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Wonder Ponder, Visual Philosophy for Children, is an imprint specialising in products for fun and engaging thinking. This website provides accompanying material to our Wonder Ponder boxes, including guides for children, parents and mediators, ideas for wonderpondering and fun games and activities. It is also a platform for sharing your very own Wonder Ponder content and ideas.

Wonder Ponder Blog

The Wonder Ponder blog includes posts on the creative processes behind our Visual Philosophy for Children material, as well as workshop experiences, guest posts on a variety of topics and generally interesting, eye-catching or mind-bloggling stuff we feel like sharing with you. 

Filtering by Tag: Freedom

Competition! Win a copy of our Visual Philosophy for Children title on freedom, 'Whatever You Want'

Ellen Duthie

A competition!

What's the prize?
A copy of Whatever You Want, of our Visual Philosophy for Children book-in-a-box, specially signed and dedicated by the authors, with a drawing by the illustrator, Daniela Martagón? We'll send it wherever you tell us to! 

Whatever You Want is an invitation to wonder and ponder about freedom for small, medium and large people. Half-way between a book and a game, it comes in a box and invites readers to think about freedom in a way that is both serious and seriously fun. Through the questions prompted by the scenes in the box, the reader-player can go building their own definition of freedom. Part of our critically acclaimed Wonder Ponder, Visual Philosophy for Children series, Whatever You Want is designed for children to look at, read and think playfully about by themselves, accompanied by an adult or in a group, in educational, play or family contexts.

What do I have to do? 
It's easy! Look carefully at all the inhabitants of the Free House (the poster from Whatever You Want) and find at least 10 references to characters from children's literature (you'll see it's chock-a-block!). 

When you've spotted ten characters, go to our Facebook page and leave a comment on this post, indicating your 10 characters, with the titles of the books they appear, the authors of the books and the room in the Free House where you found them (at the bottom of the poster you'll see a numbered list of all the rooms and spaces inside the house). 

Remember! Your answer should be the list of the 10 characters you've found, with corresponding titles, authors and location within the house, and you should send us your answer as a comment on our Facebook page.  

The draw from among all correct answers will take place on Friday 28th of October 2016. Good luck! 

Need some tips? The poster features characters from Jumanji, by Chris Van Allsburg, from The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr, In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak, I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen, from Conrad, the Factory-made Boy, by Christine Nostlinger, from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak... and from many, many, many more books. Enjoy!

What was the prize again?
A copy of Whatever You Want, of our Visual Philosophy for Children book-in-a-box, specially signed and dedicated by the authors, with a drawing by the illustrator, Daniela Martagón? We'll send it wherever you tell us to! 

The Search for the Right Tone: The Story Behind a Cover

Ellen Duthie

At the launch of the third title in our Visual Philosophy for Children series, Whatever You Want (an invitation to wonder and ponder about freedom), Wonder Ponder illustrator, designer and co-author Daniela Martagón told the audience about the creative process from her point of view. She focused on the fascinating search for the right tone.  

Daniela presentando. Foto: Miki Hernández. 

Here is what Daniela shared: 

The first idea was very different from the final result. This first approach was based on the concept of cages and confinement in different variations as a means of exploring degrees and possibilities of freedom, 

This 'first dummy' was shown to a group of children of different ages (5 to 12) in the form of an exhibition during a series of workshops. And it worked very well. It contained powerful scenes that led to very interesting reactions and dialogues but after working with the scenes, we felt that as a whole the concept was rather fatalistic and oppressive. We felt we needed an approach that would allow room for freer or more liberating examples.   

The second attempt was tied to the working title we had for the box in English: Freedom in a Box. We loved the title and we also liked the possibility of finding freedom in confinement represented by the image, but we could not find a way of translating it into Spanish that sounded good.  The literal translation "La libertad en caja" created an involuntary pun with "en caja" (in a box) and "encaja" (to fit in) that did not make us happy. We didn't want to have titles in Spanish and English that were too dissimilar from a conceptual point of view, so we looked for another title. 

After finding one we were happy with in both languages (Whatever You Want / Lo que tú quieras), we continued to experiment with the idea of freedom in confinement, again playing with cages. But here we found again and again, that the meaning of the title and the meaning of the image clashed. It just wasn't working. We were starting to feel imprisoned by our own cage idea.  

We removed the cage and tried with a gag and rope. But it still wasn't clear. Some people even pointed to possible innuendos we had never even thought of (really!). 

And then came a second phase, where I veered to the other extreme: life with no supervision or rules of any kind. Children playing with fire. 

