"Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book." - Stéphane Mallarmé
Bringing Books to Life
As much as my daughter loves snuggly reading marathons, she also loves to act the books out, repeat favorite lines, draw and “write” about them, and use toys to extend the story. Building on my LEGO theme this month, here are two of our picture book-inspired LEGO creations.
Writing With The Stars founder Tara Luebbe’s book I Am Famous inspired an amphitheater and stage with a revolving platform (thanks Les Misérables).
For more book-inspired LEGO creations, check out the art of Marcie Colleen’s husband Jonathan Lopes. His literature-inspired work includes Dan Santat’s Beekle, Peter Brown’s Mr. Tiger, Marcie’s Love, Triangle cast, and more. And while you are at it, check out Marcie’s Study Hall program – an amazing mentor-led critique group for picture book writers.
In addition to LEGO bricks, we have used blocks to act out Cori Doerrfeld’s The Rabbit Listened with my daughter’s favorite line, “It’s going to be amazing!” We have constructed train tracks and pushed Two Little Trains west after reading Margaret Wise Brown’s classic. And we have emptied the contents of the play fridge to create our own food world like the one Josh Funk and Brendan Kearney created in The Stinky Stench.
As a former teacher, I love enhancing our reading with learning and play activities that create real-world connections and build my daughter's big imagination. Plus, if I cannot carve out writing time while the kiddos are awake, building literature-inspired worlds is a worthy alternative.
When all the sets you previously made are thrown into a pile and the instruction manuals are collecting dust, it is time to take what you have learned and create something from nothing!
Just like the blank page or screen, I have stared at the LEGO pile with no ideas in mind. At my daughter’s incessant urging, I pick up a couple bricks, then a couple more. And soon enough, we have created Santa’s village or a community library with a neighborhood park or that elusive first draft.
If I had not put my butt-in-chair and tried something, Santa would not have had a workshop to build toys, the LEGO kids would miss story time, and my drafts would never have been written.
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