By Anna Francesca Garcia
Some kids are wiggle-worms. Sitting still just isn’t comfortable for them. They seem to bounce off of the walls! When working with kids like this, what’s a grown-up to do? Putting a book in their hands seems like the least reasonable choice.
Kids learn in different ways. While some children learn best through seeing and others through hearing, still other children learn best by moving (kinesthetic learners) or through touching and feeling (tactile learners). I recently found two books which inspire fantastic activities. To build upon the text by creating art will really make hands-on learners feel that they are in their element.
Dream Something Big: The Story of the Watts Towers by Diana Hutts Aston and illustrated by Susan L. Roth tells the real-life story of incredible recycled-art towers that a man called Uncle Sam erected in Watts, California. The back of the book suggests how kids can design and make miniature replicas using foam, chenille stems, and beads. Paint and stickers also make snazzy additions.
Some kids prefer two-dimensional art to sculpture. My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden's Childhood Journey  written by Jeanne Walker Harvey with illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon features amazing collages that can motivate children to pull out the scissors and glue. To really set the tone for creating art inspired by this book, try playing music in the background. Even Kids Get the Blues by the Re-Bops is a wonderful choice.
By meeting unique youngsters where they are, you can turn wiggle-worms into book-worms. When they are antsy to create more, come back by the library. We can steer you toward project books galore. By the way, if your little ones develop an interest in the culinary arts, this librarian is partial to cookies.
Anna Francesca Garcia earned her Master of Library and Information Sciences Degree from the University of North Texas. She has worked for over seven years in public libraries in Nevada and Missouri. Currently, Anna is the Outreach Education Librarian for the Kansas City Public Library. She enjoys theatre, poetry, and the antics of her four-year-old daughter.