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Practical, Playful Magic: Author Elisa Kleven Envisions the Future at TEDxEmeraldGlenPark

April 27, 2018

DUBLIN, CA–As I recently shared, our theme for this year’s TEDxEmeraldGlenPark event is “Future.” Isn’t the future inspiring, exciting, and just plain magical? Think about it – the future doesn’t yet exist. It is a product of our active minds. Planning, imagining, and influencing the future is what we do, though some of us do it more intentionally than others. Therefore, no conference that explores the future is complete without a touch of magic.

Children’s author and illustrator Elisa Kleven will explore the power of magic for all – children and adults – in her TEDxEmeraldGlenPark talk. Elisa has invented miniature characters and settings in art for as long as she can remember. She started out making handmade dollhouse worlds when she was young, and now she channels her creativity by creating miniature, handmade worlds within her picture books. Elisa is intimately familiar with “magic” and what it takes to preserve it in this modern, fast-paced world.


A self-taught artist, Elisa is the author and/or illustrator of over thirty books. Her books have been adapted for professional ballet and theater productions and have received many honors, including a New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award for her book Sun Bread. Elisa’s illustrations for the bestselling book Abuela, by Arthur Dorros, are currently touring children’s museums nationwide as part of “Storyland”, an interactive exhibit of seven classic children’s books. Elisa received a BA at the University of California at Berkeley, and a teaching credential at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. She continues to teach art to young children several times a week. Elisa lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family and pets.

Elisa’s imagination has been her constant helper and guide. Like the baker in her book Sun Bread, a little dog who bakes bread and makes a special, giant golden  sun-shaped bread for all to share, Elisa makes happy, nourishing books for young readers’ growing spirits. In the process, she hopes to teach them how to hold on to playful magic for the rest of their lives. After all, Elisa is convinced in the practical power of magic. She explains, “Playful imaginations can work great magic in the world. They are absolutely worth preserving well into adulthood!”

At TEDxEmeraldGlenPark, Elisa will challenge us to embrace magic in our everyday lives. “Rather than jettisoning imagination as we grow up,” she asks, “what if we nourished it?” She continues, “What if we infused the natural world, from honeybees to sequoias, with a kindred spirit? What if we believed that the animals we raise for food were individuals, worthy of respect? What if we pretended that the ocean loved life, too, and didn’t want a bunch of plastic choking it? Would it be so bad? The world wouldn’t come to a crashing halt, its dignified humans made fools!” 

She will also share her idea that no big object or special equipment is necessary to achieve playful magic. According to Elisa, “A tiny sunflower can solidify a peace movement. A lump of clay can help bring back the lost. A fictional picture book can make a child a better person, or offer a refuge from pain.”

As Elisa puts it: “What a future that could be, and nothing short of magic!”

Come envision this magical, powerful future with Elisa Kleven during her TEDxEmeraldGlenPark talk. Attending TEDxEmeraldGlenPark is a great way to get connected, get inspired, and get excited about our unique community and the power of magic and small objects for the future. Your presence would help create an enriching, intellectually stimulating experience for yourself and other attendees. And, of course, Elisa’s talk will surely inspire and empower you – no matter your age.  A limited number of tickets are available online for you to purchase. There will be no tickets available at the door, so make sure you don’t miss out! I am so excited to meet and share ideas with this community. Let’s make this TEDx event one to remember.


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