Review: What Do You Do With an Idea?

What Do You Do With an Idea?
by Kobi Yamada

My Rating:
★★★★★

I picked up What Do You Do With an Idea? on a whim at Barnes & Noble this week, completely intrigued by its title and cover. This book is a remarkable take on creativity and ingenuity, and it belongs on bookshelfs everywhere.

What Do You Do With an Idea? tells the story of a young child who has an idea. Over time, the child struggles with sharing the idea, and faces criticism from others. The child tries to hide the idea, but the idea continues to grow and change. Eventually, the child realizes that embracing big ideas can change the world.

I absolutely adore the message of this book. The book manages to inspire children and adults alike. In fact, the book reminded me of so many adults in my own life who are still learning how to embrace their big ideas (myself included!). A powerful take on what it means to be yourself, What Do You Do With an Idea? is a great read for anyone who has ever struggled with an idea they thought was “too big.”

Another huge strength of this read was the beautiful illustrations by Mae Besom. As the idea grows and changes, the child’s world becomes more magical and bright.The visuals changing over time perfectly captured the feeling we all get when a thought is big enough to change the way we see things. The colors and vivid images will be beloved by so many for years to come.

With a great story and a spectacular message, What Do You Do With an Idea? should be your first pick on your next trip to the bookstore or library!

 Favorite Passages

On “owning it”:
“What do they really know? This is MY idea, I thought. No one knows it like I do. And it’s okay if it’s different, and weird, and maybe a little crazy.”

On how ideas can change us:
“It made me feel more alive, like I could do anything. It encouraged me to think big… and then, to think bigger.”

On making a difference:
“And then, I realized what you do with an idea… You change the world.”

Classroom Connections


This book is a good fit for 1st to 3rd Grade age bracket as a read aloud, but it could be a great fit for literary study in 4th to 6th Grade.  With a big message, beautiful figurative language, and stunning illustrations, this book can be used in myriad ways.

Suggestions for using What Do You Do With an Idea? in the classroom include:

  • Students can talk about how the actions of others affected the child. How can we encourage each other to live out our ideas? How can we recognize that ideas look different to the people that thought of them? This book can launch big discussions about creativity and classroom culture.
  • This book can be used to dig deep with the concept of personification. In the book, the “idea” is personified in a pretty brilliant way. It completely captures the concept of an idea that sticks with you or a thought you can’t let go of. While this concept is a little too abstract for younger students, it could be a great fit for upper elementary and middle school students.

Book Information
Title: What Do You Do With an Idea?
Author: Kobi Yamada
Illustrator: Mae Besom
Publisher: Compendium
Year: 2013
Source: Personal Collection

Find this book on:
Goodreads

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