Wednesday, August 10, 2016

10 for 10: Books that Inspire Conversation About Creating

The August 10 for 10 Picture Book event has happened annually for several years now, and you can find more information at the hosts' sites: Cathy Mere at Reflect & Refine and Mandy Robek at Enjoy and Embrace Learning.

Ten Picture Books to Inspire Conversation About Creating 
(in no particular order)

1. What Do You Do with an Idea?, by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom
Often the initial question of the creator: what do you do? This story encourages readers to consider how to act upon ideas that nudge them, acknowledging their ideas, following them, allowing them to grow. 

2. The Dot, by Peter Reynolds
No list of picture books about creating would be complete without The Dot, though it may arguably be the most well-known and oft used title on the list. Vashti is the student-artist and the creators in our classroom, too: apprehensive, uncertain, without confidence. But with encouragement to begin and celebrations of progress, our students can see that the definition of art encompasses all attempts to create. (Bonus book: Ish is a companion book that is equally wonderful for broadening readers' interpretation of what "counts," too.)

3. Louise Loves Art, by Kelly Light
Louise's passion for art and creating resonate off the pages of this book, both in words and illustration. Louise is a character who gives readers permission to be entirely absorbed in creating, and her brother, Art, helps to open conversations about sharing our art (and collaborating, too!) and what happens when we do.

4. My Pen, by Christopher Myers
The black and white ink illustrations give proof to the power of a pen to be a limitless tool for creating. Anything you can imagine can come to be when you view your pen (or tool of choice) for bringing what is in your mind to life.

5. Daniel Finds a Poem, by Micha Archer
Daniel hopes to find out what poetry is. Each creature he asks gives him a different poetic response that fits their own perspective. In the end, Daniel's poem is a culmination of ordinary--yet magical--things. Daniel reminds us creating with words can be similarly ordinary...and magical.

6. Swatch, by Julia Denos
Julia Denos' character, Swatch, is a role model for playing inside your passion and encourages a wild play with your "art." This book breathes with permission to treat creating like an open adventure.

7. The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires
Revising our plans and our thinking can be a most difficult challenge, especially when in pursuit of a perfect creation. This picture book illustrates how making adjustments and responding to repeated trials can move a creator closer to a masterpiece.

8. Ideas Are All Around, by Philip Stead
The art alone is inspiring in this book, a mix of photography and painted pages. The author invites readers to walk alongside him and we take note of the potential for inspiration that resides within ordinary, every day parts of the world we live in.

9. Maybe Something Beautiful, by F. Isabel Campoy, Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
With bright and vivid illustrations, this team brings to life the true story of the Urban Art Trail of San Diego and how a neighborhood created art together that changed the face of their community.

10. Ada's Violin, by Susan Hood, illustrated by Sally Wren Comport
This true story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay showcases the beauty and influence of creating music, both for a musician and the audience, but it also represents how recycled items can become art themselves.

I continue to read, and I expect to continue discovering books that will open the doors to conversation that supports and inspires CREATING with my students. 

What titles do you like to use to inspire your students to create?


  1. Those are all beautiful books! I've loved every one of them!

    1. Thank you, Jana. I'm excited to share them with kids and see which books they love...and how/why!

  2. Wonderful list. I love so many of these, still haven't read Maybe Something Beautiful, but I will.

    1. Oh, do. It was a book I needed to own once I held it in my hand. Thanks for reading, Linda.

  3. Wonderful theme! Many of these titles are ones I adore. Daniel Finds a Poem is especially enchanting.

  4. I really like all of your choices. I'm seeing lots of posts with Ada's Violin - such an inspiring story! Have you seen the new LOUISE book by Kelly Light? A great companion to the first book. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes! Louise and Andie is fantastic, too. I'm anxious to see what comes in the third book.

  5. Love this theme Melissa - creation encompasses so many things -- great conversations will be inspired!!! A few new titles for us and we will reread the others with this theme in mind!
    Clare and Tammy

    1. Thank you. Thinking about heading back to school in a couple weeks, I'm finding that I'm gravitating towards books that give kids permission to experiment, play, and find out what they can "make" that makes them happy. I'm glad to hear you found a few new books to look at!

  6. I had my list but was not able to get my post done in time. We are like twins! Many of these were in my art and creativity list. Just add Beautiful Oops and Ish. :-)

    1. I had a feeling many of my titles would be common or popular, but had (have!) my fingers crossed that there will be something new for someone. I don't know Beautiful Oops, but have seen it. Maybe it's time. Thanks!

  7. Awesome list! So many amazing books here. Ideas are all around made it on my MS list too.

  8. Ada's Violin just arrived in the library. Haven't had a chance to read it yet but it looks good. Thanks for your recommendations. It's a terrific selection.
    Apples with Many Seeds