SOMETHING FROM NOTHING by Damian Synadinos – Informational PB Review

Hank and Stella in Something from Nothing

by Damian Synadinos

At a Glance

Genre(s):

Informational picture book

Age Range:

ages 5-10, but can be enjoyed by anyone who is interested in improv

Plot:

“Hank and Stella in Something from Nothing” is an engaging story with cute characters that introduces children to improv principles and skills that are as useful on stage as they are at play and in life” (source).

The story follows two stuffed animals as they make a boring rainy day more fun by learning about imrov.

Strengths:

  • makes improv easy to understand for young children
  • illustrations are bright and engaging
  • a great tool when children say “I’m bored”
  • a great tool to teach that it’s okay to make mistakes

Would I recommend this title:

Yes, especially to those who are interested in improv

Full Review

I have seen various books on how to do improv, but they have always been geared towards adults or older teens. Enter Something from Nothing by Damian Synadinos, a picture book that teaches children the principles of improvisation in a fun and engaging way.

Hank and Stella show young readers how to play together, how to build their confidence and how to develop their imaginations. I especially like the fact that the book teaches children that it is okay to make mistakes and that we can grow and build on those small accidents.

One concept in the book is the “Yes, And” rule. It teaches a skill that I think is invaluable throughout life. Part of creativity and brainstorming in a team is building on what others say. Instead of shooting down and idea, you say “yes” and then continue to add your own input. This promotes innovation and collaboration.

I also love that the book comes with a list of improv games to get kids going. I can’t wait to try them out with my own kids as I think that they will have a blast trying them out.

Overall, this is an excellent book for showing kids how much fun improv can be, and  that it doesn’t have to be scary. The idea of standing up and performing on the spot kind of terrifies me. Maybe it wouldn’t be so scary if I had something like this when I was a kid.

 

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