Note from Josh: This is a guest post by Carlon Haas. Carlon writes about tips and tricks for not screwing up your life and career on his…unique blog Don’t Step In The Poop. Carlon’s talking about one of my favorite subjects: kid’s books. Enjoy!
by Carlon Haas
Why did we ever stop reading children’s books?
I’ve read many books on creativity. But what is more creative than the mind of a child? Studies show that 98% of 5 year olds are creative, whereas only 2% of adults are. So, what can we do to improve our creativity?
Reconnect with the “child mind”. And what’s one way to do that?
Read children’s books
This year, I set a direction rather than a goal. And my direction was creativity. I was looking for a book on creativity. But while on a trip to Toys R Us to buy blocks (for myself…reconnecting with my inner child), I noticed this little gem, Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle.
Most know Carle for The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?
But what drew me to Draw me A Star was that I had never read it as a child. So, I came to it without any preconceived notions and no memories of it from childhood.
A good book stretches the imagination. Eric Carle’s artwork is vivid and bright. You could cut out the pictures and hang them on the wall. The artwork is that striking. In a child’s book.
As to the story, unlike some straightforward children’s books, fairy tales, or fables, Carle’s story leaves room for interpretation.
The book opens with an unknown voice asking a young artist to draw a star. And the artist draws a star. And the star asks him to draw a sun. And the artist draws a sun. And the sun asks him to draw a couple, and so and so on until the story ends with the moon asking the now-aged artist to draw him a star.
The story ends with the star asking the old artist to hold on to him and they travel across the night sky.
My reading of this book is Carle is talking about life and death—the star representing what we created in this world and it is that star we hold onto as we cross over to the unknown night. . I think it is no coincidence that he dedicated this book to his father who died 32 years before this book was written.
You see, as the artist aged there was nothing left but his creations. His legacy was the artwork he left behind. And as the artist and the star flew across the night sky, the creator and the created became one.
I think this applies to us. What we create is what we leave behind. Whether its art, writings, or our children. Our legacy is in our creations.
But where to start? Where does this creativity come from? Creativity starts with something simple. In this book, it’s a star. After reading this book, I drew my own actual star. And after that, I made another outlet for my creativity—my blog. That is my “star”. What is your star?
The story is repetitive, which is Carle’s signature style. This can be boring for the adult reader. But in the end, this is a children’s book. As someone who has written 60 books for young learners, the repetitive style is excellent for reading comprehension. But adults may not find it as pleasing as other children’s books, such as anything written by Dr. Suess.
But in some ways I find this to be a strength. Rather than giving us a narrative to follow, ”Draw Me a Star’s simplicity gives us a theme to ponder.
I recommend “Draw Me a Star”. Frankly, reading this book made me feel more creative than other books I’ve read on the subject of creativity. It will open your eyes to the artist within you.
I think the measure of any book is after reading it, you feel something…you can take something from it. And I did take something from “Draw Me a Star.”
Any book that encompasses imagination, creativity, and the cycle of life is worthy of our time and attention.
About the author:
Afraid you might be screwing up your life? Your career? Well, go visit Carlon over at Don’t Step In The Poop.
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