The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
Creativity, by definition, is the use of the imagination, new ideas or original thought, especially in the production of an artistic work. Sounds great, but this word, creativity, can cause stress or even panic in some. Having to create something new, from scratch, on a blank piece of paper, may be quite a challenge, yet we ask children to do it all of the time. How could we consider the feelings of the child, how could we promote creative spirit? This month, as Lower Lab Values Creativity, our Book of the Month, the dot will help answer these questions and also help us to engage the creative spirit in all of us.
This book written in a small format has a very big message, several in fact, as it tells the story of a young girl named Vashti who struggles with what she perceives is a total lack of artistic ability. Art class ends and Vashti’s paper is still blank. Through the guidance of a very thoughtful teacher, and one simple dot, Vashti finds her creative spirit and never looks back.
The Dot is about getting started, facing fears, having a good mentor and recognizing talent and creativity in atypical ways. It also makes us realize the importance of our last month’s value – perseverance, and how everything is achievable with the right frame of mind.
Some good discussion may also be yielded from the following:
- Think of a time when you struggled with a blank piece of paper (it could be lined paper). What made it so difficult?
- Why do you think the teacher had Vashti sign her paper with the dot on it?
- What does it mean to be creative? What makes someone creative?
- How can you be creative in classes other than art?
- What can you do if you see someone struggling with a blank paper?
- For older students: The teacher told Vashti, “just make a mark and see where it takes you.” How else can this be interpreted? In what other situations could this be valuable to say?
- If you like the dot, you may also like to check out the book Ish, by the same author.