I truly believe that imagination is one of the most powerful–and important–forces on the planet. It lifts our hearts, minds, and spirits; it is the driving force behind the magnificence of both mighty empires and scribbled crayon drawings; it is at once the soul’s greatest indulgence and greatest freedom.
“This world is but a canvas to our imagination” (Henry David Thoreau).
If you need a little more imagination in your life, or perhaps need a good book for a child or grandchild, check out the list below:
1. My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
If you don’t read a single other book on this list, I urge you to read this one: My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry is literary perfection. Heartbreaking, uplifting, and dazzlingly beautiful, Fredrik Backman’s bestselling novel is the perfect choice for any child or adult who needs a little break from the strict confines of reality.
2. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews can literally do no wrong–and that perfection is clearly reflected The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. Whimsical, inspirational, and utterly charming, it tells the tale of three children who, with the help of a kindly professor, use the power of their imaginations to travel to the magical realm of Whangdoodleland.
3. Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
A classic children’s tale if there ever was one, Where The Wild Things Are is an enchanting story of bravery and adventure.
4. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
I’ll be honest–when I was younger, I could hardly pick this book up without bursting into tears. But for this story, the tragedy actually works to enhance the message: even when things seem most hopeless and desperate, you have to treasure your imagination all the more dearly. For that is the birthplace of hope, insight, and inspiration.
5. The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Based on the classic tale by Lewis Carroll, The Looking Glass Wars is a wonderfully creative twist on Alice and her adventures in Wonderland. In this novel, nothing is achieved without imagination: if your creative powers are strong enough, you can do anything, create anything. And that is exactly what Princess Alyss must strive to achieve if she is to take back her throne and end the war between White and Black Imaginations.
6. The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
There is a magical island in a far away place where imaginary friends are born. Except this imaginary friend is never paired with a real child–he is over looked time and time again, until the day he decides to travel to the city and find a child himself.
7. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
A large purple crayon–that’s all Harold needs to arm himself with when he sets off on a midnight walk. Delightfully adventurous and heartwarmingly sweet, Harold and the Purple Crayon is a must-read for all young children.
8. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
I love this book–the entire series is based on the idea that one author’s imagination is powerful enough to create an entirely new reality: the reality of the book. And what happens when characters from that world escape? Adventure, of course.
9. The Power of Henry’s Imagination by Skye Byrne, illustrated by Nic George
When Henry’s stuffed rabbit, Raspberry, goes missing, Henry must use his imagination to find it again. Henry’s whole family helps him on his search, but in the end it’s up to Henry and his creativity.
10. A Little Princess by Frances Burnett
This was one of my absolute favorite books growing up–it’s such a sweet, poignant story that you can’t help but love it. Sara Crewe’s father leaves her all alone at a boarding school in France, but she doesn’t feel at all lonely. For Sara has the most powerful imagination that the other students have ever seen: she can imagine a doll into a dear friend and herself into a princess. She can imagine that she is perfectly warm and content even when she is freezing cold and starving. Just like her fellow students, Sara will delight, inspire, and charm every reader who picks up A Little Princess.
What’s your favorite “imagination” book? Why does it speak to you? Share your thoughts below!
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