Inspiration – I’m Bored

Have you every been unbelievably bored? Have ever been bored and no idea suggested to you (especially that suggestion about cleaning your room) sounded good? Have you ever had a potato hit you in the head and want to play?…me neither. But in the book, I’m Bored written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi, that is exactly the situation in which  the little girl in the story finds herself. The story continues on, after the potato’s grand entrance, with the girl trying to convince a most unimpressed potato that there are plenty of things to do. The girl spouts off a long list of things that kids can do with their imagination such as; pretending to be a pirate, a scientist, a dragon slayer or a ballerina. To each suggestion the potato irritatingly replies…boring. By the end of the story the girl is no longer consumed in a dark cloud of boredom, rather realizes that “Kid’s can do anything!!!” and a potato is not necessary. The last two pages introduce another character referenced at the beginning, but I won’t spoil the fun.

 

I absolutely love everything about this book and so did the rambunctious third graders in my class, who I am sure spend a lot of time at home responding to their parents like a certain potato. I found this book while perusing my school library and after reading the first page I knew it was going to be a winner. Michael Ian Black’s writing in this story is fantastic, he somehow perfectly encapsulates a most unlikely conversation between a bored little girl and an impassive potato. The book is made for being read aloud and the writing truly lends itself  to creativity with voices and expression. I love the simple response by the potato each time, boring. Responding to the girl’s wonderful and fun activities with an unenthusiastic, boring, really made my kids laugh each time (by the third or fourth page my kids knew the response each time, but still loved it nonetheless). Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s illustrations definitely take this story to the next level. As describes on her website, http://debbieohi.com/ , her illustrations are whimsical, and that perfectly describes the feel on each page. The illustrations are simple, yet convey the character/potato’s expressions expertly. I personally love how simple the illustrations are in this story and will definitely be experimenting with this whimsical illustrated look. This book is a perfect example of a writer who has a great book that would be funny, regardless of illustrator, but because of the great illustrations this book is one that I will read over and over and keep on hand for my students to continually enjoy. Being bored has nothing to do with what you don’t have, your imagination is all you need and imagination, is better than a potato.

 

D|K

Friday Inspiration – Thomas Edison

This will be the first of many entries as a part of a weekly post series about where I find inspiration. Inspiration not only for my artistic endeavors, but inspiration that motivates me and encourages me to persevere through criticism (someone else’s or my own). My first entry, as is stated in my title, is the one and only lightbulb inventing, Thomas Edison. Mr. Edison may not be someone that jumps to the front of everyone’s mind when they think of creative inspiration or motivation. He does, however, come to the forefront of my mind as a source of inspiration on staying motivated and persevering through trials. About a month ago I was reading a book in my classroom about inventions. In this book Edison, obviously for the invention of the lightbulb, was mentioned and talked about. In the information that was given about Edison and what he invented, the book stated that Edison failed 1,200 times before successfully inventing the lightbulb. I was quite astonished at that insane figure, as having not heard that fact before. From my own education I knew who invented the lightbulb, but in my mind I never gave much thought as to the serious amount of time and effort that went into the invention of the lightbulb. After reading that it took Edison 1200 tries to create a working lightbulb I really had to take a step back and look at what I have attempted in my life and ask myself, “Did I try my hardest? Would I ever keep trying something that had already failed 1,199 times before?” In asking myself these questions I came to the conclusion that I had not failed at anything anywhere near the astronomical number of 1,200 and kept going. In fact, up until this point I was at a serious stalemate between my dream of being a children’s author and consigning myself to failure before I had even attempted to be published. Fear is what causes me to procrastinate, get lost in the depths of the internet, fear had me quitting before I even began. I have not even failed in an attempt to be published, yet I was basically quitting by not continuing to edit my writings or finish my illustrations. Then I read about Edison and it all clicked, persevere and keep pushing until that bulb finally turns on.   D|K