The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections (Anglais) Broché – 1 avril 2008
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“Give your family an injection of creativity with this inspirational book.”—Kindred Magazine
“The Creative Family will make life with your children rich, full, imaginative, and fun beyond measure. This book is a recipe for joyful parenting and a joyful life. It's a gift for both your children and yourself. I loved it!”—Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education and author of Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times
“Amanda Soule has created a wonderful guide that nourishes the wellspring of creativity already inherent in the family dynamic. She encourages discovery, ingenuity, sharing, and celebration in a way that helps each family member grow, while simultaneously bringing the whole family closer together. A truly meaningful book for and about that which we hold dearest.”—Jeffrey Yamaguchi, author of 52 Projects: Random Acts of Everday Creativity
Présentation de l'éditeur
Amanda Soule has charmed many with her tales of creativity and parenting on her blog, SouleMama. Here she shares ideas and projects with the same warm tone and down-to-earth voice. Perfect for all families, the wide range of projects presented here offers ideas for imaginative play, art and crafts, nature explorations, and family celebrations.
This book embraces a whole new way of living that will engage your children’s imagination, celebrate their achievements, and help you to express love and gratitude for each other as a family.
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L'auteure vit en famille dans sa ferme bio, où elle pratique l'école à la maison pour ses enfants, elle est connue en tant que "Soulemama" sur Internet, pour son blog éducatif plein de "crafts" (travaux manuels?), vous trouverez très facilement son site qui vous donnera une idée de son propos et de son état d'esprit.
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I was also disappointed with the craft projects. Aside from the fact that many were the same projects found all over the internet and in many other craft books, I found that most of them were projects geared towards adults with small touches added by children. I was expecting more projects actually for children, or where children played a much bigger role.
I think this would be a perfect book for someone who is new to Waldorf and Montessori philosophy and was looking for ways to incorporate these philosophies into their family life, or for someone who is looking for a simple, pleasant read paired with beautiful pictures. If you've been involved in simple family living for quite some time and are looking for something new, I would look elsewhere.
The book is divided into four sections, each with three chapters:
Part One: Gathering
1. Preparing Your Creative Mind
2. Gathering Materials
3. Being Resourceful
Part Two: Playing
4. Encouraging Imagination
5. Supporting Your Young Artist
6. Sharing the Tradition of Handmade
Part Three: Living
7. Exploring Through Nature
8. Capturing Moments
9. Everyday Rituals
Part Four: Connecting
10. Celebrating Your Family
11. Handmade Holidays
12. Creative Connections
At the end of the book, a six-page resource guide lists other books and websites on the same topics.
Even though my daughter is 14, we both found this book worthwhile. For example, we set up a Nature Table. Before, all the tiny miracles we brought home in our pockets ended up in the trash. Now we have a spot. At the moment it has a handful of seashells, three skate egg cases, some hot pink sea whips, an orange sponge and a sparkly rock she snared last week on a trip with her dad out to the Grand Canyon.
Most of the ideas in this book were not new to me. In fact, much of it could be written about my actual family life. If you are familiar with the Waldorf tradition, and books such as "You are your child's first teacher", "The Children's Year" and "All Year Round", "Heaven on Earth", or some of the other little "Waldorfy" craft books out there, then many of the ideas in "The Creative Family" will not be new to you, either.
But I don't think that "being new" is the most important thing about this book. I think that it is really fantastic that Amanda Soule has taken many of these tried-and-true (perhaps less well-known/mainstream) ideas about parenting, family life, and creativity, and blended them together into one simple, easy to read, compact and easy to reach for, updated resource.
The photography is really beautiful, and the projects are all simple enough to be done by a pre-schooler (some with more help than others).
This is more than a project book, however (in fact, I would not even describe it as being a project book). It is more about a way of life -- taking a step back, learning that a "no" really can be a "yes," and so on. Her thoughts about toys were excellent -- again, exactly what our family has already practiced since our first child was quite small -- but, in observing so many of my friends with young children, ideas that would help many an overwhelmed family learn to say "no" to too much stuff.
I was most inspired by her tips on art supplies -- a good comprehensive list of supplies, along with tips on their storage. It's one thing that I don't think we had a good system for before, and I will definitely be incorporating some of her ideas into our life.
This book is a gem. It's small and simple. It suggests simple steps that any family can take to make their lives more family-centered and joyful.
First, this is a beautiful book with lots of inspiring photos of the author and her children being happy together, and of pleasant spaces in and around the author's home. The projects are simple and, as other reviewers have noted, nothing that you couldn't find in other craft books, blogs, and magazines. However, they provide a good selection of techniques and media, and they are well-presented.
This would make a great book for a new parent looking for ways to nourish her own and her child's creative spirit. I would give it to moms who already had a creative mindset but I think it could also make a good gift for a parent who isn't especially crafty, because there are plenty of ideas for simply providing open-ended materials for kids (and adults) to play around with. I think it would also make good reading for families who've lost touch with their creative selves or with each other.
I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who already has a creative, nurturing family life or who already 'makes stuff' with her kids. There really isn't anything new here for such readers. Even if you're an avid bibliophile like me, I would hold off on this one in preference for something with more projects or more in-depth discussions of how to nurture children. The writing style is enjoyable but the content is a little shallow and there are too many passages that sound vaguely familiar, as though the author is repeating herself in slightly different words.
