(Turn the sound off to really SEE what’s inside this book.—The Management (Video link here.)

I was a child who drew inside the lines. I kept journals as a kid and, if I accidentally skipped a page, I would rip out the blank page rather than have an entry appear out of order. Only recently as a young-ish adult have I grown comfortable with the risk of something like—gasp!—going off-recipe. Clearly, they didn’t have books like Beautiful Oops! when I was little, or else I didn’t have a copy.

This kids’ book by Barney Saltzberg, follows a simple, but for some, very challenging philosophy: “When you think you have made a mistake, think of it as an opportunity to make something.Beautiful Oops revels in the possibilities that arise from mistakes, and encourages potentially frustrated kids (and adults) to get creative and find inspiration instead of just giving up.

Beautiful Oops cover Workman

We know A LOT of adults who are thrown by the simplest mistakes…

…What if they had this book as kids? Or even spent some time with it now?

—Sarah M


With thanks to Pamela Hovland for the find.

Related posts: tina fey’s 4 1/2 rules (in 4 1/2 minutes)

‘harness the power of being an idiot!’

manny howard’s empire of dirt

poems as gifts: don wentworth’s ‘past all traps’

tool for improvising: embrace mistakes

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3 replies on “‘beautiful oops’ lesson for all of us: mistakes are OK

  1. In my “old age,” I have come to define “mistake” as merely being an experiment for which the hypothesized outcome was not proven.

  2. When I was in 2nd grade, my art teacher told me there are no mistakes in art; you use it to make something else you never would have known existed. I never forgot that. When I came across this book, I bought it for my 1 year old son. One, because it is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever come across and two, because the lesson in it is so important for both children and adults. We can’t waste time with regret. We must take what we’ve done, learn from those experiences, and make a more beautiful life because of them. Thank you, Mr. Saltzberg. My son, Finn, loves your book and has turned it into his own “Beautiful Oops” from playing with it so much. I figure it fits right into the theme and I cherish every ripped page.

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