In the last year or so there has been an explosion of picture books that encourage young readers to imagine and dream. This is a niche that I just can’t get enough of. As an upper elementary school teacher, I work with students ages 9-11, who are experts at being in school and knowing how to navigate the day and what is expected of them. It is only now that I have a one-year old daughter, and I see how much she learns through hands-on exploration and being genuinely wonder about things, that I start to ask, “How do we hold on to imagination and curiosity in kids as they get older and begin to navigate school and the education system?”
Imagine That! by Yasmeen Ismail is a terrific book about the imagination of childhood. Lila’s mother is preparing for a visit to Grandpa’s house. Little Lila seems very distracted, in reality she is very busy quietly imagining the different adventures.
For example, instead of putting on her shoes, she’s struggling to tame the fearsome octopus so that it will become her faithful pet. The contrast between what the mother bear sees, and what Lila imagines is portrayed by flawless watercolors. In the everyday version, the story is set in realistic setting, and Lila fumbles with her shoes under a table. The text consists of simple dialogue and short answers. In the pages that represent Lila’s imagination, color is everywhere, the text is written in delightful rhyme, and even the font dances across the pages.
The mother bear remains unaware of what Lila is actually doing. She is focused on getting her daughter safely to meet Grandpa.
It is Grandpa who takes the time to notice and ask Lila what she is doing. Though imagining alone is fun, having opportunities to be creative and involve others is even better.Will she find a companion to imagine along with?
Imagine That! is a great picture book for encouraging young children to imagine and playful. The energy and excitement are contagious. It teaches grown ups to also be aware of the power of imagination and to leave room for it despite our tendencies to want to remain on a schedule.
Click here to purchase a copy of Imagine That! (affiliate link).
*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.