Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Start with a Word: A Journal for Finding Your Voice

Start with a Word: A Journal for Finding Your Voice

Peter H. Reynolds
Activity Book
For ages 6 to 8
Abrams , 2019   ISBN: 978-1419738296

Most of us take words for granted. We use them all the time to communicate, to find out things, and to share ideas. They are all around us on signs, in books and magazines, on screens, and through voices. The thing we forget is that words are “wonderful, powerful, persuasive, and beautiful,” and they are a gift that we should relish and enjoy. One way to do this is to keep a journal. For many people journals or diaries are tools in which they write about daily doings, aspirations, and dreams. The fun thing is that journals can also be a place where you keep a word collection. You can also explore fresh and new ways to play with words through lists, stories, poems and more.

In this wonderful guided journal, Peter Reynolds, the author of Dot, Ish, and many other books, helps writers to build a word journal of their own. He begins the journey simply by telling his readers what tools they will need. Then he invites us to share our name, which is probably one of the first words we learned to recognize when we were little. What would we change our name to if we could? If we wrote a book what would our pen name be? If we became spies what would our undercover alias be? Then, to get us started on a creative path, he invites us to write an acrostic poem using our name. Who knew that a simple name could lead us down so many paths!

Building on our name adventure, we go on to write down words that describe us and our lives in various ways. We explore our favorite words, and words that have special meaning to us.

In this book the interesting and exciting thing is that we never quite know what Peter is going to ask us to do next. Every new page leads us on another branch of our journey. For example, we get to name colors (“Misty Moss” anyone?) and rename everyday objects. We get to know a word in depth, and we are invited to examine the words that are floating inside us, as well as the ones that are out in the world. We even get to invent ice cream flavors and create names for our flavor combinations. In Peter Reynolds’ word world just about anything goes!

This book would make a wonderful gift for practically anyone. Even people who are not naturally drawn to words will enjoy exploring this journal. Wonderful prompts, interesting ideas, and amusing illustrations are combined in an engaging, entertaining, and thoughtful way.