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!

Savvy

Savvy

I know this may sound clique, but everyone does have their own special talent. Some people are athletic, some people are artistic, and others are smart. Of course, these are all very broad categories and not everyone will fit in one of them, but you get the gist. A person usually has something that they are better at than their friends are. In Savvy by Ingrid Law, the Beaumonts also have a wide variety of talent in the family, but on a higher level. Their talents are supernatural. When a person in the Beaumont family turns thirteen, he or she receives their talent, or “savvy” as they call it. Mibs Beaumont is thrilled to finally turn thirteen and discover her power. Unfortunately, her birthday is interrupted when her father gets in a car accident and goes into a coma. Now she hopes that she gets a savvy that can save him. Believing she can help, she and her siblings sneak on a bus headed towards the hospital her father’s staying at. And… the rest is a wonderful adventure that you’ll have to read! As usual, I am recommending a children’s book cuz their awesome! 🙂

So writing a review for Savvy got me thinking about talent among other things and I found this picture.

Savvy Talent

This picture is supposed to represent a special and talented person. I dislike this picture, especially if it’s supposed to apply to a person as a whole. I believe this would only apply if a group of people were evaluated for one talent. Take soccer for instance. If you tested a group of people to see how well they could play soccer, then some people would be much better than others. If you tested the same group for a different talent, let’s say writing, then there would be more talented or “orange” people. Really every person would be orange because they all have talent, just in different areas. You will find your savvy!

I also dislike it when this picture is used to tell people to be different from everybody else. I mean, there’s about seven billion people on this planet so we can’t all be different from each other. That’s fine if that’s who you are, but I hate it when people change who they are to be noticed or get attention. Like how many celebrities do crazy things to get attention. Like how many freshman in high school try to completely change their image to seem cool. It’s sad. Especially since instead of being cool, they’re usually kind of hyper and annoying. I’ve seen it happen to a lot of people. In eighth grade they were cool and normal but in ninth grade they were almost a different person. By tenth grade, most of them become themselves again. I don’t know, maybe that was just at my school. But if you’re a freshman, then don’t change your personality because it’s probably awesome! Basically I’m just saying the clique phrase “Be true to yourself.” But seriously, be true to yourself. Here’s another bumper-sticker worthy phrase that I love:

 

oscar wilde

Yeah, I don’t know how I went from talking about talent to telling you to be yourselves, but hope you liked!

The Giver

the giver

I have recently read a short story called “Jest and Earnest” by Annie Dillard. In this story, the author observes three situations in nature involving different animals. Each represents a different aspect of the amazing and scary world we live in. Using her animal examples, she describes the world as cruel, beautiful, and a combination of both.

I think that we often look at the bad more than the good. We often fail to notice or appreciate the beauty of things we see everyday. After reading “Jest and Earnest”, I became more aware of this. I thought about an amazing book I read called The Giver by Lois Lowry, where both the cruel and beautiful aspects of people’s lives have been (for the most part) eliminated.

The Giver is a story about a boy named Jonas who lives in a utopian society. In his society, there are no wars and no suffering. Everyone is nice and polite. However, this society also does not have many of the simple pleasures we enjoy today. Objects are made to be practical, not beautiful. No one can see colors and no one has strong feelings. People take pills to suppress strong feelings like love, hate, and anger. Upon turning twelve, Jonas, along with all of his other peers in his age group, receives a job presented to him at the Ceremony by the community’s Elders. Jonas is chosen for the exceptionally unique job of becoming the next Receiver of Memories. He is expected to gain the memories of the world from the current Receiver, who changes his name to the Giver when he begins passing his memories on to Jonas. Although many are pleasant, several are painful and all of them give Jonas wisdom and knowledge about the world’s history. He learns about pain and pleasure and cruelty and beauty. These are some of the things that give life meaning. Jonas wants to share his experiences with his community, but they fear learning of the past. They prefer to continue living in ignorance, yet they know the memories of the past must not be lost so they choose one person to hold them all. Jonas must devise a plan to share his memories with his community.

Although The Giver is written in simple language, it is really a book for everybody. It is an incredibly-thought provoking story. I would definitely recommend it.

Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl

I have learned that we all have our three types of “knowns”: our known knowns, our known unknowns, and our unknown unknowns. What we do with them is up to us.

For example, Artemis Fowl puts his “knowns” to evil uses. This 12-year old criminal mastermind has many more known knowns than the average person. In other words, he is a genius. His family is no longer as rich as it used to be, so Artemis seeks ways to regain the money lost. He does not settle for any known method to gain wealth; he goes beyond the known knowns, beyond the known unknowns, and straight to the unknown unknowns. No one knows that fairies exist – until Artemis discovers them. Artemis resolves to use this now known known to restore his family’s wealth. After he captures one of the fairies, Captain Holly Short, Artemis thinks he can hold her ransom and the other fairies will give him all of their gold in order to get her back. Unfortunately for Artemis, he does not know what he is up against. These fairies have a highly advanced military and they are ready to fight.

This eight book series by Eoin Colfer is amazing. Artemis Fowl may just be one of the most interesting characters I have ever read about. In the beginning, he starts out as a villain. As the series progresses, however, Artemis Fowl changes. I realize this book is meant for younger readers, but I believe older readers will enjoy this story just as well.

Hoot

Hoot

Everyone is capable of making a difference in the world. You don’t even have to be an adult. In Hoot, Carl Hiaasen demonstrates that even children have the ability to make a difference.

Hoot is the story of a 12-year old boy named Roy who moves to Florida. Roy, a mysterious boy known as Mullet Fingers, and a tough girl named Beatrice quickly become involved in trying to save the burrow owl’s home from being destroyed by a corrupt company. The company wants to build a pancake restaurant on the grounds where the owls, who are an endangered species, live. It is up to the three friends to save these small, defenseless owls, and they are up to the challenge.

Hoot is a great book. In 2003, it won a Newberry Honor Award. It is a wonderful tale of friendship, sacrifice and standing up for what you believe in. Even though it is meant for middle school readers, I would recommend this book to everyone.