Boxes: Springboard Creativity and Connection

Boxes: Springboard to Creativity and connection

Play is an integral element in building family relationships and attachment. Through unstructured creative play, kids tap into inner resources and thoughts; often they unconsciously reveal concerns and beliefs. That’s why I love books that join creativity and play with reading.  I’m particularly fond of books featuring boxes as a theme. Boxes springboard creativity and connection.

A box invites imaginations to soar. We’ve all watched kids opt to play with the box in preference to a gift because kids have an instinctual drive to create and fantasize. Check out this collection of books about boxes. They just may help you have fun together. Or, equally important, they may reveal thoughts and feelings they find difficult to express and share. These books invite conversation and fun. 

In brief and jaunty rhyming text  Boxes: Springboard to Creativity and connectionWhat to Do with a Box by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Chris Sheban declares, “A box is a wonder indeed. The only such magic that you’ll ever need.” The dreamy illustrations serve the theme well. Sheban draws the box with all the labels and markings still visible. Instead of limiting the fantasy element, this design choice reinforces the power of imagination to see beyond what is “real” and connect with what is possible.

Whether launching on a solo journey or sharing the box’s magical potential, an empty box dares us to dream and rocket into a flight of fantasy.

 

Adoption-attuned Lens Adoptees have intimate experience with imagining alternate worlds. Click To Tweet They wonder what life might have been like had they not been adopted, or if they’d been adopted by a different family. A book like this invites kids and parents to share a box–and the fantasy it triggers. While journeying together, parents may be amazed at the variety of topics kids will explore. Let them take the lead and remain alert for seeds that can open adoption-connected conversations.

Boxes: Springboard to Creativity and connection A Box Can Be Many Things by Dana Meachen Rau and Illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye is part of the Rookie Reader Series which means it uses simple language. (Includes a list or 51 words.) It captures the same exuberant imaginative spirit paired with bright illustrations.

Beginning readers will love the story line and the ability to read it themselves. Not only will this book spark their own flights of fancy, but it will also help build their reading skills. That’s a nice bonus!

 

 

Adoption-attuned Lens This book delivers a similar opportunity for adoptive families as the previous one.  Parents can also suggest that they imagine the box as a time-traveling machine. Imagine the places and people that children might fantasize about visiting. As always, allow children to take the lead on any conversation that touches on “big stuff.” As parents we must ensure that kids know their questions and thoughts are welcomed but we must not force them into having them on our timeline.

Boxes: Springboard to Creativity and connection

How Dalia Put a Big Yellow Comforter inside a Tiny Blue Box by Linda Heller illustrated by Stacey Dressen McQueen takes a different spin on helping kids to realize the power of a box. This book comes from the PJ Library which “helps families explore the timeless values of Judaism.” 

The story describes the Jewish practice of creating tzedakah boxes. The name means “I’m happy when you’re happy.”  The actual translation is “fairness.”Children are encouraged to construct and decorate a box and then work to fill it with coins (or bills.). The money is then used to fund acts of charity and/or social justice.

Dalia tells her little brother that her tiny box holds a comforter, a butterfly bush and a cream pie. Brother  is little but can easily see the box is too small to hold all these things. He decides Dalia’s box is magic.

Everyone in Dalia’s class makes their own  tzedakah  and works to find ways to earn money to fill them. Once they’ve collected enough, they buy the yellow comforter fabric and then decorate it themselves. The story concludes with the children presenting the blanket to an elderly woman. She is overjoyed by their generosity and artistry and appreciates the flowers the children plant in her garden. Mostly she enjoys their companionship. The children discover the real magic of the box is how it elicits their generosity and empathy.

Adoption-attuned Lens Some kids have a strong natural inclination to kindness and generosity. This book is a great fit for them. And, some children especially those adopted from foster care, may have a profound awareness of the needs and struggles of others (their birth families, perhaps, or neighbors, etc.) These children may enjoy the idea of performing acts of kindness and generosity.

