I recently came across an amazing children’s picture book that I would love to share with you. In I’m NOT Just A Scribble, Diane Alber introduces the very important main character, Scribble to the world. Scribble is left out because he is different from the drawings he comes across. Spoiler alert: Scribble is resilient and teaches the drawings to accept him for who he is. They come together to play and make amazing art together. This is a wonderful book that brings up things like discrimination, diversity, meanness and exclusion, but in a simple, creative way that kids can relate to. Scribble and his positive attitude prevail and the drawings are better off with a little Scribble. What I find even more magical about this book, as an art teacher, is the importance of a scribble. So often children are pressured to draw something recognizable before they are capable of doing so. Parents often ask, “What is it?” (A question that is so hard to avoid.) Let a scribble just be a scribble. It has its place and time in art.
Creative Art for the Developing Child: It isn’t until age 2 1/2 that the control of movement reaches the wrist. At that age, children universally start making circular motions in their scribbles, the result of having practiced wrist movements. As children’s awareness of their ability to control their movements grows, they begin trying things out, inventing things to do, and experimenting with this ability. As growth continues, development moves from the wrist to the fingertips when children are 5 or 5 1/2 years of age. Only then can they have full control over the entire hand and perform the complex movements that misguided adults often asked them to perform at an earlier age. While children between the ages of 3 and 5 are processing through the scribbling sequence, they are also beginning to experiment with symbolization, which eventually leads to representation.
In her book The Artful Parent, on the topic of Scribbling Is a Precursor to Writing, Jean Van’t Hul writes, “Babies and toddlers begin by scribbling randomly, back and forth. The more they scribble, the more they are able to control the crayon and its movements across the paper. As children learn to control their scribbling, they make a wider variety of shapes, eventually making all the shapes necessary to write the letters of the alphabet – any alphabet.”
Oh, I could go on to quote Susan Striker of Young at Art or talk about my love for Mary Ann F. Kohl of Scribble Art and go off on an art teacher rant, but I will just say, “Check out this book.” It is a great addition to any home or classroom. Diane also offers a workbook. The book and workbook come with stickers for kids to make their own Scribbles and explore different emotions.
I shared I’m NOT Just a Scribble with some of my students and they made their own Scribbles using the stickers that came with the book. You can always order more stickers or just use googly eyes once you run out.
My son is laid up with a broken leg. I read the book to him and gave him the workbook to make Scribbles in.
He took it even further and started to make his own Scribble book. I hope you check out this fun, creative book and let me know what you think in the comments below. Thanks, Amber