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.”
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.