Author Uses ‘The Force’ to Inspire Reading, Origami, and More

I’ve tried getting my kids into origami before. A dozen or more steps to create a paper crane just doesn’t excite a boy who likes to line up peculiar plastic creatures and make them yell and knock each other down.

My daughter struggles with the folds. By the time we finish, either she ends up with a seriously misshapen beast or I’ve done the whole thing for her. Heck, then it’s mine. It’s just not that fun for us.

So why for two days was I not able to cut squares of paper fast enough or stock the right folding papers or print directions in a timely manner? My son has found origami that speaks to him, and when it does it uses the voices of his favorite Star Wars characters. “Fold this corner next, you will.”

origami Yoda

The first of many origami Star Wars characters my son has created.

In preparation for the book signing of Tom Angleberger’s latest book in the Origami Yoda series, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, we were a busy bunch. Each book comes with origami directions for a Star Wars character the book is based on and Angleberger’s site origamiyoda.com includes even more fun origami directions. My son made them to take to the book signing.

Angleberger did not disappoint. If you didn’t know how to make an origami Yoda when you went, you did when you left. He showed the kids a good time, their way, with drawings and shooting boogers and lots of kids named Larry.

Seeing an author in person inspires kids. They can get lost in a good story, but meeting an author and hearing that he was a weird kid makes him relatable. Kids identify with someone like that. If they’re not the weird kid, they know someone who is. They see he turned out all right and that gives them hope. Maybe it lets them know they’re OK and that one day all of those odd little mushroom men and eraser beings they make and curious things they do have the potential to be something big.

And us parents who take our kids to see inspiring authors like Angleberger, we have to remember that too. Every little thing our kids do, read, watch, build, play, or draw could inspire them in hundreds of ways we’ll never know. Today’s strange little creatures could be tomorrow’s movie or book or sculpture or song. Hey, a mother can hope too.

Darth Paper origami

Your mother doesn’t want you to join the Dark Side.

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24 Comments

Filed under Boy Stories

24 responses to “Author Uses ‘The Force’ to Inspire Reading, Origami, and More

  1. Being that I am not at all crafty, I am super impressed!

    • I try to be and it often fails miserably. Take today. We made cake pops. My heavens, they look like blue globs on a stick. My son said they are supposed to be round. I told him they are homemade. Perfection just isn’t my thing.

  2. I love “fold this next corner, you will”. I think doing any craft with Yoda instructions would be inspiring. Y’know “do or do not” and all that 🙂

    Being weird and nerdy is awesome!

  3. Love it! And way impressed that you even try to do origami with your kids. I don’t even pretend to want to do that. all i can imagine is a lot of ripped paper and all of us crying with frustration!
    my son loves those books too. still, paper airplanes is about as origami as i get. 🙂

    • Um, there may have been a moment or two of that. R2-D2 had a tricky part. We took a break, made up, and pressed our creases. Most of them my son did by himself. A few instructions required translation. Following technical directions can be extremely frustrating but I edit them a lot. That helps!

  4. I’ve tried to get my kids to do it to…I always end up doing it for them. Maybe in a couple of more years.

  5. My kids love these books, too! Great post:)

  6. So awesome! I love when kids “get” origami. It is super fun to do at home, on the bus, under the school table when you’re supposed to be reading…

    Origami can be REALLY addicting. For kids, Jeremy Shafer is the bomb. I highly recommend both of his books for your home library (“To Astonish and Amuse” and “Ooh La La”) for young, creative minds – and for mom when she gets bored. Just be sure to stock up on square paper; you’ll need it.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeremyshaferorigami?feature=results_main is his channel. Fun stuff!!

    • Sometimes it just takes that special something to get them hooked. Once my son got into these characters, my daughter started paying attention. And so did the grandparents. Girligami by Cindy Ng arrived in the mail. Now my daughter makes cupcakes, ice cream cones, and dresses out of origami. I tell you, I still can’t make a paper crane. This stuff is fun!

  7. I’ve been trying to get my kids into origami as well, but they fail to grasp the career opportunities.

  8. So cool!! I think my little Star Wars fan (and his daddy!) will love this! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  9. Angleberger visited our elementary school, and was a big hit with all of the kids. Sometimes, author visits are not very inspiring, but he was an engaging speaker.

  10. Like it, I do!

    Since I was such a dorky kid – oh, and adult – should I write children’s books?

  11. Very cool! Now be prepared to carry a pack of origami paper in your purse for the next few year 🙂 It’s actually something I did when the kids were younger, and it helped out wonderfully when faced with long lineups or wait times in restaurants.

  12. I tried origami with one of the boys when he was little. He had fun with it at school but lost interest when he saw my sad efforts. I bet it all would have been different if we had had a Star Wars origami book. How cool.

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