October Hedge a Gram

It's Fall, the energetic month, the perfect time to turn off the TV and surprise your friends with an amazing project.

Let me tell you about an experience that made me want to write to you about creativity. I met a woman who is a composer yesterday, and we got talking about doing creative work. I wasn't surprised to find that she did not have to be in the mood to compose a piece of music because I'm like that too. She just sits down and works. Of course the word "work" may give you the wrong impression because both of us think our work is fun. Some of my best ideas come when I least expect them. What works for me is to store them in my mind so they're ready when I at my art desk. If I can, I bring an object or get a book that reflects the idea I'm interested in.

Right now, I'm collecting images of polar bears and winter landscapes. I'm planning a trip to see a live polar bear at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago When it comes time to work on my future book, I'll have a lot of reminders of my fascination with polar bears. Maybe you'd like to start a special shelf in your room where you put things that intrigue you.

When your teacher asks for a writing assignment or you want to create a story or a picture you might find that shelf will get you started. For me, the hardest part is being patient. Since I spend a year forming each children's book, I have to put things aside. Let me know if you decide to start a "neat stuff" shelf, because I'd love to have you describe it to me. I think you'll find that if you get a friend to start one too, that you'll marvel at how different the things you choose are. That's because each of us are unique, and that's why your creative expression is so important. No one else in the world can create just like you.

Thank you to everyone who came to my book signings in Great Barrington, Massachusetts and Manchester Center, Vermont. I'm so happy you all love books so much. A nice bookstore owner gave me a great hedgehog counting book, Tea for Ten by Lena Anderson. If you love hedgehogs, as I do, you will appreciate this book's gentle humor for very little children. In the book, Hedgie and I liked the hedgehog's favorite plant. Can you guess what it is? Hint - its got prickles!

Bye for now,

Your friend,

Jan Brett