What makes a book magical? When it inspires and can change your thinking.

“Ish” by Peter Reynolds does just that.

It’s the perfect book to read at the start of any school year, but especially this year — a year fraught with so many unknowns and so many unexpected hurdles. Why? Because it’s a book that encourages you to suspend perfection and instead, live in “ish.”

After all, this is the most ‘ish’ year ever, right? 

I pulled this book out because one of my three kids was having trouble with blank sheets of paper. Two would look at a blank sheet of paper as an adventure; the third? An abyss. Another one was really struggling with virtual learning and getting snared in a personal quest to only submit answers that were “100% right.” It makes sense that they fell into this trap; before COVID, computers were used for assessment. Now, they are a conduit for all learning. Learning is messy — not a neat array of chronological files in Schoology. It’s not an environment naturally conducive to the necessary stumbling that happens when tackling new concepts.

We needed to remind ourselves about the “ish.”

What is ish? Having the courage to experiment with creativity rather than worry about getting everything right. Understanding that learning and creating is a process.

Being ok with an imperfect journey.

Cool Book Nook: Ish

Here’s the synopsis of the story (which is gorgeously illustrated, by the way: 

Drawing is what Ramon does. It’s what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon’s older brother, Leon, turns Ramon’s carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just “right.”

When we change our perspective, we can create. 

Creating — and living creatively — is much more fulfilling than always getting things right.

(I think I needed to hear that as much as my kids did.)

This is not a new book (it was first published in 2004), but its message is timeless. If you already own it, read it to your kids tonight. If you don’t, you’ll want to add it to your bookshelf! Purchase it from your favorite independent bookstore or from Amazon.

Cheers to a school year of “ish.”

This post contains an affiliate link. That means that if you end up purchasing the book from Amazon, (cool) progeny will get a small percentage of the sale.