What Do You Do With An Idea?

There was something magical about my idea. I had to admit, I felt better and happier when it was around.

Kobi Yamada, 2014

Welcome to the Garden of Big Ideas – it’s my favorite place.

I find myself in The Garden once in a while, usually after reading a book, listening to a podcast, or seeing an image where the creator just nailed it.

The most inspiring works are grown by those who dig deep, sow peculiar interests and nurture that magic with diligence and bravery.

Watching these big ideas bloom, I find myself eager to cultivate my own grand adventures.


Fostering Big Ideas in Little People

Before we think of how to set out on our big adventures, let’s concentrate on why.

Focusing on all of the steps ahead, planning around possible obstacles is a sure-fire way to squelch a great adventure before it has a chance to sprout.

All of us – littles and grown-ups alike, need to reserve some sense of wonder and put off the prep-work to some degree. I say this as the logic-bot of my friends and family, the compulsive planner and prepper. We need room in our brains for ridiculousness and whimsy.



The Garden of Big Ideas

A book bin for inspiration & daydreaming

For Ages 2.5 through adulthood


The Dot (Reynolds)

Great art doesn’t just happen. Being an artist is not an innate talent.

An artist has to explore an idea – how to make it BIG, how to make it deeper, how to give it more meaning and dimension. Otherwise it’s just marks on paper, pixels on a screen, or rubbish on a museum floor. The Dot is art Big Ideas 101 for every future artist or innovator.

This is the fun labor of exploration.

Ages 3+


What Do You Do With An Idea? (Yamada & Besom)

What Do You Do With An Idea? is the most gorgeously illustrated book I’ve come across this year.

This is not just a picture book for kids. There are layers of dimension in the story choice, the illustrative decisions, and the meta aspects of the book itself as an idea.

A cute little egg creates a symbol for intangible ideas that even Littles can understand.

This is an adventure every one of us could read, over and over, through childhood and beyond.

Ages 2.5+


If I Ran The Circus (Dr. Seuss)

Dr. Seuss has created a more popular book that speaks to inspiration, but I find the classic The Places You’ll Go contains too much metaphor and the text is so long that even patient little readers have a hard time sitting through it.

In contrast, the ornate illustrations of If I Ran The Circus explores a little boy’s wildest dreams as he pictures a dilapidated junk-lot. Typical Seuss, the text is a fun challenge to read and it embodies that “and what if…” concept that is crucial for any marvelous idea.

Ages 3.5+


The Umbrella (Schubert)

Illustration only – perfect for pre-readers!

The Umbrella is about big possibilities that stem from everyday things – a little black dog picks up a red umbrella and is whisked around the world for a multitude of adventures.

An illustration-only book, the pages are rich with details. Each spread does that awesome thing that hints about the adventure to come on the next page. Those hints offer great opportunities to discuss what Littles think will happen next.

Ages 2+


The Places You’ll Go (Dr. Seuss)

The Places You’ll Go is the path that leads us through the Garden of Big Ideas. It’s the classic that all children’s books on Big Ideas grow around.

As I mentioned before, I have reservations about the length and use of metaphors for younger kids. It’s best suited for kids past the concrete operational stage, or even older, if the reader is extremely literal-minded. As an autistic child, this book was a boring and somewhat puzzling read for me until I was formally taught about metaphors in literature.

But it’s still an amazing book, and it belongs in the Garden of Big Ideas as the path that leads us through and then out into grand adventure.


Join Books for Littles on Facebook  (Facebook group link), where the group is still going strong with other contributors.
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And then I realized, what you do with an idea…
You change the world.

Kobi Yamada, 2014

Leave a comment below – which books inspire you?