Unwanteds

Unwanteds

Why are children so creative? So imaginative? So observant? Children, especially the younger ones, have little knowledge of the world and how it works, so their minds are open and their ideas are amazing. Not usually logical, but super crazy and creative.

As I was thinking about how jealous I am of children and their imaginations, I, being the book-loving maniac I am, thought of a book called Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. Before I get into why I thought of this book, I’ll give you a general summary.

This story takes place in the future in a dystopian society called Quill that highly discourages any creativity of any kind. When children turn thirteen, they are sorted into three categories: Wanteds, Necessaries, and Unwanteds. The Wanteds are the most intelligent children, the Necessaries are average, and the Unwanteds are children who have disobeyed the law and done something artistic like telling stories or drawing. The Unwanteds are sent off in a bus to be killed in the lake of fire. Or so everyone thinks. While Aaron Stowe becomes a Wanted, his twin brother Alex Stowe becomes an Unwanted condemned to death because he broke the law and drew a picture. At the end of the bus ride, instead of being thrown into a lake of fire, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds are welcomed into a magical world called Artime, which was created by Mr. Today. Here, citizens are free to express themselves and practice their artistic abilities. In Artime, strange creatures and talking statues abound and the Unwanteds learn to use their creativity as weapons…literally.

Quick fangirl moment: Amazing series! It’s not over yet either. The next book come out in the fall. Is this series for ages 8-12? Yep. And do I care? Nope, not really. I think I like these books for younger children because then I don’t have to deal with ridiculous teenage drama/romance/angst blah blah blah. *cough cough*…Oh, I’m not even going to say it! You probably know what series I’m thinking of. Of course, not all teenage books are like this, I’m just complaining about a lot of them. With middle school books, I can focus on the amazingness of the story itself! Alright, fangirl moment over. Back to the topic at hand.

So why did I think of this book? Probably because I admire the creativity of this story. In this story, art is magic. You can fold an origami dragon and bring it to life or draw a door that can take you anywhere. Basically, its my dream come true. It reminds me of when I was a child and I played make-believe with my friends. I would always pretend that I had a magic pencil that would make anything I drew come to life.

I think that children’s ability to notice and admire the most mundane objects also contributes to their imagination. They see and marvel at little details that older people often fail to notice. Like the swirling of colors on a bubble, the fine pattern of veins on a leaf, even the fascinating map work of cracks on an old sidewalk. I mean, sure, we see a rainbow and we think “Wow, look a rainbow! It’s so beautiful! We hardly ever see those!” I’m not saying anything bad about rainbows; I love them, but I think we often overlook the little beautiful details we see everyday, like the sparkle of dew in the grass in the early morning. Believe me when I say that little kids notice these things; I know. I have LOTS of little siblings. Too many in fact (Just kidding guys, I love you!) Anyway, their fascinating ideas and observations never fail to amuse me. I followed their example; now, when I go for walks or have to ride my bike somewhere, I try to spot interesting details in my surroundings. I found that when I slowed down a bit when I rode my bike and paid close attention to details around me, the ride was much less boring. When I did this, I also began to reflect on things I usually don’t even think about. This activity opened my mind. I know you’re probably all very busy, and that’s probably why older people don’t notice little things as much, but next time you go somewhere, pay close attention to details. It’ll make the journey more interesting!

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The Gap

This is an awesome video I recently saw so I just wanted to share it. It’s really inspirational to people who do creative work. I’ve always loved reading and I recently realized that I also love writing. I mean stories, not history papers. Those suck. Anyway, this video inspired me to actually start writing. I’ve been thinking about it for years, but I finally just did it. I realize that even though my work won’t be perfect at first, I can get to the point I want to be at if I keep working at it. I started small; I wrote a story for Fanfiction based off my favorite book series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. If any of you have read this series, I would really appreciate it if you would check it out and review my first short story. And if you haven’t read it, then you should. I don’t care how old you are. My older sister in college used to criticize me for reading ”little kid books” so I got a bit offended. I followed her around reading the first book out loud so she had hear the story, whether she wanted to or not. By the end, I had converted her to a Percy Jackson fan. Mwahaha. (If you’ve read my second post Harry Potter vs. Mom, then you know I have a habit of doing this.) Anyway, sorry for going off topic. My story’s called Aphrodite vs. the Stoll Brothers and my pen name is The Amazon Princess. Here’s the link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10090582/1/Aphrodite-vs-the-Stoll-Brothers

When I saw this video, I also thought of two books I read this summer: A Single Shard and I, Juan de Pareja. It was actually assigned to me as summer homework because they’re easy books to analyze. I had to read a bunch of books like this and basically analyze the heck out of them in several worksheets and essays and blog posts. Unfortunately, I transferred schools at the end of the summer so I wasted my whole break doing a ridiculous amount of homework. On top of all this, when I transferred, I got a brand-new set of summer homework at my new school. (Sorry about my rant guys, I just really felt like complaining about this.) Despite all this, I still love both of these books. I guess reading I, Juan de Pareja and A Single Shard is the one good thing that came out of all of this. Both books are about aspiring artists trying to reach their dreams, but due to their low social standings, they are not allowed to become who they want to be. Here’s a short summary of each in case you want to check them out.

I, Juan de Pareja

I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino is about the life of a man named Juan who is born into slavery. He lives in Spain in the 1600s. In his early childhood, his first masters die and Diego Velazquez, a young painter, inherits him. Juan is content to help his kind new master prepare the elements needed to paint, but he always craves to learn to paint himself. Unfortunately, the rules at the time do not allow slaves to participate in art. Because Juan cannot resist the temptation, he begins to learn to paint by watching his master and secretly practicing in private. Because Diego Velazquez and Juan became good friends, Juan feels guilty about painting in secret. Juan hopes that someday he will be able to freely paint to his heart’s content.A Single Shard

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park is a historical fiction book about a twelve-year old boy named Tree-Ear who lives in eleventh or twelfth century Korea. Tree Ear is a young orphan boy who lives under a bridge with his elderly crippled friend Crane-man. They live in a small village where almost everybody creates pottery for their job.  Tree-Ear is particularly drawn to Min, the most talented potter in the village. Tree-Ear begins to work for Min in return for meals. All Tree-Ear ever wanted to do was to make pottery, but he is not allowed to because he is an orphan. He helps Min every day by doing chores like preparing the clay but he never gets to do the work he really wants. He continues working hard every day in hopes that someday Min will teach will teach him the art of making pottery.

I guess I thought of these two books when I saw The Gap because both Juan and Tree-Ear struggle with their “gap.” They have good taste and they are talented at the art they love, but when they first start, their work isn’t all that good. There is a gap between when they start creating and when they become good at it. It just takes a lot of work to close that gap, but when they do, their work is amazing.