book review :: journal sparks

FTC Compliant Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this book by Storey Publishing Co. to facilitate a review, however, all opinions expressed below are entirely my own.

Nearly 5 years ago Emily Neuburger came out with her first book, Show me a Story.  This book was utterly delightful, so you can imagine how excited I was to hear that Emily had written a new book: Journal Sparks.


These small images I was able to download from Storey Publishing in no way do this book justice.  It's jam-packed full of colorful, whimsical inspiration for "No-Rules Journaling." There are ideas for word-play, color-play, mixed media collage and fanciful imaginings.

In addition to the rainbow-buffet of ideas Emily lays on the table, this volume also contains instructions for building your own journal (instead of buying pre-fabricated notebooks), plus there are contributions from other authors/artists who bring yet more ideas and inspiration.

As I paged through this book, I thought to myself how perfect Journal Sparks would be for any teenage or adult journaling-enthusiast...


And for younger children, too... The moment my 6-year old lay eyes on the book, he claimed it as his own.

We started off constructing tiny journals out of printer-paper, which my little one immediately filled with washi-tape, rubber-stamps and pencil-doodles.  So we quickly upgraded to THESE lovely spiral-bound, watercolor paper journals.

"Hope" is the thing with feathers... (Emily Dickinson)

And here's where I admit to you that I am not a journaling-enthusiast.  I haven't kept any sort of journal since my years at university, but Emily's Journal Sparks brought back to me the memory of my favorite sort of journal: the florilegium.  Florilegia is a Medieval Latin term describing books in which are written small extracts from other works; in my own little florilegium, I scribbled favorite quotes and short passages.

I am blinded by the glare of all the silver linings. (Elizabeth Cohen)

I'm having so much fun adding watercolor and collage illustrations to my favorite quotes, and am grateful to Emily for inspiring my return to this journaling tradition.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough for anyone who loves to journal, for anyone who loves to create mixed media art, for anyone who loves to doodle and for anyone who thinks they cannot do any of these things but might like to give it go!


  1. This looks like fun Margaret. Something I hope to try with my Grandkids this summer.Thanks for sharing.

  2. I see it as an activity for Gramerlings as well. Where did you get that small watercolor book? Thank you for giving us a peek.


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