When I opened today’s box of newly released books, I found imagination was a trend among the books. A very powerful book that was released today was written by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison, illustrated by Shadra Strickland. The book is Please, Louise.
I was kind of feeling depressed as I read through the beginning of the book. Louise is sad and lonely in a big world. The sky is gray and it begins to rain. But the narrator begs Louise to look beyond the world. The narrator is suggesting that there’s more waiting for her– beyond the trees, the street, junkyard, and an old house.
And then… Louise steps into the library. The narrator introduces the library as “A shelter from any storm. In this place you are never alone.”
Louise takes the plunge into books, and then the narrator says my favorite line of the whole book,
“Imagination is an open door.
Step in here and let it soar.”
Suddenly, the colors come alive. Louise forgets her fear and sadness. She has found a door to new places- new adventures- new people- new things.
And Louise proudly takes her books home for more.
Imagination is something we as teachers promote and encourage, but sometimes our practices don’t align with that goal in mind. There are good things about sites like Pinterest, but those places also provide many activities which allow little imagination among children.
Cutting out pieces so a child can assemble a cute duck to hang on the wall leaves no room for imagination. When 26 ducks are hanging on the wall and they all look alike because they were all made from the same pieces, how do you tell whose is whose?
We need to provide times, materials, and opportunities for children’s imaginations to soar.
Also included in this book box was an autobiography of sorts by Lois Ehlert.
There is so much to love about this book. Lois Ehlert starts off by saying,
“When I was little, I read all the books on the library shelf, and I thought maybe someday I could make a book.”
Lois says that she was fortunate enough to live with creative parents who worked with her hands- and provided her materials so she could make art. She knew what she was working on wasn’t a book overnight, and another quote I love says,
“Everyone needs time to develop their dreams. An egg in the nest doesn’t become a bird overnight.”
Lois goes on to show us how she finds art in the ordinary. How she uses her imagination to create new things. Everything from crab apples from a tree near her grocery store that she used for a cat’s nose to black locust seedpods that she found in a park that she used as mouse tails.
Lois Ehlert didn’t learn to become a great artist- writer and illustrator- from cookie cutter Pinterest projects. She used her imagination. She let it soar. She read, and read some more- every book on the shelf to be exact.
Another book that was not released today, but is new and was included in my box, is Lou Berger’s Dream Dog. There is no need for me to review this book- Margie has already done so wonderfully at Librarian’s Quest. Please check it out there, and check out this book about a boy who uses his imagination which eventually leads to a dream come true.
Children need so many opportunities to use their imagination. Let them. The best lessons are the ones you can’t plan. Children need it. Let them read. Let them enjoy. Let them soar.