Category Archives: Nature

The True Adventure of Esther the Wonder Pig

The True Adventure of Esther the Wonder Pig”

Based on a true story about a rescued pig, Esther’s two dads were told she was a mini pig. But there was nothing mini about Esther.

She grew and grew and grew.

Esther often got into mischief. She made a mess in the garden.

She sneaked into the freezer and ate all the ice pops. But she would look into her dads’ eyes and that smile…it was love.

Eventually Esther, at over six hundred pounds, outgrew their tiny house. Her two dads bought property and created the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary for rescued animals.

This book promotes creative nonfiction and humor.

TITLE: The True Adventure of Esther the Wonder Pig

AUTHOR: Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter, Caprice Crane

ILLUSTRATOR: Cori Doerrfield

PUBLISHER: Little, Brown and Company, 2018


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: humor, creative nonfiction


1) Imagine having a dinosaur as a pet. What adventures would you and your pet have? What mischief might your pet get into?

2) Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary is located in Canada. Explore animal sanctuaries in other countries. How do animal shelters in the United States differ and are similar than other countries’ shelter? What ways can you help rescued animals? 


To learn more about Esther the Pig, visit:

To learn more about author Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter, Caprice Crane, visit:

To learn more about Caprice Crane, visit:

To learn more about illustrator Cori Doerrfield, visit:

Creative Thinking Prompt: Create a New Basket Design

Creative Thinking Prompt: Create a New Basket Design

Catriona Pollard – “Sowing New Seeds”

Creative thinkers sometimes take what someone else has done and think about ways it can be improved. Australian fiber artist, Catriona Pollard takes natural weaving materials to create art. Her baskets connect people to nature. When working with foraged and discarded plant material, she “listens” to the material, weaving and shaping it into what it wants to be to create her unique organic sculptures.

Creative Thinking Prompt: Create a New Basket Design

First, think about the purpose of a basket. Is used to hold things, to carry things, or to be home to an animal? Brainstorm other ways a basket can be used. Will it hang from a wall? Will someone use it? From your list, pick one purpose.

Second, make a list of different materials that can a basket can be made from. Choose one material to use when creating your basket.

Third, think about how you can make your basket unique. Remember it needs to achieve its purpose.

Fourth, sketch out your design.

Fifth, gather materials you will need and begin to create your basket. Don’t worry if your design does not work at first. Sometimes it takes several tries and revision before it works. Your design may take on a different approach than what you originally thought and that is okay.

Sixth, elaborate on your basket design. What embellishments or decorations would you like to add (or not add)? What can be added or taken away to improve your basket’s function?

Seventh, proudly use and display your basket.

You can also use this creative thinking technique called Scamper to help you design your basket.

S = Substitute:  Remove some part and replace it with something else.

C = Combination:  Join or force together two or more elements of your subject to develop a solution.

A = Adapt:  Change some part so that it works where before it didn’t work.

M = Magnify or modify:  Consider the attributes of the subject and change them. Attributes include: size, shape, other dimensions, texture, color, position, etc.

P = Put to other uses:  Think about your subject – why it exists, what it is used for, what it’s supposed to do. Then think up new and unusual purposes.           

E = Eliminate:  Remove any or all elements of the subject to find another solution.

R = Rearrange or reverse:  Look at the subject from different perspectives. Turn it upside-down, inside-out. Make it go backwards, against the direction it was intended to go or be used. Similar to Reverse, modify the order of operations or any other hierarchy involved.


To learn more about Catriona Pollard and her creative process, visit:  and watch this short video:

To practice your weaving skills, create an easy paper basket:

Animal Ark

Animal Ark”

In this collaborative project between photographer Joel Sartore and Newberry-winning author Kwame Alexander, Animal Ark blends their talents to give focus on some of the endangered species in our magnificent animal kingdom. Alexander’s haiku poetry accompanies Sartore’s visual haikus (photos). Their message, We are family, drives home that we must all take care of our planet.

Background matter includes notes from the photographer and the writer.

This book promotes creativity, helping others, nature and discovery.

TITLE: Animal Ark

AUTHOR: Kwame Alexander


PUBLISHER: National Geographic Partners, 2017


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, helping others, nature, discovery


1) What can you do to help save endangered species?

2) Choose a photo of an endangered animal. Research your animal. Use a few of those facts to help you write a haiku poem about your animal.


To learn more about photographer Joel Sartore, visit:

Joel is the founder of the Photo Ark, a groundbreaking effort to document species before they disappear—and to get people to care while there’s still time.

To learn more about author Kwame Alexander, visit: