Tag Archives: risk taking

Pencils, Pens & Brushes: A Great Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation

“Pencils, Pens & Brushes: A Great Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation”

Based on Mindy Johnson’s Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation, this bold, bright-colored nonfiction picture book tells the stories of Disney’s women animators who lent their talents to achieve a lot of “firsts.” Twenty women, known as “Great Girls,” and their inspiring stories are showcased in this book, beginning with the two Mrs. Disneys – Lillian and Edna who married the Disney brothers and helped them achieve success.

Each woman is introduced with a black and white photo of herself, accompanied by an illustration of her performing her job in the animation process at Disney. After each woman’s story, a rhyming couplet sums up her contribution to the world of animation and what “Great Girls” can do.

These trailblazing women also achieved “firsts” outside of the animation world like Grace Huntington who set the national altitude record for a female pilot in a lightplane back in 1939.

One of my favorite inspirations comes from Mary Costa’s story, who was the voice of Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty. She said that Walt Disney encouraged her to pursue her dream of being a great opera singer. “If you have the four “D’s” – Dedication, Determination, and Discipline – you’ll achieve your Dreams!” he had told her.

This book promotes creative components of a creative person, persistence, and risk-taking.

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK:  I like this book because of its inspirational message to encourage others to pursue their dreams and persist in overcoming obstacles. While this book is about empowering girls, it is also about the dedication of these women and their contributions to the world of animation as well as other outstanding accomplishments.

TITLE: Pencils, Pens & Brushes: A Great Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation

AUTHOR: Mindy Johnson


PUBLISHER: Disney Enterprises, 2019


TOPIC(S): women animators who lent their talent to Disney animators, inspiration, history of female animators

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creative person, perservance, risk-taking


1) Try something new today like a food you’ve never tasted or a game where you don’t know the rules.

2) What colors represent you? Think of different shades. Blend a couple colors together to create a new color. What’s the name of your invented color? How does that name reflect your personality? 

3) What’s your favorite animated movie? Pretend you are one of the characters in the movie and rewrite a scene with you in it.


To learn more about author Mindy Johnson, visit:


To learn more about illustrator Lorelay Bové, visit:


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:




Crocodali is the most talented painter in the whole wide world. Readers help him to create a masterpiece by tilting, turning and shaking this book. Oops! Tilted too far. Now what?

Finally, a masterpiece.

Now blow to dry the paint.

Will a masterpiece be created or a mess?

This story promotes imagination, creative expression, and taking risks.

TITLE: Crocodali

AUTHOR: Lucy Volpin


PUBLISHER: Little Bee Books, 2017


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: imagination, creative expression, taking risks


1) On a blank sheet of paper, paint blobs of watercolors, using watercolors. When the paint is dried, use a pen to outline where colors merge. What do shapes or images do your lines form? Use the line to create a picture.

2) Purposely make a mistake on your paper. Don’t erase it. Change your perspective and make your mistake a part of your picture or into something else.


To learn more about author/illustrator Lucy Volpin, visit: