Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nonfiction for Teens to Ignite a Creative Spark

After hearing this lecture by Sir Ken Robinson, I began my campaign to share it with the world. In my opinion, the title, DO SCHOOLS KILL CREATIVITY?, should be changed because it appears to be a negative discussion about our schools - but it's not. Sir Ken Robinson is a very smart and entertaining speaker, and all his points about creativity and our kids are exactly what I believe. It takes about 20 minutes to watch this, but you'll be entertained and inspired.
I would love to hear any thoughts in the comments.

To continue this creativity theme, here are some great art books for teens I recently discovered.

200 Projects to Strengthen Your Art Skills: For Aspiring Art Students
Valerie Colston
Barron's Educational Series 2008

Last year on the YALSA listserve, someone asked for recommendations of good books about art for teens and this was one of the books suggested. Always loving a good art book, I had to hunt it down. What a perfect book for teens. I wish I had this book in high school. I had one book on painting and one book on illustration - both very worn out now. 200 Projects is one of the most comprehesive, clear, and concise art books on the market.

Art and Sole
Laurence King Publishers 2008

I gave this book to my extremely "well-soled" 14YO son this year for Christmas. His father thinks my son has way too many shoes but, hey, there could be worse problems. While purchasing this book, I was a little afraid that the book wouldn't cool enough. Ya never know. Well, guess what? Art and Sole was one of my son's favorite gifts this year and the book has earned the "sole book on the nightstand" honor.
(By the way, please don't let it slip to my son that he was mentioned in this post.)

Noah Scalin
Lark Books 2008

I drive through the high school parking lot everyday. Based on that, this book has to be popular with teens. SKULLS is very well done and extremely creative.

I Am Plastic: The Designer Toy Explosion
Paul Budnitz
Harry N. Abrams 2006

Paul Budnitz is the founder and creative director of Kidrobot, the ultimate of what's cool in this house. This book has a broad appeal for teens of many different interests. Toys equal fun!

The Big-Ass Book of Crafts
Mark Montano & Auxy Espinoza
Simon Spotlight Entertainment 2008

What a fun, entertaining book packed with cool crafts! The visual design of the pages work well because they're clean and easy-to-follow. Being a visual person, a page that has a fun, artsy layout helps in the right-brain experience. Oh, and chapter one is titled Artsy Fartsy. Doesn't get any better than that.


Linda Zajac said...

Thanks for pointing out that video. I passed that on to a number of people. I thought it was excellent and very funny. Kids start in elementary school doing many creative projects and that just dwindles as they grow. Teachers have to pack so much curriculum into their day that there is little time left. I'm not so sure you grow out of creativity, but maybe aren't encouraged to pursue it. I'm not so sure about this comment either - if you're not prepared to be wrong you won't come up with anything original. Does originality always mean taking a chance? I like these thought provoking posts.

Mickey Schafer said...

Brilliant talk. I'm sending it to my kids' teachers, although it will be hard for them to do the stuff they imagine for their students b/c of high stakes testing. As a parent, it's very thought-provoking as I struggle to reconcile beliefs about human life in general and unexplored assumptions I find while actually raising kids!

Maria Gianferrari said...

A very moving speech, and important discussion. The arts, sadly, are always the first to go. My husband is a Professor at Brandeis, and they've decided to close the Rose Art Museum because of debt. What kind of message is this sending to its students? Art is expendable. Art is a commodity. As a mother of a child attending a Montessori school, I feel that my daughter's creativity is consistently encouraged, and for that I am grateful.

Unknown said...

Creativity in science is predicated on asking questions. Today's education, with its test-driven curricula is measured by having answers. Kids treat teachers like answer-givers. And what happens after they have an answer? They stop asking questions. It's also a an easy way for teachers to get on with the day, instead of truly examining a question and making a kid think about it. A steady diet of quick answers shuts down the ability to inquire. Recently I was told a story about Rabi, the Nobel Prize-winner in physics. He said that every day, when he came nome from school, his mother asked him, "What good question did you ask today?

BookChook said...

Thank you Anna. I loved the video. It was refreshing to hear such an important message delivered so entertainingly.

Mrs. Pilkington said...

Thanks so much for this -- I am definitely passing it on. I loved his points about making mistakes and being prepared to be wrong.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that my school is not closing down art department, but we are lacking behind in creativity. We are encouraged to take many classes but no one ever says, "oh you should take Painting1"... I am 16 but i love art, i enjoy seeing bright colors in front of me. Believe it or not it actually gets me out of a sad mood. I love thinking up ideas, but the thing i have so much school work and stress from school i barely have enough time. I am not complaining that i have too much homework. I am saying people care more about what you put out there, rather than whats on your mind.