The Creative Family: A Review
I’ve been a fan of Amanda Blake Soule’s blog, SouleMama, for some time now. On it she “writes about and photographs her thrifting, crafting and parenting adventures” from her coastal Maine home (got that from the jacket copy). Last summer she wrote about debuting her book: The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections. I’d been planning to look into it, so I was thrilled to see it on the shelf of new books in the library this weekend.
By the way, isn’t serendipity funny—I wasn’t even supposed to be in the library yesterday, but my kids had to go to an event there and at the last minute my husband couldn’t take them. So the book and I found each other.
I could hardly put it down; it’s a really delightful read if you like crafting and encouraging creativity in your kids. My only regret is that this book wasn’t available when my kids were a LOT younger—they’ve outgrown some of the stages when I could have taught them say, to finger knit or use sewing cards, which is what Soule advocates, as the preview to actual knitting and sewing.
Some of what she says makes me feel good about my choices—we have a dedicated art area well stocked with most supplies, we frame and hang our kids artwork around the house, we keep sketchpads in the car and visit museums whenever we can. And it’s not too late for me to hang a wire “inspiration line,” in the art area where they can clip their own pictures and objects to inspire them.
Here’s a sampling from the Table of Contents: Preparing Your Creative Mind, Gathering Materials, Being Resourceful, Encouraging Imagination, Supporting the Young Artist, Sharing the Tradition of Handmade, Exploring Through Nature, Family Celebration and Rituals. . .and that’s just a sampling. There’s also a wonderful list of additional books and resources in the back.
Soule has her kids do all kind of journaling and scrapbooking and, as an advocate of fewer but higher quality art materials, actually gives her kids moleskine journals to do it in. I’ve found that my kids really like Barebooks for their scrapbooking and journaling—I’ll save the moleskines for when they feel the Barebooks are too babyish for them.
If you have kids, I cannot recommend this book enough—the philosophy is simple, the ideas are easy to follow and it’s a lovely read. This is definitely going to be a staple on the shower, Christmas and birthday gift list for some time to come.
Go buy it, folks. You won’t regret it.