The Pages We Love
All of my colleagues at Art with Heart are wonderfully creative people with big hearts for children. Each of us came to the organization with the desire to empower kids, and we’ve benefitted right alongside the young lives we’ve worked hard to improve. One of the ways our days are warmed through our work is by spending time getting to know Art with Heart books and resources. Here are some of our very favorite pages, the ones we come back to time and again when we need to take a few minutes for self-care and to re-energize.
My favorite page is the Inspiration page in Ink About It (p. 14 -15). Not only do I like the pseudo-watercolor effect that makes the images soft and the almost Picasso-style artwork (specifically Guernica), but the substance of the page is also very meaningful to me. It is so easy for anyone to lose focus and to feel lost—writing and drawing and doodling about your Inspiration is centering and cathartic.
One of my favorite exercises is the Thank Bank (p. 40-41) in Draw It Out. The beauty is in the use of space on the page. There is a big, blank, beautiful pig centered across two pages, and surrounding the pig are drawings of animals doing all sorts of wonderful things. The page is structured, but without obvious structure. It presents thought starters without guiding the child. It invites both drawing within and outside the lines at the same time.
I love the Bridges page in Chill & Spill. This page is all about transition and getting from one place to the next, asking the reader to consider their relationship to others as well as in space. I come back to this page both as a person who has often been in transition and also because all relationships feel like living things to me, and I want to understand my relationship to them as clearly as possible. This page helps me gain clarity on where I am and whether that’s where I want to be: if I’m asking someone else to move, or if I need to be the one who is doing some shifting.
I love pages 28 & 29 in Draw It Out: Chit Chat and Listen to Me. These two pages are a very effective way to improve communication between a suffering child and their caregiver. They prompt kids to write what people say to them that is helpful and not so helpful. Additionally, the prompts ask kids to write down what they wish they had the opportunity or courage to say to others. A child has multiple companions when working on this—the caregiver sitting by her side, as well as the hedgehog and other little creatures drawn so thoughtfully on the page.
I love the Shoulda Woulda Coulda page in Chill & Spill because it tackles negative self-talk in a light, playful way. As someone who tends to be pretty hard on herself, I know all too well how negative self-talk can be destructive and keep you stuck in a cycle of telling yourself hurtful, untrue things. Shoulda Woulda Coulda helps you put those thoughts into perspective, take control of them, and break the cycle!
I really love the Circle Journey page in Chill & Spill. There is so much beauty in creating a mandala, and this activity allows you to write down your strengths and fears, and how you manage them. Acknowledging what you are fearful of gives you power as well as an understanding of how those fears can shape you. Taking positive steps to combat them exposes you to a deeper understanding of what makes you vulnerable, and seeing all of these characteristics represented in a mandala is wonderful way to express yourself.
Do you have a favorite page? A favorite exercise? A favorite little creature or figure from one our books? We want to hear from you!