TUPPER LAKE - The imagination is a powerful thing, and first-time author Reinaldo Alvarez wants children to know it's OK to use it.
That's why he wrote 'Little Baby Imagination,' a children's book that tells the story of a brother and a sister who use their imaginations to change the outcome of daily challenges to achieve positive results.
"I read a lot of Albert Einstein's work, and there was one quote that really stuck out to me," Alvarez said. "'Imagination is more important than knowledge.' People use their imaginations every single day, but they don't know it. They use it subconsciously. They don't understand that their imagination is actually creating their lives."
First-time children’s book author Reinaldo Alvarez, right, reads an excerpt from his new book, “Little Baby Imagination,” to Sandra Kwasniak.
(Enterprise photo — Shaun Kittle)
The book is fiction but the two main characters, Nemo and Niyah, are based on Alvarez's own children, Nehemiah and Jeniyah. They live in South Carolina, which is why the book takes place in the fictional world of Southern Carolina.
The story follows the children as they use their imaginations to alter the course of their day-to-day lives.
One morning Nemo and Niyah get on the school bus and the driver, Mr. Niceman, has an angry look on his face. They say good morning and he doesn't reply.
The kids decide they don't have to accept that about him, so after taking their seats they close their eyes and re-imagine the situation, only this time Mr. Niceman is smiling and he happily returns their greeting.
When the Nemo and NIyah exit the bus, their fantasy comes true and the driver smiles and says goodbye to them.
"It's the power of positive thinking, and that's exactly what this book is about," Alvarez said. "Kids, they use imagination for a lot of things, but once they start going through the education system, they start teaching them how to memorize textbooks and they forget these basic principles. I want to show them that it's important now so they don't forget these things."
Alvarez said he hopes the children who read his book will always remember to use their imaginations, even after they enter adulthood.
"The reason I concentrated more on kids is because once an adult reaches a certain age, some of them don't want to hear this stuff," Alvarez said with a laugh. "They believe everything they see and they believe everything they hear. They think imagination is play stuff."
A Pakistan woman named Fatima did the colorful artwork for the book. Alvarez found her on Elance.com, a networking website for freelancers and those who hire them.
Through a series of email conversations, Fatima learned how Alvarez wanted the artwork to look for his literary debut. The entire process, from writing to completion, took about four months.
Alvarez said he hopes to pen at least three more children's books in the near future, all with the power of the imagination as a theme. He said he wants the next one to hit the stands in about four months.
That book will focus on using positive imagination to combat bullying, but he wants it to have a positive spin, so its working title is: "Nemo and Niyah Teach Love."
Alvarez is doing a book signing at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 22 at the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library. A few copies of the book will be available for purchase, but Alvarez recommends ordering it beforehand. It is currently available online at Amazon.com.
The book signing will be followed at 11 a.m. by a free, 30-minute workshop for kids and adults on the creative use of the imagination.