a lost continent, catch a monster, or be an artist?  This book is a celebration of a child's thoughts, feelings, and imagination.

Weslandia (Author: Paul Fleishchman; Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes) - A boy creates his own civilization during summer break.  Through a bit of fantasy, ingenuity, and a lot of self-reliance, Wesley succeeds in completing a summer project that tops all others!

Imagine a Place (Author: Sarah L. Thomson; Illustrator: Rob Gonsalves) - The exquisite paintings in this book are the highlight.  While the text is a beautiful companion, it is secondary.  The paintings are Escher-like, transitioning from a state of reality to a place of imagination.  Spend time on this book.  Talk about the pictures.  You will create your own stories!
Nothing To Do (Author: Douglas Wood; Illustrator: Wendy Anderson Halperin) - Bored?  Having nothing to do is GREAT!  It is a time to observe, wonder, and create.  I love the ending: "...sometimes, doing nothing is the most important thing in the whole wide world to do."

My Garden (Author/Illustrator: Kevin Henkes) - A little girl helps her mother in the garden and imagines what it would be like to have a garden of her own: flowers that change color, a jelly bean bush, and tomatoes as big as beach balls!

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