We want to do so much to help our children, but life teaches us that their greatest gifts may be the intangible tools they carry inside themselves. Watching them, we see that some are born with a fully-stocked “toolchest” that will aid them on any path they choose. Other children seem to need a little more help, whether in recognizing what was there all along or in developing skills unfamiliar to their natures.
Regardless of how competent children are out of the gate, they can always use a little guidance and support. The following three books gently introduce some pretty big ideas and abstract concepts. They can help to guide more confident children and make other children aware of possibilities they might otherwise overlook. Each of them uses captivating, active illustrations that give life to these notions through metaphorical imagery. An overarching message is that of tapping into our own individual courage, as we might need it in situations that could be labeled either good or bad.
What Do You Do With Idea? explains how ideas are like living things. They need care and attention. They need our advocacy in the face of criticism. An idea, like a person, even needs a little time to flourish into its own wonderful self. This book can help imaginative children and their loved ones foster the wonderful gift of creativity in a world that can be a little harsh on dreamers.
Using the same characters, What Do You Do With a Problem? offers an inspiring way to see challenges, from the everyday to the overwhelming. The storm clouds that chase the main character through the first part of the book are only dissipated when he turns and meets them head-on. Though the language is subtle, the reader can come away with the idea that even hiding from a problem is a choice and that choice does not usually make it go away. What we discover inside is the magic that can surface when we confront our difficulties.
The third title, What Do You Do With a Chance?, ties all these themes together. A chance can look like an idea or a problem, but either way, we can only grow by taking opportunities as they arise. Each book will appeal to children as young as 4, but even children entering the middle grades will find themes that speak to where they are. As adults, it’s wonderful to find ways to bring such things to our children, allowing them to discover all that they might carry in themselves.