Reading with children

a blog by Magic Tales

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How Shapes Shape Our STories: The Underlying Psychology of Shapes in Children's Literature

Circles, Squares, and Triangles – Oh, my! The world of children’s literature is not just filled with captivating characters and engaging narratives – it’s also a world intricately designed with a bunch of shapes! Yes, you read that right! Shapes subtly yet significantly influence how young readers perceive and understand a story. Let's delve into the alluring world of shapes and their psychological impact on children's literature.
For starters, shapes in children's books are not just mere geometric forms. They're powerful symbols, laden with meanings and emotions. Learning and recognition start with understanding basic shapes. Big, bold, and vibrant circles, squares, triangles, and other geometric patterns captivate young readers and enhance their creative imagination.
In the Round: The Circle
Circles embody unity, familiarity, safety, and sometimes, endless journeys. Books that use circles are often imbued with themes of unity, love, and friendship. This shape is often associated with lovable characters in children's books, making the story more comforting and inviting to children. They create a predictable and safe literary environment where young readers feel guarded.
To the Point: The Triangle
Triangles, an interesting mix of stability and turmoil. The orientation of a triangle can shift between stability (base down) and instability (base up). Triangles can represent conflict, tension, or a change in the story flanked by this geometry. Conversely, when stable, triangles can symbolize strength and solidity.
Square Deal: The Square
Are you including squares in your children's book? You may be endorsing order, stability, and safety. With its equal sides and angles, squares symbolize balance and order. They often resonate with themes of reliability and trustworthiness. However, too much square-ness can also least to stagnancy and lack of dynamism in storylines.
Other Shapes: The Diamonds, Stars, And Ellipses
More complex shapes like diamonds, stars, and ellipses, lend an aura of intrigue and mystique to the narrative. These shapes often draw out feelings of adventure, excitement, and curiosity.
In children’s literature, shapes foster visual and cognitive development. Every curve, line, and angle contributes to a child’s understanding of the world. The emotional messages these shapes transmit can help shape young minds and nurture empathy, understanding, and intellectual curiosity.
The psychology of shapes, thus, forms an integral element in children’s literature. Next time you pick up a children’s book, look out for these subtle lessons hidden in shapes. You might be surprised to find the deeper meanings they unfold to your young reader.
In a world that is increasingly becoming flat (screened) – it is time we start valuing, appreciating, and leveraging these shapes that truly shape our stories.

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