Thursday, January 13, 2011

Does your teaching program need a little Zing?

Mora, Pat. Zing! Seven Creativity Practices for Educators and Students. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin/SAGE, 2010. 140 pp. ISBN 978-1-4129-7839-2, $23.95 (pb).

Educators looking for that “zing” or energy boost to begin inspiring creativity in themselves and their students will find plenty of useful tidbits, encouraging dichos, and delightful anecdotes from well-known Latina poet, educator, and children’s author Pat Mora. Written as a series of letters to educators, the book is grounded in seven creativity practices: value your creative self, enjoy quiet, gather your materials, begin your project, revise, share your creations, and steadily persist in your creative work. Each of the seven chapters contains two letters: one meant to inspire educators’ personal creativity and one meant to support educators as they facilitate creative opportunities in their students.

Mora’s poetic voice, which describes her international travels and experiences as a cultural outsider, provides just enough encouragement and real-world sensibility to motivate teachers and librarians serving children from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Opportunities for further exploration of the creative practices and writing invitations are provided throughout the book. Pair this with Maya Christina Gonzalez’s Claiming Face for the perfect mix of philosophical and practical ideas for integrating creativity into classrooms to promote cultural understanding and positive ethnic identity development.

Jamie Campbell Naidoo, Ph.D.
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa