How to be Creative

Imogen Bond, our resident expert on all things creative, shares some wonderful winter reads for the festive season.

Summer reading lists of beach bestsellers might be all the rage but for me the winter months are when I read the most. I find the darker nights are perfect for hunkering down under a blanket, cup of tea in hand, and escaping into a story.

So here are three brilliant books for different age groups, that make wonderful winter reads. And in true Bumblebee style, each has its own creative suggestion to go with it. If you happen to try them out, do share what you make on Instagram, and tag me @bumblebeebooksonline – happy creating!

Wintering by Katherine May

This was my favourite winter lockdown read last year. It’s a beautiful, poignant, personal study of those periods in life when things feel dark and fallow. The book opens with a sudden family crisis, the fallout forcing May to retreat. Far from being a depressing read, it’s a great reminder of the power of rest, that we need those periods of ‘wintering’ for regrowth, and that light will always appear over the horizon.

Take a tip from the book and get out into nature to help restore you. On a cold, bright day, head out for a walk. Whether you stay urban or find some green space – make sure you look up.

Take photos of what you see: clouds, winter branches, buildings against the sky. Look for the light. Once home, use the photos as inspiration to write or draw in response, using the title ‘Winter Light’ to get you started.

Flight by Vanessa Harbour

This brilliantly atmospheric novel for 9 to 13 year olds is inspired by real events. Taken in as a stable hand for the precious Lipizzaner stallions that Hitler desperately wants to steal, Jakob finds warmth with the horses in amongst the horror of war. But when the horses are discovered, he and his guardian must get the stallions to safety. Joined by Roma orphan Kizzy, will they be able to get the horses across the perilous Austrian mountains?

Based on a true story, this is a gripping tale, told with a delicate touch. An incredible adventure about discovering what freedom really means.

Inspired by the foraged food that Jakob and Kizzy cook up in the mountains, create your own woodland (supermarket!) toasts. Cook wild mushrooms with garlic, plenty of butter, any herbs you collect from the garden and lots of seasoning – delicious piled onto toast. Or try a fridge forage and see what great combinations you can make with any leftovers.

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Extra Yarn is a big warm hug of a storybook. Annabelle lives in a cold, grey town but one day she finds a box of never-ending colourful yarn. She knits herself a snuggly jumper, then one for her dog, her neighbours, her family – in fact everyone and everything gets a jumper (even every house and pick-up truck!) – until she has knitted together her whole community. But still there is extra yarn!

Word spreads of the amazing knitter, and soon Annabelle must face a big decision but she knows that the never-ending yarn only works if you put your whole heart into it. A glorious story with beautiful woolly illustrations – a proper winter dose of love.

Take inspiration from Annabelle and create warming gifts for your friends. Using card, cut out jumper shapes, then using finger and thumb prints, cover the cut out with your own Christmas jumper design. 

Imogen Bond

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