Tag Archives: imagination

The Creative Life

22 Jun

When thinking about creativity and creative people we often think of artists, musicians, or inventors. But really, when you get right down to it, we are ALL creative beings.  Merriam-Webster defines creative as ‘the ability or power to create’, and create as ‘to bring into existence something new’ and ‘to produce through imaginative skill’. Everyone from the boardroom to the maintenance room has the ability to create something new through imaginative skill at work and at home.

Children do this instinctively. Given an empty box, a child will create a whole new world, a new mode of transportation, a home for imaginary animals, or quiet place for contemplation.

French sculpture, painter, and pioneer of modern art, Henri Matisse defined creative people with these words:

What-are-creative-people-like

As writers, illustrators, publishers, and more we are well aware of the power of imagination and the creative souls of individuals. We make it our business to provide, enhance, nurture, model, and shape new ideas.

Today, I’m taking Matisse’s words to heart. Working on a new story idea, I need to be all these things (and more).

What do you need to reach your goals?

 

 

Ninja!

8 Jul

18490605Ninja! written and illustrated by Arree Chung (2014)

Maxwell is a ninja! He ties one of his father’s neckties around his head and gets silent ninja footwear, a ninja stick (pool stick), sticky ninja gloves (rubber dishpan gloves), a ninja rope (jumprope) and a ninja paddle (toy paddleball). Properly dressed, Maxwell sneaks out find his target (napping father) and executes a perfect ninja surprise! His next mission is to capture cookies and milk from his little sister. But he is dishonored when his little sister tries leaping from the chair to the countertop and falls on her bottom releasing a blood curdling scream that only little sister can manage. His only recourse is to teach his baby sister the way of the ninja!

Arree Chung delivers a ninja perfect picture book. There is action, comedy, and suspense in the antics of Maxwell the ninja. His illustrations draw the reader directly into the story with detailed sub-blocks of ninja activity.

I can totally see any ninja-wannabe falling head over heels for this book. Its fast-paced imaginative play makes the reader feel like they are right there with Maxwell, sharing in his triumphs, defeat, and ultimate resurgence.

Here is a little book trailer for your enjoyment… tell me you can watch this and not want to rush right out and get the book!

Going Places

23 Jun

17684972Going Places written and illustrated by Peter and Paul Reynolds (2014)

It’s time for the annual Going Places contest and Rafael was determined to win. Each student was given a kit to build a go-cart with instructions inside. But Rafael’s friend Maya was not one to follow directions like everyone else. Maya had her own ideas. And together Rafael and Maya build much more than a go-cart, they build a go-cart with wings! Despite a little teasing from the other kids who have all built the exact same replica of the go-cart on the box, Rafael and Maya take off and soon zoom over their friends’ heads, landing far in front of them and roll past the finish line in first place. The crowd cheers, but instead of waiting for their prize Rafael and Maya are already thinking of modifications to their go-cart to make a frog-jumping under-water swimming machine.

Peter and Paul Reynolds are twin brothers who credit their 10th grade social studies teacher who dared them to have original ideas. Together, like Rafael and Maya, they dared to be different and wrote a story about friendship and original thinking.

Paul Reynolds illustrated the book with precision to detail and with creativity, the perfect blend for the story.

I enjoyed reading the story and watching the transformation of thought from being identical to being unique. It makes me wonder how much the authors are identical and unique at the same time. But what I really liked about the story is the journey from the desire to win the race to the desire to be creative. I liked that the book did not end with prizes and ribbons, balloons and streamers, high-fives and fist-bumps. I like that it ended with the prospect of another project. The reward is actually the process and the dream. Way to go!

When a Dragon Moves In

20 May

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When a Dragon Moves In written by Jodi Moore and illustrated by Howard McWilliam (2011)

This is an imaginative story of a young boy and his dragon. As he tells us the story, the narrator guides the reader down the path of possibilities. It all begins with building the perfect sandcastle, because ‘If you build a perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in.’ This of course has its advantages… the dragon will undoubtably be an asset on the beach. However, the downside is that your family is unlikely to believe you. The more they ignore your dragon, the more mayhem the dragon causes, and the more trouble you will be in until your parents insist that they’ve ‘had enough of this dragon business’. So you ‘vow never to build a perfect sandcastle again’ until tomorrow!

This is Jodi Moore’s debut picture book, but not her last. As a matter of fact, her second book When a Dragon Moves In Again is scheduled for release in the fall 2015. Jodi Moore’s lyrical language and magical story will have you wishing you had your own dragon adventure this summer.

The illustrations by Howard McWilliam are enchanting. There’s no place you’d rather be than on the beach with a dragon while reading this story, and Howard McWilliam makes sure you are transported there instantaneously. Every little detail is perfectly placed for a fun-filled day at the beach.

My advice… pick up a copy today and take a mini-vacation with your little readers. I guarantee you’ll love it and I’m pretty sure you’ll be tempted to build your own sandcastle, even if it’s just in a sandbox, because you know ‘if you build a perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in’.

Note about me: I adore the beach! And my husband, who is an artist with sand can spend hours creating sculptures in the sand. While I’m busy trying to read or watch the people go by, he is attracting a crowd with his artwork. Here’s a photo of one of his sculptures, a little more crocodile than dragon, but it’s the closest I could find to one that matches the book selection today.

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