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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What Do You Do With An Idea? Written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom. Compendium Kids, 2013. $18.95 ages 6 and up

"I kept it to myself. I hid it away and didn't talk about it. I tried to act like everything was the same as it was before my idea showed up. But there was something magical about my idea. I had to admit, I felt better and happier when it was around. It wanted food. It wanted to play. Actually, it wanted a lot of attention."

Ideas are amazing things! They can evoke exhilaration, angst, and even dismissal. There are times when ideas can overpower. There are also times when accepting an idea for what it is, letting it grow and prosper is the very best solution.

In this empowering story, a young boy has an idea. It looks like a golden egg, and it has legs. Days pass, the boy gains confidence in his idea, and the idea seems to prosper because of that. The message is clear to young readers. When you have an idea, give it a place in your heart and the time and space it needs to grow. It's not going to go away!

This beautiful and thoughtful picture book will challenge its readers to be mindful of the creative thoughts that often make themselves known. The boy is not sure about it; in fact, he tries to pretend that it has no place in his world. But, the idea just won't let go. It grows on the boy, and makes him willing enough to share what he is thinking without worrying about what others might think. There are people who don't understand it, who laugh at him for being willing to share his idea. He is not cowed by their opinions:

"And many of them did. They said it was no good. They said it was too weird. They said it was a waste of time and that it would never become anything. And, at first, I believed them. I actually thought about giving up on my idea. I almost listened to them."

He comes to realize that his world will now be much changed without the presence of the idea. It helps him to look at the world from a different perspective, and to enjoy his life more than he has been. Only then does the most amazing thing happen!

This is a book for everyone. For parents and teachers it is a nudge to listen to what kids are saying and sharing, to wonder at the ideas that they are willing to explore and to help appreciate and accept the confidence and growth that comes when we honor those ideas. For the children who read it, I can only hope that it inspires them to share what they are thinking with courage, and trust that it will be accepted for what it is.

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