Monday, December 2, 2019

Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections

Throughout my life, I've known quite a few collectors. My 'Buelita had a lovely collection of figurines she kept on a special bookshelf. Our neighbor collected stamps. And once, I visited the home of a woman who apparently collected everything. (Seriously, each room was dedicated to a specific collection - dolls, antique kitchen gadgets, figurines, thimbles, etc.)

My own children have had their share of collections. When they were younger, they were fascinated by objects that they found in nature - abandoned birds' nests, empty cicada shells, unusual stones or wood fragments, driftwood, feathers, seashells, and more. Even though most of the items have been discarded, there are still a few of those most precious finds that sit on their bookshelves today. The photo at the top of this page is from one of our beach trips six years ago. My girl collected all of the items, with the mermaid's purses being her most valued discovery.

When I was a little girl, I started a rock collection. I was too little to know what I was doing, of course, but my mother used to tell the story of how I made a little box and placed a bunch of rocks in it and labeled each one. I was smart enough to give them scientific-sounding names as she thought I had actually looked them up. She was so proud of me. Sadly, I didn't continue the practice of labeling rocks as I grew older, but I did continue the habit of collecting stones and gems (rose quartz, geodes, etc.) that I found to be unusual or beautiful.

I was reminded of this a few weeks ago while searching for gifts for my General Science class that I teach at our local homeschool co-op. Michaels had a box for rock collectors with separated compartments and I thought about how rock collecting must still be a thing for kids or the store wouldn't bother selling those display boxes.

So I looked up information on kid collectors. According to an article from the Child Development Institute, "Hobbies teach children to set and achieve goals, solve problems and make decisions. They can also set the course for what your child becomes later in life as they often turn into lifelong interests or careers."|

Psychology Today has a good article, too, describing how collecting things exercises a child's imaginative and cognitive skills. The authors remind us that children have been collecting items in their immediate environment for hundreds (may I say thousands?) of years. It's a way of making sense of our world and develops our sense of order and understanding.

In the Psychology Today article, the authors talk about how schools used to encourage kids to collect things as a hobby. Show and tell was often the time for sharing your prized collection of baseball cards, china dolls, comic books, or patches. And they lament the fact that the hobby of collecting is no longer given any attention in schools.

Maybe children don't collect things the way they used to? I find that hard to believe. Either way, I encourage you to nurture your children's passions and urge them to start a collection. It leads to research, organization, identification, creativity, presentation, and so much more.

The types of collections are really quite endless. Buttons, books, erasers, stickers, pins, marbles, toys, shells, rocks, Star Wars, LEGO, Harry Potter, Doctor Who... a child can collect anything.

Which leads me to today's book feature.

Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections is a new children's picture book by Michelle Schaub. It's the story of a student who has been given a school assignment to bring to class something that they collect. And one student doesn't have a collection, so she goes around and asks friends and family about their collections.

I love the concept of the book. And it is a well-written collection of poems. Every time you turn the page a new collection is featured. And the author tells you about all of the collections in poetry form.

I also enjoy the fact that the illustrations are by Carmen SaldaƱa, an artist who lives in northern Spain!

Here's a peek:

This might make a good gift for Christmas Eve - if you celebrate Jolabokaflod (Christmas Book Flood!) and gift a book to your loved ones.

You can find this book on Amazon.