This activity may open some important and sensitive feelings. Stay alert for hints that kids wish… Click To Tweet

box metaphorIf this post intrigued you, please also read  Boxing Kids In  another book review blog post on boxes.

Being Family–Nuclear and World

On the heels of Mother’s Day we review books that expand our understanding of what it means to be part of a family and that validate the spectrum of family constellations in our children’s world.

The Family Book .51eLY1EkfZL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_ The Family Book  written and illustrated by Todd Parr with his signature bold style and brevity, captures the variety and importance of family. His illustrations include diverse “races” (pink, blues, yellow, green, etc.), numbers, and configurations–including single parents as well as same-gender parents. The colorful illustrations catch the eye, hold the reader’s attention and affirm the idea that family is about love and connection.

 

 

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 AQ Lens: For adopted children this book can offer a way of discussing differences like race and/or family composition in an abstract way: pink, green and blue people which offers an insulating layer that may make it feel less “personal” and those “safer” to explore. #AAQ

 

Who We Are. 61AGqwNYmoL._SX451_BO1,204,203,200_Who We Are by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott, is subtitled: All about Being the Same and Being Different, is straightforward in its efforts to validate diversity in individuals and in their families. It goes into greater detail than Parr’s The Family Book and is appropriate for a slightly older reader. Using the concept of visiting “Funland” as a logical place to encounter an array families, Who We Are focuses on the commonalities that we share and still affirms that each of us is unique.

The illustrations are broadly inclusive in terms of ethnicity, race, ability, family constellation and body type and activity preferences. The text describes how sometimes differences can make us hesitate or be afraid of people who differ from us in some way. It explains how melanin influences eye, hair and skin color and then reassures readers by highlighting the commonalities of fundamental humanity that we share.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 AQ Lens: For adopted children this book can offer an easy opening to discussing race as well as the many ways in which children can be both different and similar to their adopted families–and/or their birth families if they have an open adoption or knowledge of their birth information. The tone of the book is both affirming and supportive. #AAQ Kids can be both different & similar to both their families--adopted & birth. Click To Tweet

 

All the World.51vxq61dL0L._SY478_BO1,204,203,200_All the World  is written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Marla Frazee, strives to picture the universals that all people and families share: family love, the pleasure of play–and its variety, parental nurturing, etc.  The book repeats the refrain: “All the world is …” then the detailed illustrations capture many ways in which each concept is embodied. The vignettes overflow with examples of variety; we see types of cars, boats, gardens, byways, weather, foods, etc. There’s truly something for everyone. The delicate rhymes conclude: Hope and peace and love and trust/ All the world is all of us.” Children will appreciate that the world surrounds us and is within ourselves as well.

I predict that this moody book will be one which readers will select from their shelves again and again.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 AQ Lens: adopted children this book can offer a chance to see diversity in a larger swath because the double spread illustrations depict many ways of seeing or experiencing a concept. Instead of seeing difference in an isolated moment or single example, it is seen as part of a complex fabric that holds the varying elements of the spectrum simultaneously.#AAQ Lens

 

Here Is the Baby here is the baby.51Vrd+LHFnL._SX436_BO1,204,203,200_ I predict that this moody book will be one which readers will select from their shelves again and again.by Polly Kanevsky follows a baby throughout his day. Readers travel with him from Mama retrieving him from his crib until she eases him down for his evening’s rest. During baby’s busy day, his parents and sibling, feed, care for and play with him. Clearly he is a well-loved and nurtured child.

Daddy is the one who walks sister to school, strolls baby around the neighborhood and brings him to the library for story time and plays with him at the park. This is a welcome depiction of hands-on fathering!

Although the family is Caucasian, some limited diversity is represented in the characters who appear in the background.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 AQ LensFor adopted children this book shows both parents as involved caretakers. though the story depicts a two-parent family, much of the story shows Dad doing the parenting. This may help it appeal to families that have only a father (or fathers). #AAQ Lens