Summertime is perfect for getting creative, and “To Make,” a new picture book from L.A. author Danielle Davis and illustrator Mags DeRoma, is a fun guidebook to creativity and its process.
The book “contains what I think of as the building blocks for any creative process: gather, make, wait,” Davis says. “When making something, we follow these steps for every new undertaking. They are the rhythm of creativity, each its own beat and meter, challenge and reward.”
Upon opening the pages of “To Make,” readers are treated to spare, anticipatory text prompting page turns, complemented by expansive spreads in muted tones. Kids and parents will want to read this book again and again. DeRoma says she “used all kinds of art supplies, from graphite to pastels to gouache, paper and glue, and a fair amount of waiting (for the paint to dry, of course) to create the illustrations for this book.” The art beautifully and simply conveys the joy children experience when making something — whether that’s something they’ve done before or are attempting for the first time.
In a series of creative endeavors initiated by kids, such as baking a cake, growing a garden or, my favorite, making a story, Davis’ appealing prose encourages children’s individual approaches to their projects with the motivating repetition of the words “gather, make and wait.” And while waiting may feel like forever, the end result is totally worth it. The reader, along with the story’s characters, will rejoice in the final products depicted in a glorious spread of everyone sharing.
“To Make” urges us to “keep making.” Davis wrote the manuscript when that’s what she needed to tell herself, when her own path as a writer was murky and uncertain. “And it’s what I want to tell every child, every reader: You have something wonderful to share with the world. Keep at it.”