what books mean to me.

My son’s elementary school is holding a bookmark designing contest. One child in each cycle will win a 10$ gift certificate from our local Babar Books.

There are two rules: 1. the design can only be in black and white. 2. That the design be somehow related to books, libraries, reading, etc.

My 7-year-old was lost. Seeing he was just getting frustrated, I decided to draw my own, hoping to inspire. Here’s what came:

An open book, with wiggles that looked like waves across the page for text. Out of the book was a creature jumping. Under the open book was a bed, and under the bed at the very bottom of the page was a setting sun with rays penetrating upwards. On top of the book I drew a heart, a cloud, and some sort of mythical creature. Then I drew a moon and some stars. At the very top corner in the left I drew a swing with a stick child swinging through the cloud and heart and creature. Then I added branches that descended and falling leaves that landed under the bed. The leaves turned into music notes and floated away.

It’s all about the imagination, I told my kids, the imagination books draw out of us. When we read a story, we each see it differently.

What this? I asked pointing to the creature jumping out of the book / water.

A mermaid, said the 4-year-old.

A dolphin, said the 7-year-old.

The baby did not answer 🙂

That is why I drew things that can look like one thing, or another, depending on who’s looking, I said. And it can change each time we look at it as well.

My 7-year-old drew monsters and people, of all sorts and shapes and sizes. He didn’t use this as his final product, he went with something much more cautious (the word BOOKS, and stick figures around it). My 4 year old drew exactly what I drew.

Books give imagination life, and let it loose. Writing, to me, is just and extension of that. When I am editing, I can get caught up in the logistics of things. I can forget that a line is perfect when it ignites one of our 5 (or 6) senses, not when everything is in it’s place. Sometimes everything has to be out of place to turn an idea into something tangible. Something that we can each hold in our own unique way.

Note: Cathryn Grant, will be visiting this blog Friday January 18th, followed by Teresa Frohock on Friday January 25th.

14 thoughts on “what books mean to me.

  1. I could not agree more to the things sometimes having to be out of place or not just quite correct to be tangible. Earnest Hemmingway was with the Kansas City Star when he learned his first and most valuable lesson about writing. His editor told him “You can write backwards if that makes more interesting.”

    Great post. Thought provoking. I love it.


    1. Thanks, Jonathan! So many things can slip by when by writing, but I like to remember that it’s all about the magic of creation. If that’s lost then the rest of it is just blah.

    1. Linda, my husband grew up without literature and he still doesn’t read. How sad it makes me.

      You know, I can’t even find that little scrap piece of paper anymore….I guess we’ll have to imaginen one. lol

      1. My husband didn’t grow up reading either. I’ve tried to share with him why I think reading is so marvelous, but he says he just doesn’t enjoy it. I think that’s because he can’t see the “movie” in his head as he reads.

        I’ve always been envious of writers who say their spouse is their beta reader. 😦

  2. I like your new blog design, Jennifer. And the guest posts are a great idea. I’m looking forward to the second and third in the series.

    It would be nice to see a photo of your family’s bookmarks! The competition sounds like a really fun and imaginitive way of getting kids to think about what books meant to them.

    1. Thanks, Laura!
      Third request to see those bookmarks. I’ll see if I can find them…we were just doodling really, so I might have tossed them. The artwork in this house piles up and I’ve kind of gotten into the habit of recycling most of it.

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