Thursday, October 7, 2021

Three for Your Library: Books to Spark Creativity

"In a world of possibilities, today, what will you make?" 
- Katey Howes

Sometimes I need some help getting my creative juices flowing. Recently a friend suggested Courageous Creativity: Advice and Encouragement for the Creative Life by Sara Zarr which was a perfect complement to the book I had just finished: The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna. 

Of course, this made me start to think about books that might spark some creativity in students. 

Here are three picture books to inspire your young creatives:

Be a Maker by Katey Howes and Illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic

This is one of my newer favorites for inspiring creativity. I mean how can you go wrong with a book that starts with the question: "In a world of possibilities, today, what will you make?" As you turn the pages possibilities abound. The book encourages imagination, play, creativity and collaboration. 

The Way You Might Use It:
Community Conversations:  This picture book is perfect for opening up a conversation about risk-taking and the many ways what we learn across the day can be applied as we try to create and make. 

Anchor Text:  This book will allow for conversations around author's message.

Mentor Text:  In an effort to introduce readers to the possibilities of all you can make, the author has carefully selected details to show possibilities big and small. This list-like structure can be an easy way for younger writers to begin to explore an idea. It also is a good one for discussing the way text and illustrations work together to build meaning. 

The Dreamer by Il Sung Na

Talk about perseverance. In this story, a pig loves to sit and admire birds. One day he decides there has to be a way to join them so he gets busy on a plan. The work, however, isn't easy and never goes as planned. He runs into all kinds of challenges and works to find solutions. Will he ever fly with the birds? 

The Way You Might Use It:
Community Conversations:  This book lends itself to conversations about perseverance and trying hard things. Things don't always come easily and sometimes we have to find new solutions and reach out for help. 

Anchor Text:  For me, this book screams character study. How can a characters actions tell us what they are like? After reading this book, it might be interesting to find other books with characters that are similar to pig as well as those that are quite different. 

Mentor Text:  There are a few ways the author has crafted this story that would make for good conversation with writers. Its problem and solution structure is very apparent and would be good for those first conversations around this structure. It also has a circular beginning and ending. It might be interesting to compare this book to others that have used a repetitive first and last page. When does it seem to work best? 

With My Hands by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and illustrated by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson

What would a book list be without a little poetry? One of the great things about using this collection of poems is there are so many possibilities to use different poems at different times for different reasons. This poetry book would pair nicely with "Be a Maker" and offer more possibilities for students to find their inner maker. It acknowledges so many different ways we can make things. Best of all, all of the possibilities are things kids can try right away. 

The Way You Might Use It:
Community Conversations:  When it comes to creativity we are all so different. We have different strengths, different interests, and different challenges. This books would certainly open the door to beginning conversations for children to find what they love to create. 

Anchor Text:  There are a variety of kinds of poetry collections. In this collection all of the poems are tied by a common idea. If you're digging into an author's message, it would be interesting to compare this with "Be a Maker." Each author uses a different genre to help readers to see new possibilities. What works well about each? 

Mentor Text:  These poems, along with a conversation about the ways students like to create, might lend themselves to a bit of poetry writing. A closer look at the poems in this collection can open many new possibilities for crafting poetry. 

These are just some of the possibilities you'll find for brining out the creativity in the children in your classroom.

Just a side note:  I've been playing around on Canva so I changed the "Three for Your Library" graphic (just an FYI). This is the old one:

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