Grow your Creativity, Grow your World

Shepherd Park/Juanita E. Thornton LibraryStaff Picks

Grow your Creativity, Grow your World

Books to help spark new ideas

Everyone (even kids!) can feel stuck at times. Whether you're facing a tough homework problem, or a challenge that seems insurmountable, sometimes the answer requires taking a new perspective. That's where creativity enters the picture. Treating creativity as a practice allows new perspectives and options to enter the world. The books below can help stretch the mind and develop new insights.

For children birth to 5

What If by Samantha Berger
What would you do if you encountered a challenge? What if you didn't have the tools you thought you needed to tell your story? In this inspiring picture book a girl is determined to share her ideas, no matter what setbacks exist. 

Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis
Little piggy's stick is not a stick! Find out the many things they imagine their stick to be in this charming and beloved picture book. Small children will love to shout out what piggy imagines.

Wonder Bear by Tao Nyeu
This wordless book in Nyeu's distinctive style is fantastic for preschoolers. Brainstorm with your child about what is happening on each page to encourage their growth in early literacy!

For children 6-12

The Dot by Peter Reynolds
Vashti does not think she's an artist and she hates art class. When her teacher encourages her to try, Vashti angrily creates one dot on her paper. It's only when she see her work hanging on the wall the next day when she begins to explore the limits of her creativity.

Maybe Something Beautiful by Isabel Campoy
Based on a true story, this colorful book tells the story of Mira who loves to draw. When she meets a muralist they work together with the community to transform the buildings in the neighborhood into works of art. 

El Deafo by Cece Bell
This autobiographical graphic novel explores how Cece creatively turned her childhood experience with hearing aids and lip reading into a super power. By transforming into El Deafo she can harness her superpower and succeed. This work is also available in Spanish.

Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman's delightful shaggy dog story fosters imaginative thinking. On the way back from errands, a father is abducted by aliens! In a dramatic escape he runs into pirates and dinosaurs. Gaiman's book is a romp departing from his usual in-depth dramatic story telling.

Pie in the Sky by Remi Lai
Jingwen feels like he has landed on another planet when he moves to another country. The only thing he feels will help him is to bake all of the cakes on the menu for his dad's dream cafe, Pie in the Sky. This book is a great read for kids who enjoy the style of Jeff Kinney's Wimpy Kid series.

Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez
For the kid who is looking for something magical but also a little haunting, this graphic novel is perfect. Sandy loves to draw, but when she meets a new mysterious friend at school named Morfie, she feels like she has lost her inspiration. Something is wrong and she doesn't know how to make it right. With inspiring illustrations, Alvarez has made a riveting graphic novel that will stand the test of time.

For teens and adults

The Hero's Closet: Sewing for Cosplay and Costuming by Gillian Conahan
Maybe you want to dress like a superhero, maybe you're planning on attending next year's Maryland Ren Fest, or maybe you just want to take on a new identity for a while. Costuming can be a great outlet for that energy, and this guide is an excellent and easy introduction to help you become the character you imagine. Creativity can have tangible effects!

What If? by Randall Munroe
Have you ever wondered what would happen if everyone on the planet jumped at the same time, or if you gathered all of the elements into one room? Randall Munroe, artist from the popular online comic xkcd, answers a bunch of fascinating musings with science in this stick figure illustrated collection. This title is also available in Spanish.