The very act of telling a story (or reading one, or listening to one) engages the imagination as almost nothing else can. And so it is that we find ourselves returning again and again to our teeming bookshelves for inspiration, imaginative or otherwise.
Whether for preschool story times or at bedtimes or quiet times at home, here are some of our favorite picks of books that truly inspire a child to think. You'll note that we've included some just for parents, some for the littlest big-thinkers among us, and some for the true big kids in the older kindergarten range.For parents:
Ginger Carlson's Child of Wonder: Nurturing Creative & Naturally Curious Children is our first and often resource for how to celebrate imagination, ours, theirs, a family's.
Amanda Blake Soule's The Creative Family is a gorgeous volume that never fails to increase the project list tenfold.
For younger preschoolers and toddlers:
Who Hops? is such a silly little gem that you'll easily overlook how its open-ended questions and early pattern-making themes actually foster creative thinking (and early math skills) in wee ones.
Who Is Driving? is another one that gets our little ones thinking and figuring out and speaking up for themselves as they answer with their imaginations turned on and up!
For all preschoolers:
Where the Wild Things Are is the standard-bearer of an imagination tale. Sendak understands the contours and edges and safe return of a child's imagination like perhaps no other grown-up.
Harold and the Purple Crayon is the story of imagination itself, and even 50+ years later, we find ourselves inspired again and again.
Moon Plane is a quiet, amazing tale of just how far away a child's imagination can take him (and how lovely the landing back at home is).
For older preschoolers:
Something about the wildness of the tale of In the Night Kitchen, also by Sendak, lends itself a bit more readily to the bigger preschool-types around. And be ready to chant "milk in the batter..." from now on when you reach into the fridge!
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the kind of more detailed, a bit longer, imagination tale that can really get an older preschooler going. The absolute absurdity of the premise, and its delight at being so fantastic, reminds us so much of the tales we hear four- and five-year-olds spin with such ease.
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