28 Mar, 2019
As an author and lover of words, I find myself naturally drawn to the literary world, no matter where I am. I read everything that comes into sight. My eyes seem to scan my surroundings, searching for words, constantly.
Signs. Bumper stickers. Ads. Book titles.
So during a recent visit to Barnes & Noble, a book called “Letters To Me, When I Grow Up” caught my eye and I stopped. I picked up the book, opened it, and inside was multiple envelopes with writing prompts intended to get kids writing. How exciting! The first envelope prompted children to write about their bedroom. What a simple task, but imagine the possibilities!
Even with such an easy question, a child’s imagination could run wild. One child might draw a map of his room, while another may describe everything in it – from her bed to the smallest item in her desk. Maybe one uses mostly art to describe how his room looks, and another writes a poem about her how room makes her feel.
Another question inside the book asked children to write down his/her favorite story about themselves (told by their loved ones). This encourages memories and keepsakes and storytelling from one generation to the next.
When I was younger, keeping a journal simply meant writing thoughts and ideas down in a notebook filled with blank pages. Nowadays, with personalized journals available for children, they have no problem filling those pages! When given simple statements such as, “These are my favorite things” or “Here’s what a typical day looks like for me” – and with plenty of room leftover to create pictures – these journals are ways for kids to keep their memories alive and their storytelling abilities honed.
In Reading Is Fun! Imagine That! there is an illustration of a young, blonde-haired boy who has thinking bubbles surrounding his head that read, “What ifs” and “Amazing things” and “New Thoughts.”
Following the image is a story-poem titled “What If,” which is meant to inspire children the same way that “Letters To Me, When I Grow Up” does. The following excerpt from Reading Is Fun! Imagine That! illustrates this:
“Our minds are full of many thoughts, ideas completely new.
I’m sure you have a lot yourself, Imagine That! You DO!
So many grand, amazing things, are stored in every mind.
If only I would ‘tease them out,’ there might be more to find.
How many ‘What Ifs’ have you saved, and kept them in your head?
I wish you’d tell a few of them, and share with me instead.”
I invite you to have your child write on a blank sheet of paper the words “What If” and follow it with anything their imagination can come up with – or find a journal with writing cues that encourages them to do the same. Just imagine what they’ll come up with!
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She would like to see them in all of California’s elementary schools.-Rosaline Turnbull Past President of the California Parent Teacher’s Association
Yours is a comforting voice during a challenging time. Your stories are charming. Each one is uniquely warm and inspiring, and the messages are uplifting for children and parents alike. The books deserve to be in homes across the country — and the world. They remind me of one of my all-time heroes: Mr. Rogers! They are kind, nurturing, and so encouraging.-Tom Soma Former Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities
I think these books are perfect for children. They are colorful, bright, and the illustrations are awesome. I regret there were no such books in my childhood.-Ludmila Levine Chairman of the American English Department
They are fun to read. Both the writings and drawings are original. They are amazing. There are so many things that could be learned. One student commented she was also learning about American culture.-YiLing Chen Taught Women English
practical, playful, serious, affectionate, enigmatic, and varied.-Claudine DeFaye Former Professor
These books are absolutely incredible. An excellent job of inspiring children’s creativity activities.-Mosun Johnston Smith Former Teacher
The detail and care you’ve put in these stories is remarkable. I celebrated the wonderful wisdom those students reflected to me while reading your books.-Andie Cunningham Instructor