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The Mysteries of Harris Burdick

While the reading age on this book is listed as 4 – 7 years, don’t let the limitations of book publishers deter you from enjoying this book with anyone, no matter the age!

When I first discovered The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, I immediately began using it as story starters with teenage students, calling it “rocket fuel for your imagination.” The combination of one picture, one line of text, and a title is enough to get anyone’s creative juices flowing. Instead of reading through the entire book in one night, I would open to a single page, and come up with a collaborative story together with anyone else in the room at the time (though I do advise previewing the pages ahead of time so you can offer suggestions).

The framework of this unusual book is that a man named Harris Burdick arrived at a publisher’s office with images, captions and titles for 14 stories. Met with enthusiasm, Burdick promised to return, but never did.

Chris Van Allsburg is certainly more well known for other books, like Jumanji and The Polar Express, and those are great books. But The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is the book that puts the biggest smile on my face and the most joy in my heart, because it’s the one with no boundaries, the one that takes you any place you can think of.

You can pick up the book on Amazon by clicking the image below, along with other books I love by Chris Van Allsburg:


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