What If…

What If…
Written by Samantha Berger, Illustrated by Mike Curato

Publisher’s Summary:
A child who likes to draw and write stories imagines what would happen if there were no pencils, paper, or other tools for being creative.

Primary Source Pairing:
What If… is a celebration of the creative spirit.  In the author’s note, Samantha Berger writes that after a flood in her home and a loss of a creative project, she reevaluated how creativity is embodied through all of life’s ups and downs. This book shows that creativity knows no bounds. For this primary source pairing, use a painting from 1772 or 1773 by a Japanese artist named Isoda Koryūsai showing two women folding origami. Use this image as a way to remind students that people have been creating art and using their creativity in unique ways for hundreds – even thousands of years. As an extension activity, offer an origami project as a collaboration with an art teacher or as a text type activity. When teaching text types, I often use origami instructions as a reminder that informative texts such as recipes, instructions, or origami directions are meant to be consulted many times during the reading process. 

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What people and objects are shown?
  • How are they arranged?
  • What is the physical setting?
  • What’s happening in the image?
  • Make a connection between this painting and a page or idea from the book What If….

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Orizuru o tsukuru shōjo painting by artist Isoda Koryūsai: Library of Congress