"I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity."
Every time your child asks you a question, what he or she is really doing is inviting you to have a conversation.
The wonderful thing about public art is that it is all around us, sparking our children's curiosity and prompting these sorts of conversations.
The terrible thing about public art is that it's art, and art feels like one of those subjects you can't talk about unless you have a degree in it or a talent for making it.
This journal is designed to offer families a structure for exploring public art together. Completing these pages with your children will help you get those conversations about art going.
My hope is that this journal will help you deepen your relationship with your children and build memories that your entire family will recall fondly later on. If in the process, I can help you convert public art from something you exclaim over vaguely into something you actively explore with your children, so much the better.
Shala Howell spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world's most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now she turns her attention to a much more complex problem -- fostering children's curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. Her blog on fostering curiosity in children, Caterpickles, has had hundreds of thousands of visitors over the past five years. The first book in her Caterpickles Parenting Series, What's That, Mom?: How to use public art to engage your children with the world around them... without being an artist yourself, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children's curiosity in the world around them. Her next book, Did Dinosaurs Have Belly Buttons?, will talk about science, and how parents without a science degree can handle their children's curious questions without enrolling in a college-level refresher course.