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{Project 101} Weekly Library Challenge: Eric Carle, Imagine Childhood + Books By Bloggers

I've really been looking forward to the Weekly Library Challenge this week, where I share a library book the boys love and a library book that I have been reading primarily because of the inspiration I've drawn from Imagine Childhood: Exploring the World through Nature, Imagination and Play, and 25 Projects that spark curiosity and adventure by Sarah Olmstead, blogger and a highly seasoned and inspiring nature explorer and imagination nurturer who excels at play! Living in a small, rural town surrounded by mountains, I love her emphasis on nature play and all that can be gained from spending time outdoors exploring and creating.  

Before I delve a bit more into Imagine Childhood, let's look at what library book the boys love from this week. The illustrations of Eric Carle keep attracting my boys with Baby Bear, Baby Bear What Do You See? Written by Bill Martin Jr. and Illustrated by Eric Carle and The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse Written and Illustrated by Eric Carle both being heavy favorites for the boys this week. Baby Bear, Baby Bear What Do You See? is a great stepping stone after Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? as the animals and their acts get a bit more complex and thus more challenging for early readers. 

The book pairs well with The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse since they reinforce colors for Caterpillar and the repetitive aspects engage Wild Thing who loves books with repetition that allow him to quickly and easily "read" them himself. Showing off and reading a book to his brother makes him exceptionally happy and proud. Also still in heavy rotation are both Duck On A Bike and Round Is A Tortilla, which we shared last week, and though not from the library, The Magic Poof, our newest book, is requested at least once a day. The link points here between the books the boys have been reading and the book I am reading are definitely nature and imagination. As we read Baby Bear, Baby Bear What Do You See and The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse, Wild Thing wanted to discuss where the animals lived expressing his interest in the different aspects of nature that might suit each animal. And as we read The Magic Poof, we enjoyed imagining what magic powers we'd like our hair to have!

Imagine Childhood is one of those special books that is easy to read, engages you through effectively triggering your own childhood memories and experiences, inspires you to revisit those experiences with your own children and beautifully captures the power of nature to nurture creativity and imagination. The book divides itself into three logical sections: Nature, Imagination and Play threading the connections between these three. As Sarah Olmstead beautiful says in the book: "Nature teaches us how the world works. Imagination teaches us how to dream. Play teaches us how to make our dreams real." 

In the book, Olmstead offers wonderful projects that encourage children's curiosity and nurture the inherent inclination to engage the world, go on adventures and solve problem, such as boat-making, play tents, seasonal capes, wands and much more. Not only did I value the activity and project suggestions and the ideas they inspired in me for my own children, but I also appreciated how it reminded me, as an adult, of the value of curiosity and imagination and of bringing these into my own daily life and professional work as well. Put it on your library list and, in the meantime, head outside and explore. 

I enjoyed the story of how her book came to be evolving from her work as a freelance children's furniture designer and fabricator to working at the Field Museum of Natural History where she developed interactive education activities before founding her site, which led to this beautiful book.

Imagine Childhood led me to think of all of the other books written by talented bloggers. The wonderful members of the Kid Blogger Network helped me make this list, but if I missed a few, please let me know. 

I'm starting with play, art and learning books:

  • Nurture Store has two books to encourage play, creativity and learning: The Homemade Playdough Recipe Book: recipes and ideas for a whole year of play and The Garden Classroom, packed with a year's worth of outdoor play ideas, gardening tips, nature study, art and craft, and science, math and literacy activities. Both are ebooks by the Nurture Store's lovely Cathy James. 
  • Red Ted Art also has a book, appropriately titled Red Ted Art: 60 Cute and Easy Crafts for Kids by Maggy Woodley (of Red Ted Art). I am a huge fan of hers, so I'm sure the book is fabulous -- it's on my must-read list (as are all of these, now actually!) 
  • Time to Create: Hands-On Explorations in Process Art for Young Children, by Christie Burnett of Childhood 101, available in paperback and ebook edition, highlights the developmental value of art activities for young children with an emphasis on process over product. As someone whose products often leave much to be desired, this approach sounds enticing. 
  • Make and Takes for Kids: 50 Crafts Through the Year by Marie LeBaron of Make and Takes. As the title suggests the book focuses on holidays and the four seasons to engage children throughout the year. The book outlines learning objectives and skills that children acquire through the art and craft activities.

Now, for parenting and child development books:
  • Ready for Kindergarten by Deborah J. Stewart of Teach Preschool. This is a brand new book focused on helping parents prepare their children for Kindergarten by highlighting what children should know, how parents can help with getting their children ready and tools that help parents review their children's progress, revise activities as needed for their children and revisit activities to build new skills.
Finally, books (and CDs) for children:
I've got a lot of reading to do!! 

Finally, though not a book, I did want to share an upcoming E-Workshop from two lovely bloggers: Gina at Connecting Family and Seoul and Kat from Creative Playhouse. The workshop is a 30-day workshop beginning August 5th. It focuses on Connecting Family Through Creative Play.

You might also like:

Ten for Tuesday: Community Helpers
Wonderful Book from Soule Mama
Water + Nature Play


  1. WOW! Great post and I seriously have some reading to do. Printing off the post so I can keep the list handy.

  2. WOW! Great post and I seriously have some reading to do. Printing off the post so I can keep the list handy.

  3. What a very lovely post! And I am awed at how many of our dear blogging friends have been published!! Wow. Thank you so so much for mention Red Ted Art and your kinds words :-)

    Very much appreciated!


  4. I'm so grateful for your shout-out! As a self-published author of children's picture books, even though I have won national awards -- it is the word of mouth and encouragement such as your article, that introduce my book to new readers.

    You're the best. What an amazing group to be included amidst.

    Debbie Clement

  5. What a fun list. I've read The Artful Parent (love, love!!), Pinterest Savvy (very helpful) and Book Love. Looks like I have some more reading to do.

  6. I'm blushing. Thank you so much for your kind words and your lovely review!

  7. This is an am amazing resource list. Thank you!


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