Cover image for Seeing past Z : nurturing the imagination in a fast-forward world
Seeing past Z : nurturing the imagination in a fast-forward world
Kephart, Beth.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton, [2004]

Physical Description:
xii, 240 pages ; 22 cm
Imagining tomorrow -- I'll trade you my story for your story -- Tiny golden spark -- Legacies -- Guess who -- Dimming the lights -- The things we'd never think of -- Stars on the ceiling -- The velvet beyond -- The stuff of memory -- Perseverance -- Reading alone -- Writing it down -- What does it matter? -- The first summer workshop -- Wherever they are going -- Interference -- Paying attention to process -- Surprise endings -- A few like-minded souls -- The little critic -- A community of writers -- Prolific -- On becoming a compassionate writer -- On his own -- No more than that, no less -- The unbridled imagination -- In the director's seat.
Personal Subject:
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
LB1062 .K43 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
LB1062 .K43 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Kids today seem to be under more competitive pressure than ever, while studies show that reading, writing, and the arts in schools are suffering. Is there any place for imagination in kids' lives anymore? In a dog-eat-dog world, why dream things that aren't there?In gorgeous prose and through personal stories, Beth Kephart resoundingly affirms the imagination as the heart of our ability to empathize with others, to appreciate the world, and to envision possibilities for the future. The star of her story is once again her son, Jeremy (as in her National Book Award-nominated A Slant of Sun), now fourteen years old--a child who at first resists storytelling, preferring more objective and orderly pursuits, but later leads a neighborhood book club/writing group and aspires to follow Steven Spielberg into moviemaking.Embedded in the text and appendices are examples of how to inspire children to read, write, and dream.

Author Notes

Beth Kephart's first book was a National Book Award finalist & was named a best book of the year by "Salon," the "Philadelphia Inquirer," & others. Kephart has won a 2000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the 1998 Leeway grant, & the 1997 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts top grant for fiction. Her essays & articles have appeared in magazine nationwide. She lives in Pennsylvania.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Kephart's son, Jeremy, started out as a reluctant reader, completely uncharmed by the children's books that usually set off young imaginations. Slowly, gradually, Kephart captivates him with the Harry Potter series and Roald Dahl's Danny the Champion of the World 0 until he takes off into full-blown love of stories and storytelling and eventually leads a neighborhood book-club/writing group. Kephart, author of Slant of Sun0 (1998), which also featured Jeremy, chronicles the journey of mother and son to pique a child's imagination in a culture where television and video games dominate children's time. Kephart laments the disregard for imagination as children are pressured to conform and compete. Her love of reading and writing is obvious and enthusiastic in this eloquent and lyrical appeal to parents to treasure and nurture children's imagination. She includes suggestions for how to inspire children to read and write and explore their imaginations. More than a how-to book to get children interested in reading, this is a glorious celebration of imagination. --Vanessa Bush Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Give kids the freedom to be kids, says Kephart, in this delightful book that, like her A Slant of Sun, centers on, in vibrant, loving detail, her 14-year-old son, Jeremy. Let children discover their own passions and interests; guide, but don't force; prod, but don't push; and, most important, let their imaginations flourish. Kephart and her husband have resisted the pressure from today's society to get kids involved in heavy competition and early preparation for college, sports or music. Freed from self-consciousness and with his parents' gentle encouragement, Jeremy has dared to dream that he could be a mystery writer, a poet, a comedian, a filmmaker. Understandably, Kephart's approach has made her an outsider among many parents who believe she's hurting Jeremy and his future prospects. "In the scheme of some things, these parents are right," she concedes. "It's Darwin's world, after all...." But, she says, "I do believe that the push to win is threatening-even already eroding-this generation's happiness." To resist this "erosion," she began a reading and writing group for her son and his friends. These kids' bursting creativity astounded and vindicated her. In serene and sage prose, she concludes that unleashing youths' imagination can create well-rounded, stable, happier people, both in their generation and the one guiding them. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Kephart argues for imagination over the pressures today's kids feel to excel in reading, writing, and arithmetic, citing as an example her son (first featured in her highly praised A Slant of Light). (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. XI
Imagining Tomorrowp. 3
I'll Trade You My Story for Your Storyp. 7
Tiny Golden Sparkp. 11
Legaciesp. 17
Guess Whop. 23
Dimming the Lightsp. 27
The Things We'd Never Think Ofp. 33
Stars on the Ceilingp. 41
The Velvet Beyondp. 49
The Stuff of Memoryp. 55
Perseverancep. 63
Reading Alonep. 67
Writing It Downp. 75
What Does It Matter?p. 79
The First Summer Workshopp. 85
Wherever They Are Goingp. 95
Interferencep. 101
Paying Attention to Processp. 111
Surprise Endingsp. 119
A Few Like-Minded Soulsp. 123
The Little Criticp. 131
A Community of Writersp. 141
Prolificp. 149
On Becoming a Compassionate Writerp. 157
On His Ownp. 167
No More than That, No Lessp. 171
The Unbridled Imaginationp. 177
In the Director's Seatp. 183
Postscriptp. 191
Appendix 1p. 193
Appendix 2p. 225