“If you are a dreamer, come in…”
Back in April I started this blog to give myself some sort of platform to profess my thoughts and muses about books, childhood, imagination, and reading. Confession: this has been my first post in almost a month. Thank you all for being so patient with me while I gather up new material to compose into blog-like thoughts!
Some things have changed since my last post: School is out for the summer holiday (I think I am going through teaching withdraw!) I have also started two online summer classes, and for anyone who is not familiar with online classes, there is a lot of writing that needs to be done to complete all that is required in a shortened semester. That being said, I love my summer classes. One of the courses I am taking is all about Children’s Literature, a class that has provided me with a lot of blog fuel!
For anyone who loves to read and adores children’s books, please take this class! I am in love. I am not one to read a syllabus too closely but I read the book selection section for this class about a dozen times. Authors such as Kate DiCamillo, Brian Selznick, Neil Gaiman, and David Wienser are required reading! I have so much inspiration, and am ready to write, write, write! So without further ado, I give you, Rose on Reading: “The Invention of Dreams.” Enjoy!
Fact: daydreaming and reading go hand-in-hand. I know that when I finish a great book, that night I will dream of the adventures that I had within the pages. As I wake I ponder those sleeping visions as my day begins. Daydreaming has always been my way of reliving those paper worlds without even having to open up the book. But I was never able to really put to words why. And finally, this past week, as I was rereading Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret for my Children’s Lit class, it hit me: The thesis to describe my book-daydreaming phenomenon!
“If you’ve ever wondered where your dreams come from when you go to sleep at night, just look around. This is where they are made.”
[Brian Selznick: The Invention of Hugo Cabret]
In this Caldecott Medal winning book, Selznick merges a silent film with the printed world. If you have not read this book, please, please do! (Don’t be overwhelmed with its large page count, for treasures await inside its binding.)
The book begins by paying homage to classic film, with the curtain closed, and a narrator inviting the audience to picture a scene. Then after the reader has the scene described floating through the imagination department of the mind, the page is turned, taking the newly established dreamer on an adventure of pencil-drawn illustrations and storytelling. Please click here to see a video montage of the first selection of illustrations and you will know exactly what I mean!
Did you watch it? You know that feeling where your heart starts to feel warm, you mind begins to swirl with pictures of wonder and intrigue, and your fingers twitch, going through a page turning motion: that means you are ready to enter the world of a dream.
Perhaps you feel as Bilbo Baggins does:
“He wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.”
[J. R. R. Tolkien]
That rush of adventurous notions is exactly how I felt, that’s for sure! And Selznick explains why! “Look around, this is where they are made.” Now this quote is made by the fictionalized adaptation of the historic filmmaker, Georges Méliès. And of course, this written Méliès is referencing filmmaking, but I believe that Selznick, through this groundbreaking filmmaker, is also referring to books!
And on top of connecting this idea of dream-making to books, is the added importance of creating these feelings for children to enjoy. After all, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a children’s book.
Who better to enjoy a dream than a child: full of unlimited make-believing skills!
Working at a school that offers full-day care for children 6 weeks to twelve-years-old, I have heard my share of fantastic dreams my students have had during nap time. Just this week one of my six-year-olds woke up from a nap laughing. He instantly got up and sat next to me with eagerness to tell me about his hilarious dream about becoming a giraffe tamer.
“Dreams is full of mystery and magic . . . . Do not try to understand them.”
[Roald Dahl: BFG]
“Don’t try to understand them” says Roald Dahl. Instead, why don’t we harness those dreams, and turn them into more? Write them down! Children’s books are filled with dreams. Whether they are the dreams of the author, or ones that have been passed down, they are dreams, nonetheless.
So, here we are, at the title of my post: The Invention of Dreams. Books harness those dreams, causing readers to invent more dreams. If you are a reader, then you are a dreamer, and if you are a reading dreamer, then you are an inventor and your dreams, inventions. And if you look up the definition for the word, “invention,” you will find this description: “an act or instance of creating or producing by exercise of the imagination.”
For Hugo Cabret, his invention, his dreams, his imagination, lead him through an adventure all the way home. Where will your inventions lead you? Not sure? Pick up a book, and get ready to dream!
“A book is a dream that you hold in your hands.”
Your Constantly Inventing Friend,