Tag Archives: risk taking

Necks Out For Adventure

Necks Out For Adventure! The True Story of Edwin Wiggleskin”

Edwin, a Wiggleskin, asks his mom a very big question.

“What would happen if we flowed with the current?” The others laugh but his mom says, “Stick your neck out for adventure like you always do.” One day a terrible smell comes with two feet and two hands and scoops up all the Wiggleskins except Edwin.

Edwin gathers his courage and pops from his shell. He rides a big wave until he smells a terrible smell. Edwin rescues the Wiggleskins by teaching them “Necks out” to shuck their shells and run back to the ocean.

This book promotes creativity, courage, and risk-taking.

TITLE: Necks Out For Adventure! The True Story of Edwin Wiggleskin

AUTHOR: Timothy Basil Ering

ILLUSTRATOR: Timothy Basil Ering

PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press, 2008


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, courage, risk-taking


1) Author Timothy Basil Ering doesn’t call a clam a clam. Instead he creates a new name, “wiggleskins.” Make a list of animals you’d find at the ocean. Next to each animal write another name for it. As you think up these new names, consider the animal’s attributes, habits and appearance.

2) What makes up an adventure? In your words, define the word adventure. What types of adventures interest you? Describe an adventure you’d like to take.


To learn more about author/illustrator Timothy Basil Ering, visit:


Mix It Up!

Mix It Up!”

Mix It Up! is interactive storytelling at its best. Shake the book! Tilt the book!

What happens to the colors of paint?

Tap the paint! Smear the paint! What happens?

Make colors lighter, add white. Make colors darker, add black. Hervé Tullet encourages readers to explore, take risks and express their creativity.

This book promotes creativity, imagination, and discovery.

TITLE: Mix It Up!

AUTHOR: Hervé Tullet


PUBLISHER: Chronicle Books, 2014, 1st published in U.S.A.


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, imagination, discovery


1) Take one paint color and mix with another color. Take two paint colors and mix with another color. Take three paint colors and mix with another color. Then fingerpaint with the colors you’ve made.

2) Use unusual materials to make paint such as jello, food coloring, etc.

3) Add sprinkles of salt to paint. Paint with it. What happens to the salted paint when it dries?


To learn more about author/illustrator Hervé Tullet, visit:





Dizzy, a picture book biography, “is the story of one real cool cat who must have been born with a horn in his hands…” Dizzy Gillespie, born poor and often beat up by other kids, re-channeled his anger into playing the trumpet given to him by his music teacher. As he grew older, Dizzy refused to follow the rules of music. He clowned around, added notes to songs, played never-been-heard notes, and always puffed out his cheeks when playing his trumpet. Dizzy had created a new kind of music – BEBOP.

This story is written like a jazz song with LOUD and s t a c c a t o beats, short lines, long lines and more, so the reader can feel the rhythm as seen in the illustration below.

This book promotes individuality, inventor, creative person, risk-taker, unique, and following one’s heart.

TITLE: Dizzy

AUTHOR: Jonah Winter


PUBLISHER: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2006


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: individuality, inventor, creative person, risk-taker, unique, following one’s heart


1) What are you passionate about? Do you feel like you can’t live without it? If you couldn’t pursue your passion, what would you do instead?

2) How do you express yourself creatively?

3) Whether or not you play instrument, what instrument do you like the sound of the most? What instrument do you like the structure and shape of the most?


Notice how the illustrator uses color and thick brush strokes to convey the energy and tone of Dizzy’s music. Paint how you feel when you are doing something you love and then paint how you feel when you are doing something you don’t like.


To learn more about author Jonah Winter, visit:


To learn more about illustrator Sean Qualls, visit:


The Most Magnificent Thing

“The Most Magnificent Thing

One day a girl has a wonderful idea to make the most magnificent thing. She knows how it will look and how it will work. After she makes it, it doesn’t look or work how she imagined.

She tries again and again but it still won’t work. It isn’t magnificent.

Frustrated and angry, she quits. Her trusty helper tells her to go for a walk.

When they return, she sees all the things she created. Each one better than before. That gives her an idea…

This book promotes discovery, the creative process, and risk-taking.

TITLE: The Most Magnificent Thing

AUTHOR: Ashley Spires

ILLUSTRATOR: Ashley Spires

PUBLISHER: Kids Can Press, 2014


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: discovery, the creative process, risk-taking


1) Pick an invention that interests you. What might you change to make it better? What might you add or subtract from it? Can you substitute a different part? What else can the invention be used for?

2) What do you do when you are frustrated? Do you quit, give up? Do you push forward and try again? Do you try a new approach? Tell about a time that you wanted to quit but you didn’t.


To learn more about author/illustrator Ashley Spires, visit:


Harold Finds A Voice

Harold Finds A Voice”

In Harold Finds A Voice, Harold, a great mimicking parrot, grows tired of repeating the same sounds and escapes from home.

As he flies through Paris and hears new sounds, he discovers that everything has its own voice.

But when Harold speaks, he emits a horrible sound.

Will Harold find a voice?

Readers can mimic the sounds that Harold encounters on his journey.

This book promotes discovery, individuality, and risk-taking.

TITLE: Harold Finds A Voice

AUTHOR: Courtney Dicmas

ILLUSTRATOR: Courtney Dicmas

PUBLISHER: Child’s Play Inc., 2013


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: discovery, individuality, risk-taking


1) The illustrations in this book do not use solid or completed outlines. Using watercolor paints, create a scene and/or character. If you’d like, add incomplete outlines using a black pen or marker.

2) Think of all the objects in your home that makes a sound. Write down the sound using onomatopoeia (the imitation of a sound that an item makes). See if you can create 20 onomatopoeias.

