Holly Valentine | January 2022
C.A.T.C.H. a Spark!
A new year, a blank page, a chance to start fresh. It’s such an invitation for creativity, but also intimidating. No one wants to put the wrong mark on that clean page in front of them. A new year is like opening the first page of a 365 page book. It’s just waiting for you to be the author! How will your story unfold and be illustrated at the end of the year? Here are some books to inspire you, with strong characters and artwork. They’ll lead us to find our own magic and creativity for the year that lies ahead.
I Have an Idea
Blank pages and ideas. How do we find them, how do we recognize them? It’s a big scavenger hunt, and one that can be filled with magic and creativity if you open your mind to it. This is a book filled with playfulness and imagination. Readers of all ages will be determined to recognize the hidden ideas all around them. (They’ll realize it isn’t always easy!) But while it may not be easy… the feeling when you succeed is incomparable. Consider using this book before launching into new units or projects. Or simply as a way to spark creativity and inspiration in students. Written by Herve Tullet.
It Began With a Page
A new year is itself a blank page, yet the blank page can be so intimidating. Blank pages let us dream big… which is exactly what illustrator Gyo Fujisawa did, growing up in a time of war and darkness. Despite the adversity she faced, she was raised by strong women. Strong women who believed in hope and diversity as the strength that would allow for a world that could be strong and united. Is there a stronger parallel to the world we are living in today? Representation is important and always will be. This heartwarming story includes extensive timelines and photos of Gyo at the end of the story. It will empower all students and remind us that all are welcome. Written by Kyo Maclear.
The Stars of Whistling Ridge
Sometimes, you read a story that just seems to fit at the right moment. The Stars of Whistling Ridge is one of those books, that brings with it so many more layers of meaning when you look at it through the lens of world events of 2021-2022. There is a darkness that has settled in Whistling Ridge. Ivy’s mother and aunts, fallen stars themselves, set out to heal the town by tending to its magic – or lack of. Author Cindy Baldwin’s website states her books are “stories with a little magic and a lot of heart”. This is certainly true with Ivy’s story.
A perfect book to have older readers dive into at the start of a new year: a time when we all think about the wishes we have lying in front of us and a sense of hope in making them come true. Yet there is always a little piece of reality and sometimes darkness of the past that lingers behind. Ivy and her journey will stay with readers long after the last page. Written by Cindy Baldwin
Mornings With Monet
Like a quiet, January day with freshly fallen snow, mornings have a special way of inspiring creativity. That quietness, the fleeting moment and energy is captured in this powerful story. Filled with numerous life lessons for ALL ages, we delve into the world of Monet. A world where we are inspired by his extreme passion and life for his work. This is a perfect book to inspire artists of all ages, and within all art forms, while paying tribute to the masters that came before. Spending just 10 minutes every morning, capturing the moment in front of you… What a wonderful way to start the new year for yourself and your learners. Written by Barb Rosenstock
Starboy: Inspired by the Life and Lyrics of David Bowie
There is no better time than the start of a new year to recognize your individuality and celebrate it, rather than keeping it hidden in shadows, which so many often do. This book is a tribute to individuality, creativity and self-expression, along with the understanding that it will radiate and bring joy to all those around you. There is a rhythm and music inside all of us, special and unique. Find your song and create it. Inspired by the life and lyrics of David Bowie, there is a powerful note from the author at the end that reminds readers that even the most celebrated have travelled difficult roads in their lives, but listening to their own rhythm and following it is what gets them through the hard times. Written by Jami Gigot
Childhood friendships are magic and we never outgrow them. There is a loyalty, a whimsy and a sense of belonging that come with them, staying with us forever. Years can go by and they pick right back up, as evidenced by the sweet – though mysterious – friendship of Livy and Bob. Readers will be hooked to know the basis and origins of their friendship no matter whether reading independently or listening to the story. Wrap yourself up in friendship, and remember your fondest childhood loyalties as you read and share this book with students. Written by Wendy Mass, Nicholas Gannon.
Breathe deeply, pick up the pen, the marker, the crayon and the book. Begin writing a rich chapter for this new year in your life. Be inspired and keep your eyes open. Why? So you can catch the sparks that fly all around you.
Don’t be left in the dark – check out the previously published CATCH a Spark series!