What to do With an Idea?

What Do You Do with an Idea?

By Kobi Yamada (author) and Mae Besom (illustrator)

The Story: A little boy has an idea, but he has no clue what to do with it. Should he share it? Pretend it isn’t there? Whatever he does the idea will not go away, so the little boy gives the idea the attention and nurturing it demands and the idea grows, and grows, and grows until . . . it changes the world. The moral of the story: what do you do with an idea? You change the world.

What Wallace and I Think: This picturebook gave me goosebumps. The message that children’s ideas matter and have the potential to make a difference is powerful. The lesson that ideas must have work put into them if they are going to have the potential to make an impact is an important one for all of us. It is only through cultivating ideas that they can be born and turned into something real. For ideas to change the world, you need to develop and work on them first. These two lessons make this book one that needs to be read to children so they know their ideas matter, and that their ideas need to be cultivated.

The illustrator personifies the “idea” by illustrating it as an egg, which is a fantastic visual metaphor! The little egg follows the boy until he finally gets the attention he needs to grow. The egg grows larger and larger until it “cracks,” resulting in an illustration of colorful new city. Similarly, the egg/idea is the first thing to have color in the book; the little boy and the surrounding world is all pencil gray. As the egg/idea is nurtured the color slowly spreads until it finally explodes in the last page with a saturated, colorful city. Mae Besom’s illustrations are meaningful and beautiful, and add power to the message.

This book could be read to a varying age range from as young as toddlers. Though the metaphor may be out of the grasp of some young children, the illustrations would hold their attention. It could be used in classrooms to spark discussion, or be used to generally give someone/yourself encouragement.

So do you have an idea? Go and DO something with it, and maybe you’ll change the world!

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