Tag Archives: creativity

Down Here

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Down Here
by Valerie Sherrard, illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant
Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2015

Jamie can build anything, but while his brother and sister get compliments for their talents, Jamie only gets, “Look at this mess.”  Inside Jamie’s latest creation he rockets to the moon, builds a tricky maze no one can enter and invites his dragon to roast marshmallows, but his mother calls it, “Chaos!  Pandemonium!”  Jamie climbs a table to see what his mother sees and realizes from up high it really is a mess.  Then he gets an idea and invites her “Down here” to see what he sees.  Reluctantly she bends over and looks, then sits down as her eyes get bigger and bigger.  What does she see?  Jamie, a creative hero, figures out himself how to change his world to get the outcome he craves.  An empowering tale for young, creative spirits.

Illustrator Isabelle Malenfant mixes mediums to create a poetic and sensitive portrayal of Jamie’s world.

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Stanza

Stanza
By Jill Esbaum, Illustrated by Jack E. Davis
Harcourt Children’s Books, 2009

Stanza is a great book that shows how street bullies learn to shed their “tough skins” and accept recognition for their “sensitive” talents.  Written in rhyme, it’s a fun, well-developed story.  Creativity and life—expressed in both words and illustrations—jump from each page.  Stanza is a pleasure to read.

Stanza, the youngest of three boys, makes himself out to be a bully to earn the recognition of this two older brothers, but at night his sensitive side wins out and he writes poems—in secret.  He knows full well, that if his brother ever found out, it would be the end of him.

One day Snapper Foods announces a jingle-writing contest and Stanza enters.  In secret, he waits for the results.  He only wins second place—but now his brothers know his secret.  Like he knew they would, his brother ridicule and torture him unmercifully—until…  Snapper Foods delivers a year’s supply of Chicken Pot Pie flavored Snappers.  Immediately the brothers respect their “genius”, “rhyming magician” brother.  Stanza agrees to share the winnings on one condition. The result is the brothers share their artistic and musical talents at a neighborhood show.

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