How much time did you spend daydreaming as a child?
Most writers remember how challenging, if not impossible, it was to stay in the present when a word triggered their imagination to soar into the future or back to past.
It was our ability to daydream, I suppose, that helped us survive the early years of childhood, even when it might have gotten us into trouble at school or at home for not paying attention.
Thanks to Nikki Grimes and her new verse novel, Words With Wings, I’ve spent the past few days daydreaming and enjoying memories (sparked by her poems) of just how large a role daydreaming has played in my life.
Grimes, the recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award of Excellence in Poetry for Children and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, reminds her readers of how daydreams, like magic carpets, can carry us away:
Words with Wings
sit still on the page
holding a story steady.
never get me into trouble.
But other words have wings
that wake my daydreams.
They fly in,
silent as sunrise,
tickle my imagination,
tickle my imagination,
and carry my thoughts away.
I can’t help but buckle up
for the ride.
It’s easy to sympathize with Gabby, who “can’t help but buckle up for the ride,” as she shares the challenges and pleasures of being a daydreamer in these poems.
Daydreams fill her imagination, that’s for sure, and they get her into trouble with her mom and with her new teacher, Mr. Spicer, who are frustrated with her for not paying more attention at home or in class.
Only her dad seems to understand the pleasures of daydreaming. He’s like her—a daydreamer, too:
Stuck in Dreamland
is wrong with me,
all this fancy dancing
in my mind.
Where I see red and purple
and bursts of blue,
everybody else sees
back and white.
Am I wrong?
Are they right?
I can’t ask Dad.
But Gabby can’t turn to him after her parents separate and she moves across town.
Luckily, she finds a new friend to share dreams with at school. And once Mr. Spicer understands the family problems facing Gabby and devises a plan to help her and her classmates learn the true value of daydreaming, Gabby no longer has to worry about being an outcast in her new school.
And, eventually, Gabby’s mother, who disapproves of daydreaming, comes to envy her daughter’s talent as a writer, and, like Mr. Spicer, develops a newfound respect for the value and true worth of daydreams.
If you don’t remember the pleasures (or hardships) of daydreaming when you were younger, this book will remind you.
And if you’re a writer, it may inspire you to turn your daydreams into stories.
For more information about Grimes and her work, visit: http://www.nikkigrimes.com
For more about Words with Wings, visit: http://www.nikkigrimes.com/books/bkwordswithwings.html