With the beginning of a new school year upon us, teachers around the country are making plans for a year that is sure to be filled with challenges. But right now, we aren’t thinking about those hurdles. We’re thinking about possibilities. Teachers are pros at seeing the possibilities and potential in children. We are tireless in our effort to find ways to bring out the very best in our students. One of the most important ways we do this is by sharing books that help our students see the possibilities and potential within themselves.
Artist and writer Debbie Millman recently told graduates at San Jose State University that success has nothing to do with luck. Rather, “it is really all about the strength of IMAGINATION.” This is an important message for students of all ages. Last week I came across several picture books that can help our students understand the importance of keeping their imaginations open to the wonders and possibilities all around them.
Journey (Candlewick Press, 2013) by Aaron Becker is a stunning book. It will remind readers of Harold and the Purple Crayon immediately, but Becker’s full color illustrations give this book a magical quality. There is an exotic mysteriousness to Journey that will lead to many questions and rich discussions about just exactly where the girl with the red crayon has gone. If you haven’t seen this book yet, the trailer will give you an idea of the riches within.
Jesse Klausmeier’s Open This Little Book (Chronicle Books, 2013; illustrated by Suzy Lee) is a book I would have adored when I was little. This is a book within a book within a book and so on. The story follows one pattern to the middle of the book, then follows another pattern to the next to the last page, when the pattern changes and readers are rewarded with Lee’s charming illustration depicting the endless possibilities in books. The cover of each little book hints at the animal featured within. This is just one of the clever details that will have young readers examining the illustrations over and over again.
If you want to see a whale (A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Book Press, 2013; illustrated by Erin E. Stead) by Julie Fogliano is a lovely, quiet book. According to Fogliano, in order to see a whale, “you will need…time for waiting and time for looking and time for wondering…” This is an important reminder to children (and their parents!) in today’s busy world.
Yesterday, Donalyn Miller asked readers of the Nerdy Book Club blog what books they were looking forward to sharing with students this year. These are three titles I will be sharing with children again and again to encourage them to unleash the power of their imaginations.