Baltimore, MD

"Imagination Celebration" Returns to the Pratt Library

Susan Kelley

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Child searching books at the library.Photo by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash

The Enoch Pratt Libraries are a longstanding staple in the Baltimore area, and last summer Baltimore's kids truly missed what's known as "Imagination Celebration," a month-long celebration of children's creativity and imagination sponsored by the Pratt libraries to honor kids.

It's back this May, celebrating children's imaginations everywhere with exciting programs throughout the month. This year, the Pratt libraries are highlighting Everywhere, Wonder by Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr. This delightful children's picture book explores all of the wonder in the world, while encouraging kids to discover and share their creativity with those around them. The book can be checked out from a local branch, or you can snag the eBook from the Pratt’s eLibrary.

According to the authors, Everywhere, Wonder tells the story of a boy who sets out to discover the beauty of his world—from the pyramids of Egypt to a dusty footprint on the Moon, and then back again to the wonders to be found right outside his window

As part of the fun, the Pratt Library offers on-site Wonder Kits that are filled with activities for little ones to encourage their exploration into creativity as well. The Wonder Kits include craft supplies to help bolster their fun throughout the program, and pair up with the library's other activities. Sponsored by partner Transamerica, the kits are a make-and-take delight for preschoolers and are free at all Enoch Pratt library locations throughout the Baltimore area. (Parents should note that the kits contain a latex balloon.) Wonder Kits will be on hand from May 1-29 on a first come, first served basis while supplies last and are intended for kids ages 3-5.

On Wednesday, May 5, part of the program includes a reading of Everywhere, Wonder and a discussion of storytelling plus the opportunity to meet author Matthew Swanson and illustrator Robbi Behr. After the event, participants will learn the basics of binding, and work together to create an illustrated book and then work independently to make illustrated journals on their own. The half-day event will take place on Zoom, and participants can Register ahead of time to access the free event.

Part of the program includes the free book, My Book of Wonder, which can be picked up at any branch of the Pratt libraries while supplies last from May 1-22, or you can print your own copy at home. The self-writing book is a great adventure for kids, allowing them to create a journal with prompts to complete from an "About the Author" page to "the most amazing thing I've ever imagined is..." and offers room for self-illustration. When competed, each child will have a self-completed story to keep or share.

On Saturday, May 8, the Pratt Libraries are offering a Facebook Live Event to follow the Book of Wonder creations called "Finding the Wonder and Telling Your Story," where the authors will talk in more depth about the importance of paying close attention to the large and small wonders of the world around us and using those observations to share stories. They will discuss how they collaborated to complete their book and engage with participants. Registration for the event is available in advance, but is not required.

Upcoming events that are part of the Imagination Celebration include a Constellation Take & Make, String Theory Puppet Show, Nature Mindfulness Walk, and more.

Throughout the summer, the Enoch Pratt Free Libraries sponsor dozens of events similar to the Imagination Celebration for all ages. Check their website to discover what events are now being held in-person, as COVID restrictions ease. Many events are still held virtually, and some are returning to in-person. The libraries are again open with limited hours using enhanced safety protocols for all users.

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Susan is a runner, avid traveler, mom of three grown children, and a newly-transplanted Baltimorean who follows tech trends, especially at the intersection of health and the public good. Sound intriguing? It is. Often, technology is at odds with the "earthy-crunchy," but sometimes, it is a real boost. Susan is an avowed supporter of women's and human rights, so that situates well here.

Baltimore, MD
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