For example: toaster: Frzz! Ding!

blender: Bweee!

coffee pot: Burble

oil in a frying pan: spiz


To learn more about author/illustrator Courtney Dicmas, visit:


The Noisy Paint Box


The Noisy Paintbox: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art

Born in Moscow, Russia on December 4, 1866, Vasily Kandinsky was raised as proper boy. When he was a young boy, his aunt gave him a paint box. When he mixed the colors, he heard music. “The swirling colors trilled like an orchestra tuning up for a magical symphony.” But he ignored his noisy paint box.

Instead Kandinsky did what was expected – he studied law and became a lawyer. One night he attended the opera. As he listened to the music, he saw vibrant colors and his desire to paint flared once again. So he quit the law and studied painting. However, he did what was expected of him and painted pretty landscapes and ladies.


Finally, Kandinsky listened to his heart and took a risk.


He painted what he felt and allowed the world to see his paintings despite knowing the criticism his work would receive.



Kandinsky was born with synesthesia, which is when one sense triggers another sense. For Kandinsky, he experienced sound as colors. “I could hear the hiss of the colors as they mingled.” He is a respected leader of the abstract art movement.

This book promotes following one’s passion, taking risks, perspective, and creation of a new art movement.

TITLE: The Noisy Paintbox: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art

AUTHOR: Barb Rosenstock

ILLUSTRATOR: Mary Grandpré

PUBLISHER: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: following one’s passion, taking risks, perspective, creation of a new art movement


1) Imagine what it would be like if you saw numbers as colors. What would 2 + 4 = 6 look like?

To learn more about synesthesia, https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/syne.html

2) “Art should make you feel,” Vasya told his friends, “like music.” Look at some famous works of art. What artwork makes you feel happy, sad, confused, etc?


To learn more about author Barb Rosenstock, visit:


To learn more about illustrator Mary Grandpré, visit:


Creative Thinking Prompt: “Failure Forward”


Creative Thinking Prompt: “Failure Forward” means you have created an opportunity to learn and grow. At some point, everyone is afraid to make mistakes and fail. Make a list of what you do well. List 5 things you feel you could do better at. Look at your “What I Do Well” list – how could you use the things you do well to help you to improve the things you could do better at?

Think Deeper: Think of someone you admire. How did that person turn his/her experience of failure into success?




“The Yes”

The Yes was snug in his nest, but the Yes had a Where to go. The pack of Nos follow the Yes, telling him no.


Despite all the Nos and their no-ingness, The Yes gathers his courage, takes a risk and says, YES! Finally, the Nos and their no-ness and their not-ness grew faint and there was only the YES.

This book promotes self-esteem, self-confidence, taking risks.

TITLE: The Yes

AUTHOR: Sarah Bee

ILLUSTRATOR: Satoshi Kitamura

PUBLISHER: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2014


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: self-esteem, self-confidence, taking risks


1) What is one thing that you’d like to try but you don’t because of fear? Draw a picture of yourself doing that one thing. Write YES! beneath your picture.

2) Redesign the cover of the book. Draw your own YES creature.

3) In what ways can you say Yes?

Here are a few of mine –



Do it again!

I jump in the air.


To learn more about author Sarah Bee, visit:


To learn more about illustrator Satoshi Kitamura, visit:



“Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved A Mystery That Baffled All Of France”

During the American Revolution, in 1776, Ben Franklin traveled to France to gain support for America.


The King of France asked the ever curious Ben Franklin to investigate Dr. Messmer, who had claimed to discover a new energy force that could heal people.


Using the scientific method, Ben discovered that Dr. Messmer was a fraud and his force didn’t exist.


Through many of his own experiments, Ben Franklin developed the steps for the Scientific Method.


Author Mara Rockliff layers her story with history, mystery and science. At the back of the book, explanation is given about the Scientific Method as well as new science discoveries – hypnosis, the placebo effect and how the mind can actually help a person heal. This book promotes the discovery process, creative thinking, STEM, and experimenting.

TITLE: Mesmerized

AUTHOR: Mara Rockliff


PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press, 2015


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: discovery process, creative thinking, experimenting

I’d like to give a Shout Out to my friend, fellow blogger and writer, Beth Anderson, for introducing me to Mesmerized. Beth is also a former teacher. Please visit her blog at https://bethandersonwriter.com


1) What do you wonder about? Write a hypothesis and conduct an experiment of your own using the steps of the Scientific Method to discover more about your wonder.

2) Throughout the story, French words are spoken. Using a French dictionary, look up these conversational phrases and words to find their meanings.

Mon chér


Au contraire

Je ne sais pas!

What other French phrases or words would you like to know?


To learn more about author Mara Rockliff, visit: http://www.mararockliff.com

To learn more about illustrator Iacopo Bruno, visit: http://illustrationfriday.com/2015/02/stunning-book-covers-by-artist-iacopo-bruno/

Here’s a Dot, There’s a Dot

the dot


the dot celebrates the creative spirit in all of us.

Vashti didn’t feel like an artist. “Just make a mark and see where it takes you,” says Vashti’s art teacher. Vashti makes a dot, signs her name. Her teacher frames her dot. Vashti believes she can do better. She engages in exploring the art process and her own creative process.  A little boy says, “I can’t draw.”  “Sign it,” encourages Vashti.

TITLE: the dot

AUTHOR: Peter H. Reynolds

ILLUSTRATOR: Peter H. Reynolds

PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press, 2003


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, imagination, risk taking, creative spirit, self-esteem


1) Sign your name using dots instead of lines.

2) Make a connect-the-dot image.

For further activities, Candlewick Press Presents a Guide for Classrooms using the dot, visit http://www.candlewick.com/book_files/076362344X.btg.1.pdf


To learn more about author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds,

visit:  http://www.peterhreynolds.com