I’m Trying To Love Spiders


A creative non-fiction book, I’m Trying To Love Spiders, combines facts about spiders and author Bethany Barton’s journey of overcoming her fear of spiders.

imtryingtolovespiderspg1 ©Bethany Barton

In regards to her perspective on spiders, Bethany Barton stated, “I want to think of them as bug ninjas.” She believes that she shouldn’t be afraid of them since spiders do good things for the world. Did you know that a single spider can eat over 75 pounds of bugs in a year?

imstilltyringtolovespiderspg2 ©Bethany Barton

Humorous illustrations accompany spider facts.

This story promotes humor, combination – facts with imagination, and a different perspective.

TITLE: I’m Trying To Love Spiders

AUTHOR: Bethany Barton

ILLUSTRATOR: Bethany Barton

PUBLISHER: Viking, 2015


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: humor, combination – facts with imagination, and different perspective


1) Pick an animal that you don’t like. Research that animal. Discover at least five facts that you find good (positive) about it. Having learned these new facts, how does it change your perception about the animal? Remember even if you still don’t like the animal, you can appreciate and respect it.

2) Make a variety of homemade spiders.

spider-handprint Handprint spider.

Egg carton with pipe cleaner spider. egg-carton-spider

donut-pretzel-spiders-halloween-easy-fun-kid-craft Doughnut and pretzel spider. To easily make these, visit: http://www.itsalwaysautumn.com/2014/09/24/easy-mini-donut-spiders-easy-halloween-treat-kids-can-make.html#_a5y_p=2500159


To learn more about author/illustrator Bethany Barton, visit:


Creative Thinking Prompt: Hidden on the Inside


Creative Thinking Prompt: Hidden on the Inside

This post started with “I wonder… how marshmallows have an outer crust to protect the gooey inside when the outer and inner parts of the marshmallow are made of similar ingredients.”

Then I asked another question – what is similar to a marshmallow with the soft gooey inside and a harder outside shell. Then my mind made another connection, which led to today’s creative thinking prompt.

What else hides something inside?

Think nature. Use your imagination. Look around you. Add 30 more ideas to the list below.

  • shells protect nuts
  • skin protects muscles and organs
  • egg shells
  • protective outer shell contains that contain a hidden
  • a chest filled with treasure
  • beans pods with beans inside
  • milkweed pods
  • a house

Think Deeper: Make your own marshmallows. What flavor would you create?

Here are two different recipes.



The Monsters’ Monster


The Monsters’ Monster”

Every day, three little rascals, Grooch, Grump, Gloom’n’Doom, argue about who is the biggest, baddest monster. To settle their argument, they bring to life the biggest, baddest monster ever.



Instead of creating mayhem like the rascals enjoy doing, the monster shows them how powerful gratitude is.

This story promotes inventiveness, creativity and following one’s heart.

TITLE: The Monsters’ Monster

AUTHOR: Patrick McDonnell

ILLUSTRATOR: Patrick McDonnell

PUBLISHER: Little Brown and Company, 2012


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: inventiveness, creativity and following one’s heart


1) Write a story about a monster who searches for the best tasting plate of spaghetti. What obstacles might your monster face? When she or he finally finds the spaghetti, what happens unexpectedly?

2) Invent your own version of Frankenstein or another type of monster. Name your monster. How does your monster act? Why does s/he behave like that? What does your monster want? Where does your monster live? Who is your monster’s best friend?


To learn more about author/illustrator Patrick McDonnell, visit:


Creative Thinking Prompt: Environmental Fashion Art


Photo: Nicole Dextras

Creative Thinking Prompt: Environmental Fashion Art

Creative thinkers think in a different way. They see the world in a different way. They use materials in ways that they aren’t intended. An environmental artist uses natural items to create works of art. What if you were an environmental artist, how might you use natural materials such as leaves and flowers to create fashion? Design an article of clothing for yourself, a doll, a fairy or gnome using botanical materials.

To learn and see more of Nicole Dextras’s botanical wearables and her Weedrobes, visit:


Think Deeper: How do you express your individuality through fashion?

Crafty Chloe


Crafty Chloe”

Crafty Chloe wants to find the perfect store bought gift for her best friend Emma. When another girl buys the present that Emma really wanted, Chloe is left feeling hopeless and wonders if a homemade gift can make a perfect present.


Chloe’s passion for making things inspires her to create a special birthday gift for her best friend.

This story promotes resourcefulness, creativity and following one’s passion.

