All the Ways to be Smart: the beautifully illustrated international bestseller that celebrates the talents of every child
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Allison Colpoys’ illustrations shimmer with vibrancy; her loose-line illustrations and selective colour palette exuding a nostalgic charm. Simple, flowing words coupled with fluorescent illustrations (created from ink, charcoal, and pencil, then digitally assembled) give young readers a book brimming with examples of how they are smart all day, every day . Written and illustrated by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys, this colourful, rhyming story depicts all the ways a child can be smart other than intelligence, including emotional intelligence and kindness, creativity, problem-solving, curiosity, sharing, building things, drawing, imagination, caring for others, taking chances and risks, being a team player, enjoying your own company, as well as counting and telling stories.
Everything that a child does can be a form of smartness when it is approached in the right way and this is a really important lesson to remind children of all age groups. This paired perfectly with a lesson on Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, and the 8 different modalities (art, music, word, people, self, math, body, and nature).One of the most pivotal messages that children need to har and illustrated with a brilliant spectrum of colours that leap from the page and right into the heart. A picture book that is joyous, life-affirming, and challenges stereotypes about what it means to be clever. All the usual things were mentioned like being kind but the rest was a huge list of random things to justify the illustrations. A gorgeous book that celebrates the unique qualities of every child, showing that the things that make them smart aren’t ‘just ticks and crosses’ and ‘knowing all the answers ever’, but can also be things like creativity, kindness, caring, asking questions, day-dreaming, and just being yourself.
So this is a beautiful book, with a positive and affirming message about valuing difference and diversity -- but also, about meeting small children at their own level. I appreciated the narrative, with its message about the many kinds of intelligence - emotional intelligence, creative intelligence - since I think many people (including kids) might think that academic intelligence is the only sort that matters. She has written many books such as "All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors", "Under the Love Umbrella", "The Underwater Fancy-dress Parade", "Oh Albert!This book is perfect for a KS1 class but would also be interesting to read with year 6 to get a deeper conversation about what "smart" means to each of them and how it has been taught throughout their schooling so far. It’s highly likely every child who reads this book will find something in it that shows they too are smart. I remember feeling so frustrated as a child because I wanted there to be more than one meaning of ‘smart’. The rhyming text describes the many different kinds of activities and personal qualities that require intelligence, thereby highlighting that there are many different kinds of smarts, while the colorful artwork depicts those activities and qualities. I enjoyed the book, but do agree with other reviews that some of the ways to be smart were a little dubious.
For the readers who haven't heard the term before, cubbies is Australian slang for cubby house, which is the same thing as a play house. Some schools make a very big deal about this, because they want to appear better in comparisons with other schools. Having greatly enjoyed Captain Starfish, I was eager to pick up All the Ways to Be Smart, which has a bright, colorful cover that drew me right in. Education is forced into adopting a standardised testing framework, and to prioritise a narrow band of skills and behaviours - compliance, reading, writing, maths - or risks losing its funding. Simple, flowing words coupled with fluorescent illustrations (created from ink, charcoal, and pencil, then digitally assembled) give young readers a book brimming with examples of how they are smart all day, every day … Realistic illustrations show children of varying racial presentations joining sentient animals and benign, hairy monsters to confidently explore their world, real and imagined.
What if we all grew up with this message, imagine the doors it would open and the opportunities it would provide. For any child who has ever worried about being "smart", Australian author Bell and artist Colpoys offer an expansive, reassuring look at the many ways there are to be that way .
So as a teacher, I’ve always been super sensitive to use the word “smart” because it carries so much weight.
Her picture books with Scribble include The Underwater Fancy-dress Parade, Under the Love Umbrella, and All the Ways To Be Smart. It is a truism in education and education adjacent fields that there are multiple kinds of intelligence -- there's that whole thing about Gardner's theory of intelligences, and some kinds of skills and abilities that seem a bit abstract are listed: body intelligence, musical intelligence etc. This collaboration between Davina Bell and Alison Colpoys is a celebration of what makes us us , of the strengths that we all have within ourselves – whether we’re dreamers, adventurers, readers or artists … The illustrations are whimsical and fun, with a beautiful colour palette. This collaboration between Davina Bell and Alison Colpoys is a celebration of what makes us us, of the strengths that we all have within ourselves – whether we’re dreamers, adventurers, readers or artists … The illustrations are whimsical and fun, with a beautiful colour palette. This heartwarming rhyming read will have your kids celebrating all of the things ― from being athletic to artistic and even empathetic or curious―that make them unique.