A power-intoxicated baby. Driving, smoking. 

But we didn't like the moralistic tone of it, whereby if children are given freedom, they don't know how to handle it. That was not the route we wanted to follow either.  I decided to keep the baby, but I swapped the unchecked will for desire. I tried with the idea of a genie. 

It wasn't bad, we like it. We were almost there... But we felt the cover elicited only the desire aspect of freedom, when inside, the book was about so much more. Still not quite convincing. 

And then I drew this girl in full, ecstatic explosion of freedom. 

Free! We liked the celebratory feel of it. 

I continued to try it out, until I hit upon the idea of a loudspeaker. 

Here, not only is she in full ectasy of freedom, but she is also asking us readers to join her. We felt we had reached the end of our fascinating journey from fatalism to celebration. This was it! 

A few changes, a bit of colour. and voilà!

All the illustrations from this post by Daniela Martagón. 

Do children have the right to keep some things private from their parents?

Ellen Duthie

One of the characters from  Whatever You Want . She won't tell us her name because she'd rather keep it private. 

One of the characters from Whatever You Want. She won't tell us her name because she'd rather keep it private. 

In our new title, Whatever You Want, Ellen Duthie and Daniela Martagón invite people, small, medium and large, to explore freedom and many other related concepts: safety, limits, rules, choice, free will, privacy and more.  

Like all the titles in our Visual Philosophy for Children series, Whatever You Want feeds on extensive, rich and careful work in workshops with children and adults before and during the creation process.  

At Wonder Ponder we ask, we listen, we dialogue, we observe. We draw up a general map of questions on the core issue and see which questions are of particular interest to children of different ages, so that we can then attempt to condense them in the scenes we finally select to be included in the book.

Because of the way we work, starting off with a prior philosophical map of questions and then using it to gather real concerns and spark further questions from children in our workshops and at the schools we work, our Wonder Ponder books do not only contain questions and situations designed by adults for children. They also contain many questions in the other direction: questions and concerns put forward by children and teenagers which, when put to adults, can open up an interesting dialogue between generations. 

One of the issues that frequently comes up in workshops on freedom with children (with teenagers, yes but also with younger children) is privacy.  'Do we have to tell our parents everything or are there parts of life we can keep to ourselves?'  

A nine-year-old girl complained at one workshop: 'My Mum is always asking me what I've been up to and she wants to know every little detail. But I don't tell her everything because there are some things I like to keep to myself'. When asked what sort of thing she preferred to keep to herself and whether they were things she somehow feared telling her mother, she answered: 'Oh, no. It's got nothing to do with fear. It's not because they are bad things. They're just mine. They're mine and I don't feel like sharing them with anyone else'. Sparked by this sentiment and other similar feelings of other people in the group, we engaged in a riveting dialogue about the right to privacy.  

Usually, when adults speak of children's right to privacy, we tend to focus our attention on the protection of the private nature of pictures and personal information in an increasingly public world, for instance, or on the right to remain anonymous of celebreties' kids, to give another example. We focus on home-outwards privacy. But what about home-inwards? Do children have the right to a private life their parents don't know of? If so, from what age? Do children have the right to have private correspondence? What aspects of their lives is it acceptable - or desirable - for us to be informed of? Where is the line between protection and intrusion? From what age does a child have a right to this kind of privacy? 

There are at least two scenes in Whatever You Want that trigger wondering, pondering and questioning on these issues. The first puts forward a possible world where a thought reading machine has been invented. 

On the back of the scene, some of the questions suggested are: 'Why do you think the doctor is reading the boy’s thoughts? What thoughts do you think the reader has detected? What would you do if other people could read your thoughts? Can you control what you think? Imagine this thought reader really existed. Who should be able to use it, who with and what for?'

The second scene (for this one you'll need to resort to your imagination) shows a boy inside a wardrobe with the only company of a sweet kitten. He has made himself a great little den, with everything required to enjoy his freedom. Some of the questions on the back are:  

'Do you think the boy in the scene is free? Is feeling free the same as being free? Is it possible to be freer when hiding than when in front of others?' And then that seemingly simple yet rather hard question to answer. 'Do children have the right to keep some things private from their parents?' 

These are questions that are far from easy to answer, whether you are a child or an adult, and, precisely because they are not easy, they are also the most interesting type of question to share and the most fascinating kind of question to explore. Questions posed by children for other children, by adults for children and by children for adults, all of them great for wondering and pondering freely. 

So, do children have the right to keep some things private from their parents? 

What do you think? 

Find out more about the Wonder Ponder series of Visual Philosophy for Children here