Picture Books That Inspire Readers to Create

Did you know that author/illustrator Yuyi Morales is a self-taught artist? The public library was her school. Picture books inspired her to create. When Morales immigrated to America, she spent hours studying and copying picture books. The books fueled her dreams, curiosity, and creativity. 

The Woodstock Library in Ontario brings Morales’s story to mind. The library welcomes patrons to create art based on their favorite picture books. Free goodie bags full of art supplies inspire readers to draw, color, and decorate. A partnership with the Woodstock Art Gallery brought this program together. 

How can your school library inspire learners to create? Start by finding a picture book that compels you to make something. Share your work of art with learners. Explain how the book compelled you to construct something fun. 

Below are some picture books that might inspire art in your school library:


Dreamers, by Yuyi Morales, is a beautiful story that showcases what books can teach us. Readers will love the lyrical text and fascinating illustrations. They’ll appreciate seeing familiar books in the library scenes. 

One double-page spread illustrates Morales sewing paper with a needle and thread. An opened book by her feet illustrates how to make a book. Readers may want to make their own book after seeing this illustration. Direct them to Wonderopolis, an AASL Best Digital Tools for Teaching & Learning. Here, learners can search the page “How Books Are Made?” to find book making activities. 

For learners who want to try embroidering after reading Dreamers, watch “Simple Embroidery for Kids” by Cassie Stephens. Stephens is an art teacher who shares great lessons on her Cassie Stephens Art Teacherin’ in Tennessee YouTube channel.

Daniel’s Good Day

Daniel’s Good Day, by Micha Archer, shows readers a different way to color pictures. Instead of using paint, markers, or crayons, Archer uses scraps of paper. The images Archer creates with collage will fascinate readers. Textured paper in different colors form buildings, trees, and flowerbeds.

Ask learners to find a page in Daniel’s Good Day that intrigues them. Invite learners to make a collage of some of the scenes. Learners may want to recreate a tree, a flower garden, or a kite. 

For more resources about creating collage, check out my blog post on Library Lessons

16 Words: William Carlos Williams & “The Red Wheelbarrow”

Readers will adore this meditative book by Lisa Rogers and Chuck Groenink. It compels readers to notice life in front of them. It’s the story about William Carlos Williams, who was a doctor and a poet. Williams observed everything around him. He made notes about intriguing things and shaped the words into beautiful poetry. 

After reading Williams’s poem, encourage learners to observe their world for a day. Tell them to notice people or items they depend upon. Tell learners to take notes and save them for the next library class. 

Instruct learners to recreate Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow” poem with their notes. Learners will write about something or someone they depend upon. They will start their poem with the words “So much depends on a ….” Challenge learners to only use 16 words like Williams did with “The Red Wheelbarrow.”

Read “Online Poetry Activities for National Poetry Month” for more about this book. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to read a comment by author Lisa Rogers.


Hike, by Pete Oswald, grabs the readers attention with an intriguing cover. Big block letters form a mountain and spell the word “hike.” A father and child scale the letters with a rope. Inside each letter is a watercolor scene of the father and child hiking. 

The creative attention to block letters may inspire readers to make their own art. Direct learners to write a word in block letters. Encourage them to decorate the letters with meaningful images. For more details on this activity, read my blog post on Library Lessons.

Just Like Rube Goldberg

Just Like Rube Goldberg is a perfect book to pair with Hike. Illustrator Robert Neubecker transformed the title into a fantastic machine. The contraption mimics a Rube Goldberg creation. Each letter in the main title is an integral part of a fly swatting device. 

Readers will love learning about Rube Goldberg in this fun book. Author Sarah Aronson reveals interesting facts about Goldberg. For example, did you know that Goldberg never made any of his machines? He only drew them! Click here to watch “Sarah Aronson Reads Just Like Rube Goldberg.”

Invite readers to turn their names into fantastic machines. Inspire learners with pictures from the book. Don’t forget the endpapers! They show illustrations made by Goldberg. 

Now it’s your turn. Tell us about the picture books that inspire you to create. Share in the comment box below! 


Author: Maureen Schlosser

Author: Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades and Social and Emotional Learning for Picture Book Readers published by ALA Editions
Blogger: https://LibraryLessonsWithBooks.com
Skillshare Teacher: https://skl.sh/3a852D5

Categories: Blog Topics, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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