6 Children’s Books That Encourage Creativity
When a child says, “I’m not a good artist,” what they really mean is “I can’t draw.” This bugs me a lot, so I try to plan projects that don’t require drawing and use artist examples that show creativity rather than skill. I want every kid to believe they are capable of doing something wonderful with their big ideas. With my littlest students, I start each class by reading a story that helps encourage them to get in a creative mindset, that values thinking outside the box, and that challenges their definition of “artist.” These are some favorites that fit the bill. (My own kids love them too!)
1. Bob the Artist by Marion Deuchars- Bob the Bird is embarrassed about his skinny legs. By the end of the book, he gains the confidence to realize he has lots of great qualities, like creativity and killer style!
2. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett- My favorite! Annabelle discovers a magic box of yarn. She uses it to beautify her town and bring happiness to her community. (Cool factor: It’s got some real feminist and anti-capitalist undertones. And the illustrations (Jon Klassen) are beautiful.)
3. Everybody Needs A Rock by Byrd Baylor- This unusual story is all about creative play. A young girl has a secret place where she plays with a special rock, a rock she’s chosen based on certain “rules.” She tells us how to use these rules to pick the perfect rock for ourselves.
4. Frederick by Leo Lionni- It’s time to gather food for winter and friends think Frederick isn’t helping. He’s “busy” gathering ideas for poems to entertain them during the long, cold months ahead. Somehow, this book manages to say some significant things about how to nurture creativity and the important role of the artist in society.
5. Art by Patrick McDonnell- A quick read with great illustrations about a boy named “Art” and his “art.” A simple story, but the final sentence in this makes me cry every time.
6. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney- A classic! Alice dreams of making the world a more beautiful place. She travels the world and comes back to her home in Maine with a radical idea: to spread lupine seeds everywhere she goes. (Cool factor: “The Lupine Lady” never marries! In fact, she happily lives alone her whole, long life. She’s solely motivated by a desire to contribute to her community! Neat!)