NANCY: OK, Nikki – a few fun questions: What are some of your favorite words? Can you suggest one word that for readers to “try on” for flying into daydreams? Do you have a part of the day/ time of the day, each day, for daydreaming and other times that daydreams need to stay tucked away in desk drawers?
As I emailed these questions, I did my own daydreaming and I imagined Nikki Grimes smiling, thinking about when she was writing this book, maybe even daydreaming a few minutes. Nikki wasn’t day dreaming for long. She quickly answered:
I was never encouraged to daydream, as a child. In fact, my flights of fancy always got me into trouble. Every report card I ever brought home had some complaint in the comment section about the fact that my mind was given to wander.
I was never lucky enough to have a teacher like Mr. Spicer. I wish! The real Mr. Spicer does exciting work with his first and second graders. He sets aside time in each class for students to daydream, and then write and create visual art based on those daydreams. Where was Mr. Spicer when I was a kid!?
My daydreams aren’t scheduled. They happen throughout the day, slipping in where they please! It is always a wonderful surprise, to me. I’ve learned the value of daydreams, unless I’m behind the wheel, I simply let them come!
I love so many different words; it’s impossible to choose a favorite! I guess, in general, I like words that are invitations, words like “stairway.” You immediately have to ask: stairway coming from what? Leading to where? I love words like that.
“Island” is a great word for flights of fancy, I think. The word, itself, is loaded with possibility. Island is a word that can take you on a journey, and that makes it a perfect word for a daydream!
Thank you, Nikki, for sharing your wings with your words, stories, and poetry.
WORDS WITH WINGS (Wordsong, 2013) Written in vivid, accessible poems, this remarkable verse novel is a celebration of imagination, of friendship, of one girl’s indomitable spirit, and of a teacher’s ability to reach out and change a life.