I would also warn readers that the author sometimes comes across as condescending or smug. Her advice to buy small quantities of high-quality art materials rather than a whole lot of crap is good as far as it goes, but she is a little too sanguine in her reliance on thrift stores and surplus sales. Yes, sometimes you can get extremely lucky at the thrift store or a yard sale, and perhaps some art schools really do sell off surplus materials, but in the end most of us will have to budget for markers, paints, fabric, and yarn and we will have to make compromises based on what we can afford. The 'resource list' at the end of the book is painfully brief and includes only moderate to very expensive retailers. The book would have been better with a longer list of resources and more ideas about what materials to splurge on and what materials to buy cheaply.
In another section, the author encourages readers to find a 'special spot' out in nature where they will feel 'grounded and connected to the earth.' She urges us not to let 'financial or geographical circumstances get in the way of having a spot.." because nature can be found in the middle of a city! Coming from someone fortunate enough to live in coastal Maine, this is a bit much. I live in the city and yes, we have wildlife of the plant and animal kind here, but it does make a difference, contrary to what the author says a few pages later, "whether it's a small patch of dandelions on a tiny strip of city grass or a remote, wide-open lake with room to explore." It's silly and a little insulting to pretend that place doesn't matter.
Many readers, looking at the photo of the author's children paddling a canoe or playing on the beach will feel a little wistful that they can't provide that kind of experience for their children very often or even at all. Those of us who live in cities (or in poorly-planned suburbs) know that, despite cultural amenities and public transportation, the noise, crime, grime, and nature deficit all take their toll. Those of us who struggle financially know that it's impossible not to allow financial constraints to 'get in the way.' On the other hand, I almost feel I should praise the author for even alluding to a subject many authors would simply have ignored. I also feel I should thank the author, because she inspired me to begin writing a zine about enjoying nature and living creatively for limited-income urbanites like me!
That note of privilege and blissful ignorance is present throughout the book, as is a mild dose of self-congratulation. I think it's pretty easy to get past that and to enjoy the evident joy and pleasure the author takes in her children and in her lifestyle. It's refreshing to read about a homemaker who finds the work fulfilling and rewarding, especially because the decision to be a homemaker is almost incidental. Although the author can sometimes seem repetitious or a little smug, she also comes across as a happy, fulfilled mother who has lots of good ideas to share.
Some of the exciting projects include little hands learning to felt, sew, make stuffed art, knit, and embroider. Other projects that stood out to me were family drawing time, making traditions, handmade holidays, art placemats, and "craftivisim" . If you have thought about the level of creativity in your house, and desire it to ebb and flow out of all of you and yours, The Creative Family by Amanda Blake will be a sweet dream that can be your new reality, an amazing place that after you have entered you'll know you just gotta stay. The best thing is that kids are drawn to create and it need not be something you are apprehensive about, take it from Soule, she believes that, " as human beings, we are all born with the ability, the desire, the passion, and the drive to be creative. We may become anxious about "teaching" creativity to our children, but there is really no need for us to teach. They know how to be creative. The know it with every ounce of their being- it isn't conscious or rational. It is simply who they are. Until somethings stands in their way [...]they will be creative" (p. 13).
Consider me inspired: Yesterday I set up an inspiration wire (p. 21), and several times I noticed my little one checking out his art on the wall with intense pride. I went out and found some things that our art cabinet (dresser)(p. 25) was in need of, and I was dying to do the projects in the book. Today, after reading the section on letting your kids use good quality things I (must admit reluctantly) let my four-year-old paint with my paint brushes...the results were just beautiful, let me tell you that next time I will not hesitate, he can use my brush! This weekend we are going to do the freezer-paper stenciling (p. 74) after I find the shirts we need, and because our "inspiration wire" is already way too full I am going to put together some sturdy art clips (p. 83) up at some point in the near future. The project that I am incredibly excited about though, and have already been eyeing materials for is the incredible "Banging Wall" (p. 197) I cannot wait to get that up in our backyard! Those are the projects that have inspired me, since yesterday...and there are many more in this book waiting to be used as well.
One of my favourite aspects of this book is the desire to bless others with your art, for whom you want to express love or care for. Here is an especially great quote on just that, Soule says, " Living a creative live is made all the more fulfilling and rewarding when we are creating with, for or because of others. Much creative drive is certainly internally driven, but there is such benefit to creating beyond ourselves, beyond our family, and beyond our homes, for our community and the world around us. Connecting with and creating with others can be a powerful and inspiring act, as well as a wonderful gift for our children, teaching them how to connect and share their own passions with others" (p. 191). It is beautiful to allow art to not only influence your family, but to impact those around you as well. Kids and parents alike learn life lessons from such acts.
This is one of those books that come around very much too infrequently that you would like to buy 100 of and give one to all your friends because you know they would love it too...but then you do the calculations and realize that would not go over too well with family budgeting. No, seriously I will buy this book for several of my close friends who I know will love it just as much as me, and to all the rest of my friends who would also love it just as much I will give it the highest recommendations possible. All I can say, if you believe in creativity, or would like to start...buy this book and you will want all your friends to buy it too!
Oh, and check out her pretty much daily blog at: [...]