It never ceases to amaze me how you can tip over a tub of LEGO bricks, and kids, no matter their age, will start building. Whether they’re budding engineers or just building the most random silly creations – to see their imagination running wild is great to witness. There’s a reason why LEGO® bricks are loved across the globe. LEGO play teaches various soft skills that will shape the way they work and interact with others including: creative thinking, teamwork, communication, conflict resolution and problem solving skills. For some kids, LEGO play is a gateway to breaking boundaries, endless creativity and realizing that they can do absolutely anything, if they just put their minds to it. Nobody is a better example of that ambition and creative thinking, than Michelle Nkamankeng.
Author at Age 7
When she realized that children’s books were all written by adults, Johannesburg learner, Michelle Nkamankeng took a creative approach to this serious anomaly and wrote a children’s book herself – at the age of seven! Published with the help of her parents, Waiting for the Waves is just the first in a series that Michelle planned, with subsequent titles telling stories that children love to read, because they’re also written by a child.
Michelle’s love of reading was nurtured from a young age, as was her creativity and her confidence to embrace and address the challenges she identified. “I’ve always loved creative and imaginative play, whether it was fancy dress or building amazing creations with LEGO® bricks,” she says.
“Building sets taught me the importance of a good foundation and structure – which every story needs! Breaking those sets down and building my own crazy inventions showed me that just about anything is possible – and that I can change the world with my creativity, if I just put my mind to it!”
Michelle aims to inspire
It’s this bold and brave approach that’s seen Michelle recognized locally and internationally, as so much more than her already remarkable achievement as one of South Africa’s youngest published authors, with three published books to her name. She is a sought-after keynote speaker, has won local and international awards, is an advisory board member for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, and a children’s rights advocate.
“I hope that all of South Africa’s children are inspired to rise up and tackle the world’s challenges, that they use their creativity to rebuild the world,” she says. “It’s up to us to find new ways of fixing old problems and challenging the status quo. You don’t need power or an army to rebuild the world – you just need to be creative”.
The benefits of LEGO play are endless and I’m pretty sure Michelle’s story will inspire kids around the globe to make a change, to be the change! I know I feel inspired by this young lady myself. So moms, when we’re staring at the floor that’s covered in LEGO bricks, let’s remember to trust the creative process 😉
Get a FREE copy of Michelle’s book with LEGO® purchase
Michelle together with LEGO® South Africa brand will be giving LEGO® lovers a chance to score a free copy of her book “The Little Mouse” when they spend more than R1,000 on selected LEGO® sets. Another way you can help underprivileged communities is to donate your pre-loved children’s books, and for every book donated you will receive 100 Brick Rewards. Exclusive to LEGO® Certified Stores located in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.