Novel ideas to fuel creativity

Guest blog by Anisha Patel, a curator for Biblio

Commemorative days to mark anything and everything are on the rise, from Friendship Day, Bring Your Dog to Work Day to World Burger Day. Some are excessive, pointless and commercial nonsense. But there are others I consider meaningful, important and necessary.

Today is World Book Day.

In the UK, it’s a day primarily focused on encouraging children to read and explore the pleasures of books. This is an incredibly valuable exercise to enrich the minds of children.

I’m sure many of you recollect your favourite childhood books or authors. Like many, I loved Roald Dahl and was totally absorbed in the worlds he created. I remember trying to test whether I had a magic finger, if my Cadbury bar would unlock the world of Oompa-Loompas and on my first trip to New York I had a chuckle as I saw the Empire State Building minus peach!

Children invent worlds to play in, have imaginary friends and develop stories. They’re making sense of the world: what’s real, what’s fantasy, where the boundaries of the imagination lie and whether the BFG or the Witches exist. Reading fiction contributes significantly to empowering and fuelling children to dream, imagine and create.

But as we grow up we limit our opportunities to escape and create. Understanding reality shouldn’t preclude us from fantasising and delighting over imaginary worlds.

Celebrate the joy and value of reading — for everyone

The mission behind World Book Day is to celebrate the joy and value of books and reading — for everyone. Hence my appeal is to use World Book Day to pick up some fiction for yourself and celebrate reading.

We need creativity just as much as children. There are an abundance of studies and success stories illustrating how applying creativity helps in the workplace, can lead to better decision-making and support us in handling real-world challenges.

Ed Catmull, the co-founder of Pixar, explains in Creativity Inc. how we can reach great heights in originality and shares the techniques used to produce some of the world’s famous and inventive Pixar animations.

Just last month, Adam Grant, the youngest professor at Wharton, published Originals, revealing that championing creativity and driving creative progress can improve our businesses, ourselves and the world around us.

Putting studies and data aside, we’ve also witnessed the phenomenon of Harry Potter — intended for children and young adults, yet the books occupied top spots on adult best-seller lists. J.K. Rowling created an intricate world full of magic and wonderful characters that the series also garnered our attention. Just because as adults we know Hogwarts doesn’t exist, it doesn’t diminish our pleasure in reading Harry Potter and doesn’t inhibit us from imagining Harry’s world.

So let’s use World Book Day to rebuild and sustain a creative culture. Let’s pick up a work of fiction today and nurture our imagination and originality. Let’s be children and celebrate the power that reading has to fuel our creativity.

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