Begin at the Beginning by Amy Schwartz is a gem and a vitamin. Published in 1983 with lovely black and white illustrations, it was re-illustrated in color and published in a larger trim size in 2005. In a nutshell, it is the story of all of us who long to create our best work. But, like young Sara, we can become so preoccupied and burdened with making something “wonderful” we find ourselves blocked or frozen in fear. And, like Sara’s family, our well-meaning friends all have suggestions as to what we should do. Their help only increases the burden. Sara’s mother is the muse and editor we long to find. She calmly guides Sara away from the stress of creating something “wonderful” to focusing on what she knows and loves. In this case, it is the tree outside her bedroom window. We hear it from writing teachers everywhere, but Sara learns and lives it. The more specific one is, the more universal the connection through story and art.