Fostering the Identities of the StoryMaker
Books to inspire the maker, storyteller, artist and writer
StoryMaking allows the child to use their creativity and materials to develop their identity as a maker, a storyteller, an artist and a writer! Using books is an effective way to inspire your child to grow in these areas and become a StoryMaker by leading them through the StoryMaker Cycle of imagine, play, make and share. Learning is taking place when we see children display the learning practices of the Makers’ Movement such as inquire, express intention, tinker, seek out resources, hack and repurpose, develop fluency and share. The overall goal of StoryMaking is to foster the maker, storyteller, artist and writer in each child but also develop a Makers’ Mindset that will help children develop into better humans that will have the mindset and can-do spirit to solve problems as well as share and help others. Here are some book titles we have collected throughout our planning and teaching to foster the StoryMaker within the children we have taught.
- To Foster THE MAKER
This book inspires children to see past what a material is and show them want the material can become when they use their imaginations and tools. From a mountain to a rocket ship, a small rabbit shows that a box is not just a box and can be made into anything as far as the imagination allows.
Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
This book focuses on the beloved block materials that we place inside our construction makerspaces and encourages young makers that they can build anything if they just let their imaginations soar! This book is full of ideas that will help children wonder and imagine how they might play with their blocks and then express intention on what they want to make with the block materials.
When I Build With Blocks by Niki Alling
Many of the children we observed either made their own props and costumes or selected materials placed in our performance makerspaces to become the character they imagined. This book can be used to inspire young children how by just dressing up they can become the characters in their minds and then stand back and let their imaginations take flight just like Ladybug Girl. This helps children practice how to seek out resources such as materials, props and dress up clothes in a performance makerspace when they are playing and making stories to share.
Ladybug Girl Dresses Up! by David Soman and Jacky Davis
This is a beautiful story about a girl who makes paper dolls that become characters in the wonderful adventures she imagines. As she plays, she imagines how different objects can become a part of her creative stories. She even uses her tiger slipper as a puppet! We hope this story inspires the children to tinker and test their ideas with different materials to help their imaginations come to life!
The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson
This book showcases a character that demonstrates the growth mindset we want to develop in our young makers. Papa is always coming up with new and exciting ideas. None of his inventions have ever been a big success, but his mindset of persistence helps him believe that he will be successful one day. A family fishing trip to Lake Michigan sparks a new idea and Papa starts tinkering then hacking and repurposing to refine his idea. This story is based on the real-life inventor Lodner Phillips. It is an inspiring story about creativity, perseverance and the importance of developing a can-do-attitude to make something you imagine!
Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming
Shy Rosie sees inspiration in everyday objects that most people would throw away. Then Rosie becomes afraid of failure until she receives a visit from her great-great-aunt Rose. She shows her that every attempt isn’t something to fear, but something to celebrate. This book displays the importance of embracing your mistakes that develops the growth mindset that ideas can be continuously developed and improved if you only persist and believe in your ideas. Let’s be the great-great-aunt Rose to our children and help them see that they can play, make and share anything they imagine.
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
This book shows a character who uses materials to make a physical representation of the story ideas she imagines. This is an effective way for children to communicate what they are thinking while they are growing their oral and written language abilities. This story is about a girl who gathers materials and makes projects on her quest to make something magnificent. Read the text to with your children and ask, “What materials are you inspired to use and what will you make?”
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
- To Foster THE STORYTELLER
This book demonstrates how children can play with toys to imagine stories. The boy in the story acts out the details of his stories and recites them aloud as he interacts with different materials in the book. He develops fluency with his materials as he incorporates more of his toys into his playing that inspires him to make even more inventive stories to share (even with his little brother).
The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy by Jacky Davis and David Soman
In this book, Ralph feels like nothing ever happens to him and every day when he tries to write, it is really hard. But then he imagines a story idea! When his classmates begin to question him he begins to make details and shares a great story! This book is sure to build confidence in children of all ages that they all have stories to share and that stories are everywhere! It is a perfect example to show children how they can seek out resources in their friends to help them play and make stories to share.
Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon
This book provides examples of very short stories that that the character tells in the text. But the illustrations in the story show the imagination of this girl and invites the readers to make up their own story to share. Children will have the opportunity to develop the Makers’ Mindset of curiosity with this book as they explore and analyze the illustrations to elaborate and share more possibilities of what happened during a day.
One Day, The End.: Short, Very Short, Shorter-Than-Ever Stories by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Wordless picture books are powerful tools that you can use to inspire storytelling with your children. They are packed with images in every illustration that is sure to spark the imagination. This book promotes a sense of curiosity and invites children to wonder about what there is to discover outside at night. Children will relate to exploring outside and can easily identify with the actions of this character. As they question the details in the illustrations, you can encourage them to play and make a story to share by describing the actions on the character on each page.
Flashlight by Lizi Boyd
Other Wordless Picture Books we recommend to inspire storytelling with your children:
- Chalk by Bill Thomson
- Fossil by Bill Thomson
- Rainstorm by Barbara Lehman
- Quest by Aaron Becker
- Float by Daniel Miyares
- Pool by Jihyeon Lee
- To Foster THE ARTIST
This book beautifully portrays how artists can show their readers the time of day by the choice of colors and intensity they use in the illustrations. The book begins in black and gray to show the night world and then slowly incorporates colors as the sun rises.
The Night World by Mordical Gerstein
Mentor texts serve as a powerful model for children. RRRalph is a dog who can talk and is a fun character that children can relate to. Everything in the book is designed with collage materials, including cardboard, buttons, paper, pop tops, and more. Read the text to your children and ask, “What collage materials are you inspired to use and what will you make?” They will learn an artist technique of collage and imagine new ways to play and make a story.
RRRalph by Lois Ehlert
This next story truly demonstrates how art can help you imagine a story. This true story is about how art can inspire transformation by adding beauty and hope to a city. It also has a great message that even the smallest artists can accomplish something big and make a difference! We love the idea of first studying the illustrations in the book or the actual mural that inspired this book first. Allow children to discuss what they see. After ample time exploring the art, present a technique that the artist/illustrator uses. When children begin to play and make their own art it will begin to “story” either fictional tales or nonfiction how-to writing to explain how they made their art.
Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell
This book shows how Louise loves Art more than anything. It’s her imagination on the outside! This book is perfect to show how artists can get their ideas, make with their favorite material and share what they made with the people they love. Best of all it demonstrates one of Makers’ Mindset qualities of becoming a better human, which is developing social emotional competence through play. Louise’s relationship with her little brother takes importance over her masterpiece and together they share their love of art together as they make.
Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light
- To Foster THE WRITER
This book encourages all writers that the marks they make on paper have meaning! A young boy wants to write a story but he doesn’t know his letters. After trying, his story grows and discovers that we all have the ability to write our own perfect story. A great example of how even the youngest writers need to believe in their capabilities.
A Squiggly Story by Andrew Larsen and Mike Lowery
This story is about a girl who wants to win a library writing contest so she can win a rollercoaster ride with her favorite author. It highlights the StoryMakers ability to seek out resources by asking her family what makes the best story. In the end, she finds her own voice to make the best version of her story and showcases a culture of collaboration and sharing needed to accomplish a goal for the writer.
The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli