Fortunately, the library shelves are full of books that will inspire creativity in kids. Leave your additions in the comments below! A great list to pair with the books below is 11 books to inspire little inventors and engineers. Or, take a peek at the index of all my book lists to find something to interest your child. (Note: affiliate links are included below.)
Mix It Up! is the successor to the wildly popular Press Here. This time, kids learn about color mixing as they take actions like rubbing the colors, shaking and smooshing pages. A fun, interactive picture book that instructs kids at the end to go out and create their own art. (Note: I received a review copy of this book.)
Blue Chicken is a good choice for rowdy boys like mine who may prefer being physically active to sitting at the table with a box of crayons. A curious chick finds a pot of watercolor which leads to a bit of artistic chaos until an encounter with the water for rinsing brushes sets everything aright. Freedman’s books all break the “fourth wall” (as we say in the theater) that separates reader from illustrations, a conceit I quite adore.
Dog Loves Drawing. A common theme in some of these books is the art taking on a life of its own. Dog takes a break from reading to do a little sketching. A doodleman he draws comes to life and the two of them draw together, their drawings then lead them on adventures.
The Pencil is one of my favorite metafictional books. A pencil draws a boy, who then commands the pencil to draw more and more objects and people until a fully realized environment is created. However, things go awry when the pencil draws an eraser, which turns out to have a mind of its own.
The Dot, Ish and Sky Color. The “Creatrilogy” books are a best selling trio of books about the ability of small moments to transform into big creative endeavors. Each one encourages kids to look around them to find art in their own world.
Beautiful Oops! is a good choice to inspire kids who are worried about their artwork being perfect and planned out. Here the non-perfect, the mistake, the accident is just the encouragement a young artist needs to create. The pop-up, lift-the-flap, interactive nature of the book gets kids thinking outside the box.
Art. Art the boy love to make art. In fact, he creates art with explosive energy, making dots, squiggles, splatters. He draws so much he collapses in an exhausted heap, waking up to find his mother has put all his art on the fridge.
Jeremy Draws a Monster should engage any child who loves a bit of humorous whimsy. In his apartment, Jeremy draws a monster who turns out to be a bit demanding. He want more stuff drawn for him, such as a sandwich, a telephone, a checker board. Jeremy decides he’s had enough and draws him a bus ticket out of town.
Andrew Drew and Drew. Andrew’s pencil is a source of creative inspiration. As he draws, his creations change and pages unfold to reveal surprises. One page even includes a small easel with pages that kids can actually flip through. What I especially like about this book is that Andrew does not appear to plan out his drawing. He lets the pencil’s spirit “move him” (if you will allow me the cliche).
The Boy Who Drew Cats. The parents of a young boy decide he is not cut out for farming and send him away to train as a priest. Although the boy studies hard, what he most loves to do is draw pictures of cats, so the priest sends him away to become an artist. The priest gives him a snippet of advice which the boy does not understand, but when he comes to an abandoned temple, the advice and his penchant for drawing cats has unexpected but happy consequences.
What are your favorite books to inspire creativity in kids?