Picture Books to Inspire Creativity

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Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

— Walt Disney

With so much being written about the importance of innovative and “out of the box” thinking, I thought a list of books to help nurture the creative spirit may be helpful to teachers and parents.  All of these picture books would be good springboards to discussions about persistence and the power of curiosity. They may also be helpful at the start of a collaborative project so that kids begin to recognize that there are lots of ways to contribute.


The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt (A book about a crayon rebellion that every child loves – entertaining and inspiring!)


Frederick by Leo Lionni (May not be the first book that comes to mind when you think about creativity, but I think it fits. Frederick shows that words and stories are as valuable as collecting nuts and berries for the winter.)


Not a Stick and Not a Box by Antoinette Portis (Two books by Portis.  Pair them with Crocket Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon to inspire young children to use their imaginations.)


Weslandia by Paul Fleischman (The classic book about a young boy who creates his own civilization.)


The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life by Lois Ehlert (A beautiful picture book memoir about the creative process)


Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran (Kids create an imaginary town in the desert – using boxes, cactus and rocks.)


The Dot by Peter Reynolds (I could have used this book when I was young and decided I couldn’t draw and should not even try!)


Going Places by Peter and Paul Reynolds (I love this new book by the Reynolds brothers. It emphasizes the value of teamwork – proving that the group works best when everyone’s perspective is valued. The kid who follows the directions and the dreamer are successful because both of their approaches are integral to the process.)


The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires (A new book about facing frustration – and moving through it – when things don’t go your way the first time.)


Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty (Both awesome books about pursuing your passions and not letting setbacks discourage you. And when you read Rosie Revere, you are treated to a cameo appearance by Rosie the Riveter!)


Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzburg (A colorful tribute to the liberating power of making mistakes)

The other day I was at Wellesley Books where I immediately went to check out the local selections for middle school summer reading. Many of the titles are the same books on Inly’s list, but always fun to see what everyone is reading by the pool:

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This is my favorite sign in the store – referring to the delays caused by the dispute between Hachette (one of America’s top five publishers) and Amazon over e-book pricing:

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