Friday we took a trip to the library, a task we make at least every other week, sometimes more. Between story time and book searching and check out, we spent a good two hours there. I can’t think of too many places I would choose to spend two hours with my children and come out grinning and at peace. The library is my happy place. Imagine a place where you don’t have to say “no” to a child or to yourself. Unless we hit our 50 check out limit (It has been done before!), Caroline, and I, are free to say YES to each and every book that catches our eye. It’s like going on to Amazon, putting ALL OF THE THINGS into the shopping cart, and then entering in a gift card wiping that total down $0.00. It is Christmas morning. For me and for her. And because we just spent a morning saying “YES!” everyoneleaves happy.
My favorite books for children? Oh gracious I couldn’t even begin to list them all. Often it is a cleverly written story combined with stunning illustrations. I could narrow down a few recent favorites, but why limit myself? With the holiday gift giving season approaching, I am sure there are many readers who would love a few suggestions to wrap up for your favorite little person, or add to your own personal library. So I will periodically throw in a few favorite based on a theme. Think of this as my only little Reading Rainbow episode on the blog (which by the way is BACK and I have already conned Caroline into watching. And the song is now in my head all day. Butterfly in the sky...)
Lately, I have found the books that I LOVE reading over and over are the ones that I feel were written just for me. The ones that leave me inspired to channel my inner creative spirit. If I didn’t have a little one in the house, I would still want to put these books on my shelf. There are messages here for creatives of all ages.
Rosie Revere, Engineer - Andrea Beaty
The story of a little girl who is the descendent of her great-great Aunt Rose (Rosie the Reveter), a great engineer of her time and female voice of strength. Little Rosie, much like her Aunt Rose, is inspired to make creative machines from thrown away objects. But when she feels defeated by an invention gone wrong, little Rosie vows to never create again. Her Aunt Rose shares with her a lesson that makes me cry every single time I read the line. “You did it! Hurray! It’s the perfect first try! ...Your brilliant first flop was a raging success! Come on, let’s get busy and on to the next!”
If there is any lesson I hope to leave to my daughter, and to all of God’s children, it is that innovation is only succeeded by trying, again and again and again. She described her mishap not as a failure but as “perfect” and “brilliant.” Creativity is a process, and greatness is achieved by doing. Love every bit of this, and we remind Caroline so often of Rosie Revere and how she had to keep trying. A superb role model.
What Do You Do With an Idea? - Kobi Yamada, Mae Beso
Similar to Dr. Seuss’s tale Oh the Places You Will Go, this is almost a version for the “idea,” as if the alternate title could be Oh the Places Your Idea Will Go. The “idea” is a character in the book and the story shares what becomes of this idea. As the child grows, so does the idea. Amazon and their fantastic ability to say “People also purchased…” triggered me to check out this book after purchasing Rosie Revere. The line that caught my attention was “a story for anyone, at any age, who has ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult…welcome that idea, give it space to grow and see what happens next.” I read this line in August, as I was searching for birthday gifts for Caroline. Meanwhile, if you might remember, I was beginning the process of considering taking steps toward increasing my creative habit with blogging more regularly. Amazon, darn it, you have found me once again. I purchased the book for Caroline, but secretly I just wanted an excuse to read it myself. The story is simple, but the message inspiring. And the illustrations tell the story as much as the words do, which I think is so important for a young child. You can’t help but be swept away by the beauty, especially at the end when something truly great happens. Breathtaking. Tears. Again.
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires and Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg. Both share similar inspiring messages of making something great from something small or mistaken. I have them on hold at our local library, a great way to “try out” books. But I have a feeling these may end up on our personal book shelf to read and indulge in over and over and over again.
Although these books are great for inspiring any age, I have another book review coming up Wednesday about the book that inspired me to first really take a look at my creative direction. This time I’ll call it my Grown Up Book Review. Coming soon…
But first, what are your favorite books for inspiring children, or yourself? Also, what other types of books would you like me to share our favorites from our book shelf? I love to hear ideas! They are all great!