Here are 3 great books that highlight the creative potential of things accessible to everyone: lines, cardboard boxes, and mistakes.


Lines That Wiggle by Candace Whitman, illustrations by Steve Wilson

Lines That Wiggle by Candace Whitman, illustrations by Steve Wilson is a visually delightful book that demonstrates the diverse potential of a line – form, texture, motion, tone, perspective, written word. It’s beautiful! It’s lighthearted! It’s super engaging! Best of all, it sends you away believing if you can make lines then you can make art. Bonus – the last spread provides an excellent transition to a hands-on activity.


wavy lines from end to end.


lines in leaves that grow on trees. lines that twist. lines that sway


lines are everywhere you look. find some lines not in this book!


Not A Box by Antoinette Portis

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis marries the magnetism of an empty box with the vivid imagination (and somewhat defiant tone) of young children. The minimalist art and conversational text beg the reader to insert their own responses making it a collaborative out-loud read. Best of all, it illustrates that you don’t need anything other than your own imagination to find hours upon hours of play. My kids adore it almost as much as they adore empty boxes. Best to stock up on your Amazon boxes in advance!


Why are you sitting in box?


It’s not a box.


This is not a box.


It’s NOT NOT NOT a box!


Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg

Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg is a fun and relaxed celebration of mistakes. Each page turns common whoopsies (paint drips, torn pages, holes) into delightful images that demand a smile and show perfection is not necessary for creation. It’s just the right size for little hands and sturdy enough for the constant handling it receives. My perfectionist child tenses with each mistake, then releases into giggles as the image transforms. I can’t think of a better or more concrete way to reframe mistakes as process and opportunity!


A smudge and a smear…


can make magic appear.


A stain…


has potential…


if you play with its shape.