- Zen Pencils: Inspirational Quotes for Kids
- illustrated by Gavin Aung Than
- published by Andrews McMeel Universal (2017)
I don’t know about you, but I’ve found it’s sometimes hard to get kids interested in certain historical figures. Unless they’re famous for something that REALLY interests my kids, they all too often shrug off my attempts to get them to learn more.
“Yeah, sure, Marie Curie. She’s cool, but nah, I don’t really want to read that book about her.”
Frustrating, to say the least.
And that’s where Zen Pencils comes in handy. Couched in “inspirational quotes” and presented with approachable art, the book introduces kids to almost two dozen trailblazers throughout history in a way that engages them and makes them want to learn more.
Zen Pencils is a webcomic that presents “inspirational quotes from inspirational folks.” In a nutshell, Gavin Aung Than takes quotes from famous people and adds an original comic strip over top of it. That combination reinterprets or recontextualizes the quote, making what might be an arcane or abstruse (or just outdated) quote incredibly relevant.
In other words, a Dalai Lama quote isn’t accompanied by a comic starring the Dalai Lama. It takes his words and make it relevant to the kids reading the book. Fair warning that not all of the comic strips on the website are kid friendly.
This book, though, takes a sampling of those strips and packages them up as inspirational reading for kids. And it succeeds in a big way.
The quotes represent a variety of individuals, from Confucius to Theodore Roosevelt to Amelia Earhart to Chris Hadfield. And it’s remarkable how Than takes their words and interprets them each in such unique ways.
Zen Pencils is simply a great book to inspire kids, no matter their age. Add it to all of your graduation gift lists. They’ll thank you later.