Friday, September 2, 2011

Top 5 things I hope Mr. 7 gets out of Keri Smith's book

List by Tosca and all about the book How to be an explorer of the world : portable life museum by Keri Smith

"WARNING: To whoever has just picked up this book. If you find that you are unable to use your imagination, you should put this book back immediately. It is not for you. In this book you will be repeatedly asked to... suspend your disbelief, complete tasks that make you feel a bit strange, look at the world in ways that make you think differently, conduct experiments on a regular basis, and see inanimate objects as alive."
- Back of book How to be an explorer of the world : portable life museum by Keri Smith

The other day I found what I think is the best kids nonfiction book to end all best kids nonfiction books. (At least until the next one comes along that I love times infinity). What book? How to be an explorer of the world : portable life museum by Keri Smith. Why? Because it is awesomeness personified. This is the kind of book I have been looking for/praying for/waiting for. I'm going to use it as a way to get Mr. 7 off the sofa, out of the house and into the big, scary outside world. Sometimes I believe he isn't curious enough. Other times he's too adventurous by half. In this age of instant gratification where an answer to everything is an app's distance away (or a Google search's distance away) I worry that he will lose the sense of curiosity and wonder that he used to have when he was five. I feel sometimes that he has become slightly jaded and cynical and I want him back the way he used to be, back to that time when every little thing was new and exciting and surprising. I want him to live a life outside of the interwebs and Sky TV, and to know that sometimes the best way of getting answers is to live the journey of finding them for yourself. Sounds somewhat existential, fluffy and frou frou? I did vaguely think so...and then three things happened: 1) I read the blurb for this book and 2) I took it home and discussed it with Mr. 7 and 3) he wanted to try some of the activities straight away. He even asked me for a few things to help out, namely a digicam, an extension on his half-hour daily computer time and permission to start a blog to put up his 'doings' (as he called them). The digicam is not a problem. He's 7 so I figure a cheap little cam is an easy enough thing to purchase and, should he develop an interest in photography, it's a great starting point and then, when he's a little older, we'll buy him something better. Extending his daily allotment of computer time...I'm not so sure about that. His theory is that he still needs computer time for 'play' and that it shouldn't be confused with 'experimenting.' My response to that is perhaps he should learn to use what time he does get a little more wisely, and I think now is as good a time as any for him to learn that sometimes 'experimenting' IS 'play.' Currently, it's a stalemate, and we'll have to talk about that a little more. The third request - permission to start a blog - that's not so easy. A lot of places have age restrictions and, really, that's fair enough. I'm currently considering a couple of alternatives: 1) that we use my personal blog to post his findings (which I don't like the idea of and neither does he) or 2) somehow I incorporate them in to our Top 5 blog as a kind of a guest post (something along the lines of 5 things he thought of/discovered/enjoyed about particular activities he chooses). I had initially envisioned a scrapbook full of his findings. He sees it as having a place online, as well. Maybe we're both right. Maybe we're both wrong. Maybe the best option will be somewhere in between the two. Either way I am OH SO HAPPY that he's excited about trying this book on for size. Rain permitting we're going to start this weekend. And fit in a side trip to the Auckland Art Gallery (which re-opens this weekend). So, what do I want him to get out of this book?

And in everything. If you stop long enough to look. And listen.

You don't have to draw or paint to be creative. Sometimes being able to see or look at things differently is a form of creativity.

The time it takes you to walk to school could be spent noticing all of the things around you - that's 5 minutes and you didn't even have to set aside any 'extra' time.

In the busy-ness of our day to day life we sometimes forget to look up, down and sideways. We are so focused on getting from Point A to Point B that we forget to take in what we can while we're getting there, things like rainbows, the smell of the air around us, people who smile at us for no reason whatsoever. Be aware, be open and be responsive.

As often as you can and never be afraid to ask questions or find answers.


Madhamster said...

It's a tricky one, that blogging. A few years ago now, I used matmice - which was designed for kids. Now, trying to find a site for kids to blog on... shesh! Being a typical librarian - I found this! Which I'm pretty sure you've found already.

Claire at Latitude said...

Oh, My Goodness. I found just the sound of this book inspiring. And then I found that Keri Smith had written a whole lot more, only one I've heard of (but not yet seen) — This Is Not A Book. The one called Mess: The Manual of Mistakes and Accidents also sounds wonderful, and potentially VERY GOOD for perfectionists.

About kids blogging: I really like this NZ one - - but I guess it’s not really what you’re talking about, as it's a joint effort. ("My name is Rocky. I am 10. I choose the adventures. My mum drives the car.")

Danielle said...

Claire, cheers for the littlefieldtrips link, this is really inspiring! I'm just starting to explore Auckland a tiny bit more with the kids and this looks like a fun way to keep motivated and share discoveries.