Let's Build a Playground
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Let's Build a Playground

by Michael J. Rosen, KaBOOM!, Ellen Kelson, Jennifer Cecil
Could you really build a playground in your neighborhood? KaBOOM! Find out how — and how much fun it can be.

What’s your dream playground? Grab a piece of paper and let your imagination go wild! That was the first step when two hundred kids and grown-ups in an Indianapolis community got together to build the playground in this book — one of


Could you really build a playground in your neighborhood? KaBOOM! Find out how — and how much fun it can be.

What’s your dream playground? Grab a piece of paper and let your imagination go wild! That was the first step when two hundred kids and grown-ups in an Indianapolis community got together to build the playground in this book — one of over two thousand that KaBOOM! has helped create. A slide isn’t just a slide, it could be a chute to a time machine. A swing might be Pegasus flying across the galaxy. . . . Weeks of planning precede the construction of a playground that a community feels is truly theirs, a vibrant space to foster both creativity and physical activity. Sprinkled with kid-friendly factual notes, Michael J. Rosen’s lively free verse, together with colorful photographs, capture the enthusiastic teamwork leading up to the final build of a playground in one day — a playground that will welcome kids of all ages well into the future.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
This fun book is a how-to about building a public playground with a twist. The result of a partnership among the national, play-focused non-profit KaBoom, the PNC Grow Up Great initiative, and the community of Andrew Academy, it chronicles the step-by-step process from playground dream to reality in photos and text. It serves as more than just a how-to guide; rather, it is a challenge to communities everywhere to create safe and challenging playscapes for their children. From encouraging students to imagine and talk about their "perfect playground" to planning how to build it, recruiting volunteers, assembling the equipment and materials, and working together to build their dream playground, it is all here. Large and small color photos of the process, boxed comments about equipment and materials and inspiring text combine to create a story that will appeal to young and not-so-young alike. It is a real can-do story that involved people from all walks of life. An author's note at the end explains more about the concept behind the KaBoom initiative and directs readers to additional resources to learn more. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—KaBOOM is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the concept that all children deserve a safe place to play. The group facilitates partnerships between communities and businesses to build, maintain, and upgrade play areas in urban locations throughout the United States. Many of them are built with neighborhood support and labor in one day. This book recounts the building of one of these playgrounds in Indianapolis. A local charter school had a disintegrating play area and KaBOOM worked with parents, faculty, administration, and, most importantly, with children to plan, pay for, and build an appropriate playground. In a singsong style, the text chronicles the machines and people who do the planning and preliminary foundation work. The size of the project is described by using measurements familiar to children-with their own size, weight, and reach as basis. The children were encouraged to use their imaginations in choosing the colors and types of equipment and here the manufacturing process is also illustrated. Many volunteers worked to complete the project, and the process was documented by an on-site photographer whose work is the basis for many of the illustrations. The finished playground is a fine culmination showing what a community working together can achieve. However, the vital process of fundraising and bringing about business involvement is greatly simplified and may not show a completely realistic picture of the undertaking. Of possible use in building concepts of community organization and cooperation to bring positive results.—Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, formerly at Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NY
Kirkus Reviews
National nonprofit organization KaBOOM! helps an Indianapolis community construct a playground in just one day. An empty lot, one lone rickety slide; there are plenty of places that don't beckon children to play. But KaBOOM! gives kids the chance to create their dream playground. A swing might be a trapeze, high above the crowd. A slide could be a giant dinosaur. And what about adding a merry-go-round? Or a sand castle big enough to hide inside? Or a hot tub?! Making a new playground starts with ideas--kids don't just list playground equipment, they let their imaginations run wild. Rosen then carefully follows the weeks of planning from fundraising to mulch delivery, even explaining the molten metal used to create the monkey bars. When the one-day build finally arrives, 214 volunteers gather to help. There is a huge sense of accomplishment and communal pride: The playground really does belong to every single person who played a part. Whispered asides to readers, including definitions and measurement explanations, are found in colorful sidebars, and full-page photographs show construction vehicles alongside the absolute glee found on children's faces. KaBOOM! doesn't just foster the power of play (both physical and imaginative); as seen in this book, it inspires kids to believe in change. ("imagine your own playground" prompts, author's note) (Nonfiction. 7-11)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 10.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit organization that believes that kids everywhere need a safe, nearby place to exercise their bodies and imaginations. Their mission is no less than to save play for America’s children through the creation of great playspaces with the participation and leadership of communities. Ultimately, they envision a place to play within walking distance of every child.
Michael J. Rosen has written and edited some ninety books for children and adults, including The Hound Dog’s Haiku, illustrated by Mary Azarian; The Cuckoo’s Haiku, illustrated by Stan Fellows; and the pop-up book Chanukah Lights, illustrated and paper-engineered by Robert Sabuda. He lives on one hundred forested acres in central Ohio.

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