We’ve all heard of books we think of as classics even if we’ve never read them. Books like Atlas Shrugged, Fahrenheit 451, and The House of the Seven Gables come to mind. I consider myself a well-read person (I’m a librarian, after all!) but it is simply beyond my capacity to read EVERYTHING. The Dot was one of those books I knew about from seeing it on best-seller lists and on displays at Barnes and Noble but I had never read it. I was too busy focused on longer works that appealed to my sense of character development. From the cover, The Dot seemed too simplistic for me. To be fair, I had not yet learned to appreciate the brilliance of picture books. That would come later after I became a father and, eventually, and children’s librarian.
A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to meet Peter and Paul Reynolds at a conference here in Raleigh. They were outstanding! I was in the middle of transforming our library and media program into a 21st century learning environment, focusing my efforts on updating our collection as well as moving our instruction to include the 4 Cs: Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking. Meeting Peter and Paul had to be Divine intervention because their work breathed energy into my efforts. Peter read The Dot to our session; I was stunned at the depth of the story. I was hooked! Their vision of tapping the creativity in children to explore their talents and areas of interest was EXACTLY where I wanted to go.
Peter and Paul created Fable Vision Studios and Fable Vision Learning to help children, teachers, schools, and private enterprise tap their creativity and reach their potential. Sometimes the only obstacles in reaching our goals are our own doubts and fear of failure. The Reynolds brothers remind us that we all have talents that can make our visions a reality. We only have to see it in ourselves.
After hearing Peter read The Dot and speaking with Paul about the importance of overcoming self-doubt, I went to Barnes and Noble during the lunch break and bought every one of Peter’s titles in stock. Those that weren’t in stock I ordered. The books are a blessing to me and my kids. They remind us to search our dreams to create a vision. Our talents and hard work can make that vision a reality. Here is a sampling of their books:
Vashti wasn’t an artist. At least she didn’t think she was an artist. When her teacher asked for her work Vashti, in frustration, stabbed her paper with a pen, making a single stark dot. Her teacher, ever the master at finding inspiration in surprising places, asked Vashti to sign it like any artist would. Vashti became inspired to create more dots in more unique ways. Ultimately Vashti found her inner artist, inspiring others along the way.
Ramon wanted to be an artist, but his drawing were never quite right. When they didn’t look like he wanted, he crumbled them up and threw them away. After one particular bout of frustration, Ramon discovered that his sister Marisol had collected Ramone’s drawings and taped them on her bedroom wall. She loved her brother’s work. When Ramone protested that the drawings weren’t perfect Marisol told him that’s OK. They were “ish.” Ramone finally gave himself the freedom to create without having to be perfect.
Marisol was an artist and she loved to share her work with the world. While collaborating on the school’s new mural, Marisol agreed to paint the sky. The trouble was, there was no blue paint. How could Marisol paint the sky without blue? This enchanting story helps us understand that we need to open our eyes and see the world in ways we never have before.
Rafael and Maya both want to win the Going Places Contest. Rafael follows the directions. Maya follows her own path. Both learn that by working together they can create something amazing!
Raj loved playing piano. Few things in life brought him greater pleasure than letting the notes flow from his heart to his fingers. As he grew older Raj mastered the piano. He learned the notes and techniques of many great composers. But the magic of playing without rules made creating music feel more like work. When tragedy strikes Raj’s life, he rediscovers the joy of letting the music flow from his heart.
If you would like more information on Peter and Paul’s creative endeavors or to inquire about professional development opportunities visit them at their site, www.fablevision.com. You won’t regret it!
On a personal note, when I find myself weary and unable to tap my creativity, I watch this video created by FableVision to remind myself that I still have dreams. Thank you, Peter and Paul Reynolds for all you do for the children of the world and for reminding the old codgers like me that we can still make a difference.