Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Once Upon A Memory by Nina Laden

Once Upon A Memory by Nina Laden, illustrated by Renata Liwska

Rating: 5 stars

There is so much to love about this beautiful, thoughtful book. Its question is simple: does an object remember what it once was?

I read about this book HERE, at the official SCBWI blog. Once Upon A Memory is a Crystal-Kite award winner from Washington state (where I went to college and where part of my heart will always remain). The author began writing the poem that is now a book while walking along a beach. She picked up a feather and asked herself: I wonder...does a feather remember that it was once a bird?

Laden worked with that idea until she had a string of wonderings, and she carefully (and with the help of a great editor, she admits) and beautifully strung those wonderings together to make a poem. And then the talented Renata Liwska (you might remember her from The Quiet Book) drew up some soft, whimsical, sweet illustrations and all of a sudden, we readers get the gift of this book.
Does a feather remember it once was...a bird?
Does a book remember it once was...a word?
Does a chair remember it once was...a tree?
Does a garden remember it once was...a pea?

Does work remember it was once...play?
This is a softer, more thoughtful version of the fun, retro picture book What Goes Around Comes Around by Richard McGuire. But both books offer kids the opportunity to see that everything comes from somewhere, and that growth and change are enormous and inevitable parts of life.

Let me say that again: this book gently reminds kids that growth and change are enormous and inevitable parts of life. That makes me breathe a little easier as I help myself and my trio adapt to new routines, new schools, growing bodies (mine included!), etc...

I love how this book makes me pause on my harried daily routine and makes me wonder. And isn't that the best gift we can give to our kids, and the best thing we can remember to do as adults: wonder? Because we all should certainly do our best to remember that once, long ago, we began as kids. Wonder-filled kids.

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