10 Children's Books That Inspire Creativity

While "rowing" Harold and the Purple Crayon,  I sought out books with an art or creativity theme as go-alongs.  All of the following selections compliment Harold (and each other) nicely.  So many of the books we read could also stand alone as an art-themed literature unit of its own!

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  Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
This book is a classic, and for good reason!  It is easily one of the most creative children's stories I have ever read.  As the reader, you are instantly whisked into Harold's imagination.  As he draws a scene, he "lives" what he draws.  He draws scene after scene, creating a cohesive story.  It is a wonderful invitation to children to create there own stories through picture-- and imagine they are living their creations!   

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
A young girl named Vashti is frustrated in art class, so her teacher encourages her to "make a mark and see where it takes you."  Vashti responds by making a dot, just a dot, believing that she could not make  anything better.  To her surprise, her teacher framed her dot! Vashti is then inspired to make more dot pictures, believing she could make a better dot than the one her teacher framed.  She experiments with different mediums and different perspectives.  What she thought was just a dot became the inspiration for a gallery of artwork, and she discovers that she is an artist after all.  It is a very sweet story that encourages children to explore their potential.


Lunchtime for a Purple Snake by Harriet Ziefert
This is a cute story of Jessica and her grandpa, who work together to create a single painting.  Jessica learns about color mixing and how to turn her mistake into "something good."  It would be fun to co-create an original painting or drawing with your little one after reading this story together.  The illustrations and simple text make it a good choice for younger children, yet has enough substance to make it suitable for older children as well.  It could also be used as reading practice for a more  advanced emergent reader.


  Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg
There aren't many words in this book, but the message it conveys is clear and beautiful.  The message is that there are no mistakes in art!  Any "oops" can be transformed into a work of art.  The book engages children with creative, interactive pages.  You can see a quick video demo of every page on the Amazon link above.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Day Walt
This was BY FAR my kids' favorite book of the week!  They asked for this book again and again.  It begins with a boy named Duncan who reaches for his crayons, but finds a stack of complaint letters instead.  The proceeding pages are a hilarious look into the thoughts and opinions of Duncan's crayons.  Each crayon has something to say about the way it is used in Duncan's drawings and coloring pages.  It's a fun read that will challenge children to think outside of the box with  their color choices!

Here are some more creativity themed books you may want to check out:

When I began looking for creativity themed books to compliment "Harold," I searched Amazon and made a list of the books I would like to include.  Below are the ones that made the list (based on their Amazon reviews) that we haven't got to enjoy yet.


Perfect Square by Michael Hall


The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg


The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle

  Mix It Up! by Herve Tullet


Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

You may also enjoy this post:

Harold and the Purple Crayon Activities- A collection of Harold-inspired learning activities, crafts and snacks!

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1 comment :

  1. These are all great, but I can't believe you forgot The Big Orange Splot!



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