Imagine That: Books that Inspire Imagination

The youth have a hold on some of the most lively and energetic imaginations, so it's only right that children's books should reflect that same enthusiasm. No matter the subject at hand, children's books not only seek to teach, but value change, wonder, and dreams. Below are a few hand picked selections of titles that just might insight, explore, and inspire imagination.

Rules of Summer
By Shaun Tan

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan, is a simple, yet amazingly grand and eloquent story about two brothers and a summer they’ll never forget. First, to enjoy summer you have to follow the rules. Fortunately big brother knows all of the rules: Don’t leave a red sock on the clothes line, don’t eat the last black olive, never forget the password. But if your older brother is making all of the rules, no matter how absurd,when will you finally get to enjoy summer? A relationship will be tested and the story is told beautifully through its layout and approach. The clean, repetitive phrasing mixes with fantastical, darkly themed illustrations more breath taking than the last. This story makes for some truly inspiring imagination.

The Nowhere Box
By Sam Zuppardi

George’s younger brothers cannot stop being nuisances. Everywhere George goes, his brothers need to follow and cause chaos! But when a giant cardboard box from the new washing machine is left around, George decides it’s time for him to go to a place where he can be alone. With the addition of some drawn buttons and levers, George is whisked off to a land of emptiness. George then pours out of his Nowhere Box a slew of fun and exciting things - roller coasters, pirate ships, George has it all! But what fun is your Nowhere Box if you don’t have any pirate enemies or someone to ride the coaster with? George realizes that he knows just where to find great pirate enemies, and possibly good dragons too! George sets a course for home to show his brothers that nowhere can be fun too! The Nowhere Box by Max Zuppardi is not only a great book about developing a strong imagination, but also about playing nice with your siblings.

Zoe's Jungle
By Bethanie Deeney Murguia

Zoe is an explorer like no other! At least, that's what she imagines when she is playing at the neighborhood playground with her sister. Zoe is on the hunt for the mysterious and wild Addiebeast (named respectfully and imaginatively after her younger sister)! Zoe and Addie's mom tells them it's time to leave, but Zoe has one last quest up her adventurous sleeve! Through the jungle the relentless explorer climbs trees and sneaks through dense underbrush hoping to locate her career-defining discovery! Will Zoe ever catch her Addiebeast? You'll have to read to find out! Zoe's Jungle represents the epitome of youth playtime, by using limited and realistic resources to make an embarking discovery and to have a good time adventure. A great book for learning to look at surroundings in a different way and learning to incorporate elements for positive play and interaction.

Help! We Need a Title
By Herve Tullet

Help! We Need a Title, by Herve Tullet is a story about a ragtag group of illustrations trying to come up with a story for its very interested reader, which just happens to be you! Starring a Magical Fairy, Dog, Pig, Snake Cyclops, and Stick Drawing, this group is dedicated to finding the right story for you. The characters break the fourth wall to speak directly to you, the audience! Each character helps to try and add the elements of a great story into play, but writing a story is a lot harder than it seems for our group. They even enlist the help of the author himself for some quick pointers on top-notch storytelling! Hopefully it pans out well for our characters in the end! Help! We Need a Title, is a great story book for your young abstract reader. The introduction of certain elements like fourth wall breaking, recognizable but unrelated characters, and the overall aesthetic and drawing technique will surely make this book one of the more unique options on your shelf, as well as introduce different ideas about books, reading, and writing to your youth.

About the Author

Shaun Teamer

Shaun Teamer is a creator and storyteller. He enjoys using his imagination to create cool stories and drawings. Shaun can be found at the Kansas City Central Library, imagining fun, new blogs to write about.

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