Reading Inspires Imagination and Play

Well,” said Frances, “it is time to say good-bye. I am on my way. Good-bye.”


“Where are you running away to? said Father.


“I think that under the dining-room table is the best place,” said Frances. 

“It’s cozy, and the kitchen is near if I run out of cookies.”

- from A Baby Sister for Frances by Russell Hoban

I don’t know if my parents bought our copy of A Baby Sister for Frances because I too was about to become a big sister, or if it’s path to our house was more random. I do remember reading it over and over. I also remember how it inspired me to make the momentous decision to run away, just like Frances. 

I don’t know how old I was at the time, but I have a memory of packing my bag with a few of my favorite things, grabbing a package of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, and maybe even our copy of A Baby Sister for Frances and “running away” under the baby grand piano in our living room. I probably even sang a little song. 

Books are like that. They inspire and often jumpstart the imagination, moving young readers to reenact a favorite scene or create an all new story line of their own. Reading inspires imagination and creative play, it’s reason #1 why I love books and reading. (Not necessarily my top reason, but the first one I’m sharing with you here.) 

Do you hope to inspire that same type of imagination and play in your children? Make books widely accessible in your home, go to the library often, sit down and read to your kids. Then, be on the look out for how the stories you share together weave their way into your child’s imagination and show up in their play. 

Do you have any early memories of how books inspired your play or how they inspired your children’s? I would love to hear your stories.