A book with a bit of a difference this week – instead of a novel or picture book, I’m reviewing a sort of activity book: Unbored The essential field guide to serious fun by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen.
I’ve gone through loads of these over the years. One of the drawbacks of being a home educator (yes, there are some) is that you don’t get to (easily) outsource your children for others to entertain. Meaning that you are forever seeking new ways to shoehorn a bit of education in, while being fun. Or at least I am. So I’ve got lots of books titled 101 activities to do without television, or things to do when you’ve nothing to do. That sort of thing. They’re usually fairly predictable, and tbh, a bit pointless.
Unbored is different. Very different. Instead of opening it and going yeah, yeah, I opened it and went Ooh! To begin with, the introduction is subtitled Use the world or the world will use you. It goes on to say
Unbored… the first kids’ book to truly encourage a hands-on approach to creating a personally meaningful life. To live any other way is to swallow whatever pap the world doles out to you ‘on the end of that long newspaper spoon’, in the words of William S Burroughs. This book is a powerful antidote to those forces that constantly try to shape us into passive consumers of pre-made reality.
I think you may be beginning to see why this book appeals so strongly to someone who goes by the online name ‘liveotherwise’
Does it live up to the introduction though? So far I haven’t read it cover to cover (there are over 350 pages!) but it certainly seems to. There are book excerpts eg Anne of Green Gables and South. There are comics, lots of suggestions on training your grownup (the grownups might want to check these out first ), games, experiments, sections on exploring, saving the planet and expanding your horizons.
Your child, following these suggestions might become a yarn bomber, or start reading banned books. (given some of the books that have been banned around the world for the most ridiculous of reasons, this seems like an excellent start to a reading list.) They might save the planet – you could discover they’ve started taking stuff apart and fixing it. (Good luck. I suggest you hide anything you’re particularly fond of in its current state.)
There’s a fantastic article on unschooling and how it worked out for one girl in the Do it Yourself section of Chapter 1 – You. And a well argued article on why and how to train your grownup (that’s probably you) to stop saying you’re brilliant. (If you aren’t sure why this is a good idea, may I recommend the writings of Alfie Kohn and some self education on the terms intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.)
You may be getting the idea that this really isn’t just another activity book. It’s subversive, entertaining, thought provoking and generally a bit brilliant. I’d like to recommend a copy for every family in the country, and if you can’t spring for that, I’d definitely recommend that you head over to the website, Unbored. Or you could enter my competition to win a copy…
Competition – win Unbored!
To enter to win your own copy of Unbored, just leave me a comment telling me your favourite activity to keep yourself from boredom. The competition closes next Thursday 25th July at midnight so that I can announce the winner next Friday. And you can have an extra entry for sharing this post, using the badge or joining the linky with your own Read52 post – but you must leave an extra comment for each thing you’ve done, telling me what it is. I’m afraid it’s only open to UK and you must be happy to have your details passed on to the publishers for prize fulfilment. Draw will be made using the lovely plugin and the winner is, which relies on separate comment entries.
Previous winners of the After Iris competition were Beth and Ceri – congratulations!
To buy your own copy of Unbored or other activity books to keep you or your offspring out of mischief this summer, why not visit your local independent book shop? Or if you don’t have one, click through to Hive – independent bookshops online. Save 40% off Selected Craft & Hobbies Books Use code SUNNY at the checkout to get an extra 10% off before the end of July where valid.
Grab the badge
Enter the linky.
disclosure: I received a copy of this book free for review. Book and hive links are affiliate links – if you use them I get a few pence.
The background: I’ve challenged Big to read 52 books this year. She will probably be mentioning them over here on her blog. I’m also going to have a crack at reading at least 52 books myself, and more importantly, I’m going to keep track of what books I’m reading to the little ones. I’m going to do all of that in a weekly post, and I’ve also set up a google plus community which you’re very welcome to join. (If you need an invitation, leave me a comment using relevant email address – which will stay hidden.)