Monday, April 24, 2017

Ready for Inspiration? Try Balloons Lit. Journal

I was first introduced to Balloons Lit. Journal in 2015 when I saw a call for submissions for Issue 2. Investigating further, I was pleased to find a beautifully designed online magazine of writing and art. This rich resource is appropriate for a wide audience and features authors from all over the world, including student writers. As an educator myself, I am immediately drawn to how this magazine could be a boost to classroom instruction. The first selection, “The Best Poem You’ll Ever Read” is followed by a challenge to the reader to write his or her own poem.

So many pieces in this issue would make excellent classroom writing prompts. “Message from a Stone Buddha to Izzy and Benjamin” is a delightfully clever letter from a garden statue. Using this piece as a model, classroom teachers could ask students to write their own letter to a person from an inanimate object.

An inspirational short fiction, “From Chopin’s Memoirs” could spark meaningful discussions of how to get through hard times. The imagery in this story is profound—reminding us that we must use all the keys of a piano, both black and white, “to play a beautiful tune.”

“Untitled” by thirteen-year-old Ava Caudle lyrically compares a blank canvas to “a symphony yet to be played,” capturing the emotional sphere of every young person contemplating the future. The inclusion of student authors alongside adult writers makes Balloons Lit. Journal  an especially unique publication. And if one did not read the bylines carefully, the reader might not be able to identify work created by young people rather than adults. All the selections are thoughtful and finely tuned.

The dynamic artwork in this issue is not to be missed—particularly Alexandra Bowman’s oil on canvas “Pomegranate” and Sam McCready’s acrylic on paper, “Evening Trees.” I can see using these images as prompts in both writing and art classrooms.

Like previous issues of Balloons Lit. Journal, Issue 5 is a visual and textual cornucopia. Every reader will find something to love. Check out this magazine, available online.  Take the time to enjoy it from cover to cover. You will be uplifted by the variety and depth of the material included. And like the last piece in this issue, “Take the Time to Dream,” you will be tempted “to lose yourself in clouds and sky” where your own creativity will soar.

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