Opening a children’s book can be the start of a wonderful adventure—one that introduces us to new places, new ideas, and new understandings of ourselves. And the journey doesn’t end when we read the last page. In fact, many times, that is just the beginning!
We’ve heard from readers of all ages about how our children’s books have helped them find the words to voice their own dreams—then harness the passion needed to pursue them. Whether they were inspired to take bold chances by the little boy in the What Do You Do With… series or believed in their own unique magic after reading Maybe, each reader’s story is a reminder of the amazing things that can happen when we connect to our own endless possibilities.
In honor of National Reading Month, we’re sharing a few of these inspiring stories with you.
A Symphony That Can Be Heard Around the World
What do you do with an idea? For the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in Australia, the answer was to create a musical experience that can be performed around the globe! Inspired by the brave protagonist of our New York Times best-selling book, the symphony commissioned award-winning composer Paul Rissmann to write a symphony of What Do You Do With an Idea?, complete with theatrical elements and a children’s choir. After a successful run in Australia, the work was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, reminding audiences that ideas really can make a difference all around the world.
Listen to portions of the orchestral performance here.
A Dance Performance to Bring Audiences to Their Feet
Bill Wade, the founder and executive/artist director of the Inlet Dance Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio, was brought to tears as he read the words of What Do You Do With an Idea? in his local bookstore. There, inside the pages of this little book, he found his own story—one of a persistent idea that just wouldn’t go away. His idea eventually became the dance theater he now leads and loves. Wade knew he wanted others to connect with their own brilliant ideas, so he brought the storybook to the stage. Wade choreographed a dance performance based on the children’s book, which included an original score and uplifting narration. The dance premiered at the renowned Playhouse Square in Ohio before touring in several cities in the US. Take a peek here.
A Little Boy Determined to Preserve Wetlands and Protect His Favorite Animal
Justin Sather was in kindergarten when he first learned that nearly one-third of frog species are on the verge of extinction. Frogs were his favorite animal, so he knew he had to do something to help. After reading What Do You Do With an Idea?, he decided to start Justin’s Frog Project to spread the word and encourage more young people to get involved. The young activist started out making and selling toy frogs to raise money for wetlands around the world. Now at 12 years old, Justin has raised enough money to protect 40 acres of land in Ecuador and has helped create the world’s first youth-funded reserve in the Chocó rainforest with the Reserva Youth Council! His advice to others wanting to make a difference? “Start off small, take chances, and be brave!”
Learn more about Justin’s inspiring work here.
A Championship Field Hockey Team Determined to Take Bold Chances
When the Northport Varsity Field Hockey Team advanced to the semifinals in April 2021, they knew they had something special. But at halftime, they were down 2-1 and it was clear that the fear of defeat had taken over. The night before, their coach, Libby Courtemanche, read a children’s book to her own kids and thought its message was just what the team needed to hear. So she shared the story of What Do You Do With a Chance? She talked about the little boy in the book who hesitated to grab hold of the chances that came his way because he was afraid of missing them. And she explained that once he decided to reach for his chance, exciting things happened. She reminded the team this was their big chance, and this was their time to reach out and grab hold. The story ignited a fire, and the players went back onto the field and won their semifinals game in overtime.
Before finals, Coach Libby gave each player a little wooden butterfly key chain—painted gold in honor of the ones in the book—as a reminder of the big chances on the horizon. The team ended that season as the Long Island champions! Now, nearly two years later, they have two state championships under their belts, and the beloved children’s book has become an important part of their culture. “We read it during preseason each year so the new members of our team hear it,” says Coach Libby. “Every member is encouraged to take chances, and when they see their chance, hold on tight! No one is critical of a mistake made when someone is taking a risk. Instead, we support each other.”
What exciting possibilities are stirring within you? What passions are nudging you to give them a chance? What brilliant ideas will you share with the world? Discover a children’s book to inspire you on your journey.