Category Archives: Creative Problem Solving

Robyn Boid: Architect


Robyn Boid: Architect”

Robyn Boid lives on the ledge of the university’s architecture school. She wants to be an architect when she grows up so she listens and learns.

Before designing a nest, she asks herself questions to investigate. Are nests always best? What comes first: the nest or the egg?

She practices different nest-shaped designs such as a dome, a towering spire, cylinders, and pyramids. Robyn always asks herself: how will an egg fit.

Will Robyn find the answers to her questions and design the best nest for an egg?

At the back of the book are a glossary of architecture terms and teacher notes.

This story promotes creative components of curiosity, risk-taking, and creative problem solving.

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: I like this book because the main character continually asks questions as she experiments with her designs.

TITLE: Robyn Boid: Architect

AUTHOR: Maree Coote


PUBLISHER: Melbournestyle Books, 2017


TOPIC(S): architecture, design process

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: curiosity, risk-taking, creative problem solving


1) After reading the book, which nest do you like best? What questions might you ask in order to better understand how to build this particular design? What types of materials and bonding agents can be used? Research answers to your questions. Using trial and error, experiment with different materials and bonding agents. Then build your favorite nest from the book.

2) Invent a new nest design that you think would be fit for an egg.


To learn more about author and illustrator Maree Coote, visit:

The Patchwork Bike

The Patchwork Bike” 

In the book, The Patchwork Bike, siblings make their own fun by building a bike from scratch.

Using a hodgepodge of scavenged items, they assemble their bike and ride it through their village and their mud-for-walls home.

Lyrical language and powerful illustrations create an evocative story.

This story promotes creative components of diversity, resourceful, imagination, and inventiveness.

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: I like this book because the marriage of text and perfectly evoke the joy of riding a bike and capturing readers’ imagination. The title immediately piqued my curiosity, and I wondered how could a bike be patchwork. I enjoyed the author’s lyrical language such as shicketty shake and winketty wonk.

TITLE: The Patchwork Bike

AUTHOR: Maxine Beneba Clarke


PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press, 2018


TOPIC(S): recycled materials, culture, siblings, bike riding

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: diversity, resourceful, imagination, inventiveness


1) Hodgepodge, a synonym for patchwork, is defined as being composed of parts of different kinds. Basically, it is an assortment of different things that do not originally go together but are assembled together to create a final product. What can you make? Gather different items. Take apart the larger items (with permission) into smaller parts. Looking at these various parts, what can you make to create a hodgepodge machine? What is the function(s) of your machine? Build your machine. Name your machine.

2) Design a bike that reflects your personality. Conduct research on different types of bicycles. Remember to look at past bikes, recent bikes, and even bikes of the future to inspire your design.

3) Illustrator Van Thanh Rudd painted on recycled cardboard for the book’s illustrations. Try your hand at painting on cardboard. How is it different from painting on paper? Why do you think the illustrator used cardboard?


To learn more about author Maxine Beneba Clarke, visit:

To learn more about illustrator Van Thanh Rudd, visit:

What If…

What If…”

Samantha Berger’s rhyming picture book, What If…, celebrates creative expression. A determined girl uses paper and a pencil to create her stories. But happens when her pencil is gone. She’ll shape the leaves. What if the leaves are blown away? She’ll sculpt in snow. What if the snow melts? She’ll use sunlight and shadows. What if everything is taken away?

This story promotes creative components of imagination, persistence, resourceful, and valuing creativity.

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: I like this book for three reasons. First, when the main character is faced with obstacles, she chooses to use her imagination and resources around her to find ways to express her creativity. She does not let anything stop her. Secondly, I appreciate the last page of this book which states: “As long as I live, I will always create,” a personal mantra that I try to live by daily. Thirdly, my favorite question is what if because it promotes wonder. What if the world was square? What if I lived in another country? And so I ask you, What if?

TITLE: What If…

AUTHOR: Samantha Berger


PUBLISHER: Little, Brown and Company, 2018


THEME(S)/TOPICS: overcoming obstacles, problem solving

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: imagination, persistence, resourceful, valuing one’s creativity


1) Pick one of your favorite things to do. List the items you need in order to do your favorite thing. What would you do if those things were no longer available? How would you do your favorite thing?

2) In what ways are you creative? What would you do if you could no longer express your creativity in the way you always have?

3) Create list of “what if” questions. Share with your friends and see how their answers differ from each other. Teachers can use these what if lists for daily writing prompts.


To learn more about author Samantha Berger, visit:

To learn more about illustrator Mike Curato, visit: