Thursday, April 3, 2008

Books to Ignite a Creative Spark

Monday and Tuesday, in our nation's capital, the 21st Annual Arts Advocacy Day was held. Dan Pink, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, had the honor of being the guest speaker for the Nancy Hanks Lecture in the Concert Hall of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. What an honor!
I reviewed A Whole New Mind on my blog last November and finally met Dan and heard him speak here in Chicago last month. If you ever get a chance, do not hesitate to attend one of his lectures. If you are not already, you will become a strong supporter of Art Education in the schools... it all makes sense.

Here's a quote from the book:
"The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind---creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers. These people--artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers---will now reap society's richest rewards and share its greatest joys." (p.1)

Combining reading (left-brain) and art (right-brain) is a perfect pairing.
Did you know that there is research that proves kids start to lose their creativity in the fourth grade?

How about some books to ignite even a small creative spark in a child?
How about some books to get those right-brain muscles energized?

Here are just of few of my favorites:

Exercise For the Brain

How Bright Is Your Brain?
Amazing Games to Play With Your Mind
Michael DiSpezio (author)
Catherine Leary (illustrator)
Sterling 2006

Everything you would want to know about the brain, nerves, and senses are in this book. It's fun, entertaining, and well-organized with bright graphics and a layout that my right-brain loved. There are even sections on Breaking Rules In Creativity, Finding Creativity, and Dreams.
Did you know that Beethoven, before he sat down to write music, dumped ice water on his head? How cool is that?

The Imagineering Way: Ideas to Ignite Your Creativity
The Imagineers
Disney Editions 2003

The Imagineering Workout: Exercises to Shape Your Creative Muscles
The Imagineers

Disney Editions 2005

I found the first book of this series at The Writer's Stop (a bookstore tucked away at Disney World MGM). Yes, the same trip that I found Looking at Paintings, from my first I.N.K. post. While my family goes on the rides, I wander the parks. Finding that amazing coffee
shop and those books were the highlight of my trip.
The imagination at Disney is legendary and these two books, told through short essays by 50 or so team members, are even creative in how they address and foster their creativity! Each story is fun, different, and enlightening. Elementary students to adults will come away thinking in a whole new way.

KidChat Gone Wild!: 202 Creative Questions to
Unleash the Imagination
Brett Nicholas
Roaring Brook Press 2007

KidChat is a fabulous series of books for parents, teachers, and kids with questions to spark some very imaginative discussions. Two more books in the series are coming out in May 2008.

Sparks Ignite!
Reading about inventors and inventions show students their ideas matter. Below are two very well-written general nonfiction books to get kids thinking. I will leave for another post some other fantastic books on ideas and inventors. (And, there are several great books on women inventors and toy inventing, which I hope to blog about in the future.)

So You Want To Be An Inventor?
Judith St. George (Author)
David Small (Illustrator)
Puffin 2005
Ages 4-8

"If you want to be an inventor, find a need and fill it."
"If you want to be an inventor, be a dreamer."
"If you want to be an inventor, keep your eyes open."
"If you want to be an inventor, you have to be as stubborn as a bulldog."
And my personal favorite very sage advice,
"Inventors aren't all men!" (Their exclamation point, not mine.)
Power to all kids to be creative!

Kids Inventing! A Handbook for Young Inventors
Susan Casey
Jossey-Bass 2005
Ages 9-12

Written for a slightly older child, this book not only introduces kids to kid inventors but shows them how to come up with ideas and develop them.
Every step of the idea creation and development process is explained, adding encouragement along the way.

Side note:
Just to clarify, I'm both left and right-handed so I didn't intentionally set out to alienate the left-brained, right-handed community.
And, in my other life, I'm a toy inventor with several patents and awards, so I truly enjoy reading these books. I hope you will, too.


jama said...

Ambidextrous? No wonder you're so creative! Thanks for this wonderful list. I love "inventors aren't all men!"

Tanya Lee Stone said...

Great information, thanks Anna!

Kim / POWER OF RUN said...

Another fab post! What great book recommendations!

Olugbemisola (Mrs.Pilkington) said...

These sounds great! Another fantastic book that's slightly different, but related, is The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connection, by Amanda Blake Soule

Olugbemisola (Mrs.Pilkington) said...

Another somewhat related title by a wonderful author and creator, (maybe more for adults and older children) is 52 Projects: Random Acts of Everyday Creativity, by Jeffrey Yamaguchi.