When my daughter was seven years old, she and her best friend decided they would host a fun fair in our driveway. I paid little attention until a neighbor asked if there was going to be a bouncy castle and if we would be selling tickets for the rides. When I discovered that my daughter and her friend had distributed invitations promising pony rides, games of chance and thrill rides, I was worried that their friends would be terribly disappointed, but I was wrong. A wooden hobbyhorse, a game of hopscotch and a scooter provided all the fun anyone needed, and a good time was had by all. And I was reminded both that children have incredible imaginative powers and also that they are able to create entire worlds through what looks like simple play.
This spring’s list celebrates the resourcefulness and creativity of children of all ages. In Malaika’s Costume, Malaika has to find her own carnival costume since her mother has no money to send for one. Tokyo Digs a Garden brings us a boy who transforms an entire city with just three magic seeds, while in The Stone Thrower, creativity and dedication help the young Chuck Ealey find a way out of poverty and into a better life. And in Lisa Moore’s young-adult novel Flannery, a reluctant entrepreneur creates a love potion that has unexpected consequences.
Good books allow children to imagine — and then create — a better world. I hope you will find some inspiration in this catalogue that will help you do the same.