Part of our dinnertime routine is asking about each person in the family’s day. It’s simple way to get the conversation started. But sometimes we need a change of topic – here’s how.
Ask Me, by German author and illustrator Antje Damm, is small, chunky book full of questions aimed at getting conversations started. Although the book’s illustrations and format is aimed at children, the questions that are posed are as equally relevant for teens and adults.
There are simple, curious questions such as ‘How did your parents choose your name?’ and ‘Have you ever watched the moon rise?’ to ones that stretch the imagination, including ‘What animal you would be if you could?’ and ‘How can you tell that you are growing?’. Likewise, questions range from fun and silly (Do you pick your nose?) to those that require deeper thinking (Whom can you talk to about everything?).
The concept is deceptively simple – each double-page spread features a single question in large, bright print, accompanied by an illustration. The illustrations are an eclectic and interesting mix of drawings, paintings and photographs which prove to be as provocative as the questions themselves – a drawing of a girl with cherries looped over her ears as earrings accompanies the question ‘Have you ever picked fruit off a tree?’ and a photograph of an adult hand holding a chubby baby foot sits alongside the question ‘What do you like to touch?’.
A couple of the illustrations might be a little confronting for some readers (particularly the drawings of gravestones and a homeless person) however they are within context of the questions asked and could be used as an opportunity to talk about deeper or more serious topics with your child.
This is the perfect book to dip in and out of – you might even like to record some of your kids’ answers for future reference. My kids were pretty quick to answer their favourite question, ‘What can you do better than your mum or dad?’, coming up with a long list of my shortcomings (footy, craft, lacrosse, cricket, roller-skating, Wii games and high jump – all true!).
Find Ask Me at Book Depository, which delivers free to Australia. It’s suitable for children aged three years and over (although parents may want to pick-and-choose the questions they ask).