[Featured Image Description: Book cover for ‘The Umbrella‘] All images in this post are book covers from the preceding text.
In this post: Find the best books to inspire hope and imagination in young children (and maybe some grown-ups) through times of turbulence.
We can’t survive without hope
With a constant stream of bad news, never-ending tasks, and so much of the world left in despair, our kids are in danger of losing hope. Let’s not confuse childhood innocence and wonder with ignorance – we still have a responsibility to educate our kids on the realities of the kyriarchy so we can smash it.
But we can’t forget whimsy – or silliness and fun. My kids need to see what is good and possible in the world if they have any chance of building a better future.
It’s up to us to nurture that hope.
Balance lessons both sacred and mundane
To foster big ideas in little minds, we need to see the big picture. I’m a planner – so I have to remind myself to get a little irresponsible. Getting lost in possible obstacles and too much reality squelches great adventure before it sprouts.
All of us – littles and grown-ups alike, need to reserve some sense of wonder. We need room to breathe, imagine, and space in our minds for ridiculousness and whimsy.
Captioned age ranges are for when my sons got ‘the gist’ of the story with discussion & alternative readings – most contain text for much older ages.
Tales inspiring creativity
I though it would be too surreal, but Q loved the power and control ‘My Pen‘ gave the narrator as he created new worlds and alters reality through illustration.
An artist has to explore an idea – how to make it BIG, how to make it deeper, how to give it more meaning and dimension. Otherwise it’s just marks on paper, pixels on a screen, or rubbish on a museum floor. ‘The Dot‘ is art Big Ideas 101 for every artist and innovator.
Following a new path
‘Mr. Flux‘ brings unwelcome change to the neighborhood when he introduces the idea that art isn’t a painted canvas, it’s the exploration of new ideas.
Patience is virtue – until it’s time for Beekle to take matters into his own hands in the ‘Adventures of Beekle.’ With a similar plot (and both stories are about imaginary friends), from another perspective, ‘Marilyn’s Monster‘ is the story of a little girl who takes action when waiting isn’t enough.
‘The Puddle Pail‘ shows us new ways to look at ordinary things, and how a some thought can lead to new creations.
Daydreams of what-ifs
‘If I Ran The Circus‘ explores a little boy’s wildest dreams as he imagines the future of a dilapidated junk-lot. ‘Chalk‘ sparks kids to imagine what could happen if they happen upon a bit of magic. In ‘Flotsam,’ we imagine what fanciful sea creatures do beyond the margins of the shore.
‘The Umbrella‘ is about big adventures sparked by ordinary things. Both ‘Beyond The Pond‘ and the ‘Journey‘ trilogy features kids diving through ordinary portals (doors, ponds, you get the idea) into an fairy tale land of adventure.
Seuss’s ‘The Places You’ll Go’ contains too much metaphor and the text is so long that even patient little readers have a hard time sitting through it. ‘Wherever You Go’ is a modern spin on the old classic that’s even more more engaging and gorgeously illustrated.
In ‘The Whisper,’ a girl finds a magic book with missing words, prompting readers to come up with their own stories. ‘This is Sadie‘ features an imaginative little girl who creates her own adventures with every resource available.
Allegories of sowing hope
‘Sun Bread’ is the perfect winter book to foster hope and community in the darkest, coldest days of winter. In ‘The Curious Garden,’ we see the power of permaculture-as-activism, how one child can start a movement. (Don’t confuse this with ‘The Night Gardener,’ where an orphan runs off with a strange man in the middle of the night – uhh…creepy.)
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We can keep hope and joy alive.
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