TITLE: Crafty Chloe

AUTHOR: Kelly DiPucchio


PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2012


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: resourcefulness, creativity, following one’s passion


1) Collect some nature items and some things you have lying around the house. Don’t go out and buy anything. Using these materials, create a handmade gift for someone or a pet.

2) Which would you prefer to receive – a store bought gift or a handmade gift? Why? What makes a handmade gift special? What makes a store bought gift special?


To learn more about author Kelly DiPucchio, visit:


To learn more about illustrator Heather Ross, visit:


To learn how to make the crafts in this book, visit:


Creative Thinking Prompt: Leaf Art

Creative Thinking Prompt:  Leaf Art

What can you imagine that leaf to be?

Collect nature objects and create animals or underwater scenes.


Deer Leaf Artwork courtesy of kokokokids

35+ Creative Leaf Animal Art

Or learn about an artist technique called leaf cut away developed by Lorenzo Duran to create images within leaves.

New Cut-Away Leaf Art by Lorenzo Durán

To view Artist Lorenzo Duran’s leaf art, visit:




Once Upon An Alphabet


“Once Upon An Alphabet: Short Stories for all the Letters”

Not your traditional ABC book, Once Upon An Alphabet, is original in its artwork and storytelling. Once upon a time there lived a string of letters that strung together form the alphabet. Each letter’s character works hard to form words, which then turn into stories. Oliver Jeffers’ use of humor, alliteration, facts, and storytelling creates adventure from A to Z.

This story promotes originality and imagination.

TITLE: Once Upon An Alphabet

AUTHOR: Oliver Jeffers

PHOTOS By: Oliver Jeffers

PUBLISHER: Philomel Books, 2014


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: originality, imagination


1) Using the first letter of your first name, invent a letter character. Write a story about your letter character.

2) Write an acrostic poem, using the letters in your name.

Asks “what if”

Nestles Books

New World Seeker

Knack for Imagining

Enthusiastically Creates

Lyrical Language and


Explorer of

Yet another library

To learn more about writing acrostic poems, visit:



To learn more about author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers, visit:


To journey through worlds created by Oliver Jeffers, visit Oliver Jeffers interactive website and click on a character:


Creative Thinking Prompt: A Catching Net


Creative Thinking Prompt: A Catching Net

The purpose of a net is to catch things. What type of things could I catch with a net? Brainstorm a list of ways that a net is used. Invent a special net to catch an imaginary creature. Sketch what your net looks like and how it works. What type of material is your net made from? How big or small is your net? Is it a particular color? Why?

Think Deeper: What other purpose could your invented net be used for?

“Let’s Go NUTS!”


Let’s Go Nuts! Seeds We Eat”

 What do nuts, beans, and grains have in common? They’re all seeds! Get your pom-poms and start cheering. Let’s Go Nuts!, a rhyming chant, introduces a wide assortment of seeds to young readers.


Beautifully arranged photographs depict common and unusual seed and nut varieties.


In the back of the book, “A Few More Handfuls: The Scoop On Seeds” offers factual information in a question and answer format.

This story promotes making connections, originality and diversity.

TITLE: Let’s Go Nuts! Seeds We Eat

AUTHOR: April Pulley Sayre

PHOTOS By: April Pulley Sayre

PUBLISHER: Beach Lane Books, 2013


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: making connections, originality, diversity


1) Make a list of all the beans you are familiar with. What types of beans does your family eat? As part of my mom’s Italian culture, her family included chickpeas in their recipes. How might what you eat reflect your family’s culture?

2) Collect a variety of nuts, beans and grains. Using a clean pizza box, arrange your seeds to “paint” a landscape or an image of an animal (similar to sand art). If you’d like to keep your art, lather the bottom of the box with a layer of glue and then arrange your seeds to form your image. Let it dry overnight.


Look for these other books in the series:


“Rah, Rah Radishes!”  


“Go, Go, Grapes”

To learn more about author/photographer April Pulley Sayre, visit:


Creative Thinking Prompt: Jelly Bean Surprise


Creative Thinking Prompt: Jelly Bean Surprise

Write the word ‘bean’ at the top of a piece of lined paper. Brainstorm 25 things related to ‘bean.’ Then think up five more.

bean stalk

jelly bean

lima bean

pinto bean

bean sprout

black bean

refried beans

string beans

green bean

bean bag chair

bean bag

Pick five or more from your list and write a story using the title, Jelly Bean Surprise. Your chosen items can be characters, part of the story problem, part of the solution, part of the setting, etc.

As you write, remember that stories have a beginning (character has a problem), middle (character attempts to solve problem), and end (character solves the problem). When you’re finished, share your story, if you’d like.