imagining kindness, sharing, abundance, and equality

Imagine all the people sharing all the world

In The Power and The Glory, Graham Greene wrote: “Hate is a lack of imagination.” Perhaps it follows that love is an abundance of imagination. There’s plenty of both to go around in the world just now, so I suppose the thing to do is notice imagination, encourage it, and let it build.

 
 

Sometimes we think of imagination as the stuff of fantasy worlds—The Lord of The Rings scaled down to everyday life, if you like. And that’s a wonderful way to imagine.

But John Lennon’s Imagine reminds us that there’s more to imagination. We can imagine a life, a community, a world of relationships, and then we can grow that imagination into a real life. We can imagine a world where ‘there’s no countries …no possessions …no need for greed or hunger.”

You might not agree with all of Lennon’s sentiments. I don’t, he imagines a world with ‘no religion’, but I think religion can be and often is powerfully good. And I’m not convinced that ‘living for today’ is even part of the answer to the world’s ills. Lennon says 'it isn’t hard to do’, but imagining a real world that is dramatically changed is very hard to do.

Still, I think most everyone would agree that more imagining of kindness, sharing, abundance, and equality is a good thing—and that’s the underlying message of the song and the book.

There’s a forward by Yoko Ono, and an afterword from Amnesty International—both are good to read.

Ono writes: ”We should treat everybody the same, no matter where they are from or if they speak a different language. After all, the pigeon in this book welcomes all the other birds, whatever colour of feathers or shape of beak they have.”

The pictures are very appealing—an everyday sort of pigeon flies around its world doing good and welcoming all birds—they’re colourful and charming and do a wonderful job of connecting the song to children and their lives.

Amnesty International writes: “This book is about peace, which helps us enjoy a happy and safe life. For peace to flourish, we need to treat everyone kindly, equally and fairly.” Surely that is indisputable!

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
— Imagine

Imagine is nostalgic comfort reading of course, but it’s also a great way to open a discussion about what an imagined world full of love would look like. Perhaps you agree with Lennon, perhaps not. Either way, this a book to start thinking and talking about freedoms, rights, and especially our own contributions to the world.

If you’re looking for more books about human rights you might like these. And if, like me, you really appreciate a book you can sing-read, here are a few more we’ve loved:

Along the Road to Gundagai - fabulous song included.
Footloose - enough said!
What a Wonderful World - and check out this gorgeous rendition, be warned it will stay with you!
A You’re Adorable - plus here's a classic by Petula Clark and Guy Mitchell.

Amazon  -  Book Depository


Book Depository has free postage anywhere in the world and great pricing, but Amazon might be cheaper for North American readers.

IMAGINE
by John Lennon, illustrated by Jean Jullien – Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2017
ages 2 to adult  / picture books + diversity, heartwarmers, powerful lives

a movie + 3 books to delight a little dancer

Ivy has been obsessed with dance over the last six months—she wants to watch, read, do and live dance. It started when she saw the movie Ballerina and, although I think she might be almost ready to move on, these three books have had a good workout!

Angelina at the Palace
One of the classic Angelina Ballerina series. Angelina goes to the palace to help teach ballet, but quickly feels inadequate to teach such perfect Princesses—she must face her fears and do her best to ensure that the show goes on.

Flora and the Flamingo
A sweet story of a young girl (Flora) who desperately wants to dance with a graceful flamingo. At least that’s what appears to be the story—there are no words in this book. Which is good, because the pictures are compelling enough to lead to all kinds of imaginative conversations. It’s also a great book for emotional comprehension and recognising feelings.

Dogs Don't Do Ballet
Everyone knows dogs don’t do ballet, no matter how much they may want to! Especially dogs like Biff. But when the prima ballerina falls mid show, someone has to step in to make sure the show can go on—finally it's Biff's moment to shine! A funny and sweet tale for dance and dog lovers alike.

There are so many dance books to choose from, but these are our current favourites—they're a perfect fit for the 2- to 5-year-old set.

They're individually linked to Book Depository where possible—they have great prices and free postage anywhere in the world—but Amazon might be cheaper for North American readers.

Names in these books – Angelina, Flora

Ada Lovelace's brilliant combination of imagination, maths and science — the first computer programmer

Ada Lovelace's brilliant combination of imagination, maths and science — the first computer programmer

ages 5 to 10 years
......... Ada is known as the first computer programmer as a result of a paper she published with Charles Babbage—he was the official author, but the footnotes were credited to her. Well, her initials were on them anyway: 'She was afraid her work wouldn’t be taken seriously if people knew it was written by a woman.'

Her life is captivatingly told, from her early years as a child fascinated with flying, to her marriage, her friendships 

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a charming and satisfying fairytale retelling

a charming and satisfying fairytale retelling

ages 14+ years
I have no idea how I came across The Changeling Sea—one day it was just on my bookshelf (probably purchased in one of my many book buying sprees back before kids—when my book budget was unlimited). No matter how it got there, I’m just glad it did. It’s a charmingly well written changeling fable, a classic fairytale story with a fresh and original twist. 

When Peri was fourteen, her father was lost at sea and her whole life changed—her mother was lost to heartache and she (Peri) had to take care of herself.

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bouncing balloons, fizzing sidewalk paint, milk explosions—3 down, 98 to go. We LOVE this activities book!

bouncing balloons, fizzing sidewalk paint, milk explosions—3 down, 98 to go. We LOVE this activities book!

As you can probably tell from some of my other posts, we LOVE making/creating/experimenting at home. Besides being great fun, our crafty times educate, strengthen relationships and encourage communication and vocabulary—plus they're great for fine motor skills.

I’m always on the lookout for new inspiration and, although there are millions of activities on offer on the internet, I prefer to use books.  ..... this one is chock full of boredom busters, crafts, games and simple science—there's no end of inspiration

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a selection of 'freedom' books to celebrate 9 November—the day on which the Berlin Wall fell

a selection of 'freedom' books to celebrate 9 November—the day on which the Berlin Wall fell

When Jesse was about 8-years-old, listening to Joan and I reminiscing about watching the fall of the Berlin Wall on television, she lamented: “I wish I lived in interesting times". That wish has come true, hasn't it!

But, even with the seminal events that have happened since that conversation, the fall of The Wall in 1989 still shapes the way we think about history and our hopes for the future. Its stories are deep and complex, with political undertones that are as important as the grassroots swell of demand for liberty—and so worth celebrating.

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reading with grandchildren who live far away – Imogene’s Antlers

reading with grandchildren who live far away – Imogene’s Antlers

ages toddler to 5-years
Ridiculously, 4 of our grandchildren (including newborn Ezra) live in Cairns and 2 are in Tasmania. That’s pretty much opposite ends of the country and at least a two hour flight each way.  So weekly or even monthly visits just aren’t an option. But Samantha suggested this great app—Marco Polo. It’s probably not the original intention, but it works really well for reading stories.

I record a story (dodgy lighting and shuffling pages are no big deal), it uploads, and the grandkids look at it whenever their parents are ready to give up their phones for a few minutes.

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celebrating the wonders of being a year older!

celebrating the wonders of being a year older!

a series for 1- to 5-years-old
Finding the 'just right' birthday book can be tricky, but it's worth the hunt—there's something wonderful about getting a special book for a special occasion.

This year, one of those 'just right' books turned up for Angus—he was given You’re One!. It was perfect—a sweet relatable story that celebrated the magic of being a whole year older.

'Look at You! You’re one already!
It’s not long since you were as small as Teddy.'

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