Picture Books about Creative Thinking & Problem-Solving
Explore picture books about creative thinking to promote independent and critical thinkers in your classroom. They illustrate problem-solvers who develop creative ideas, make connections and are creative thinkers.
Why Read Picture Books about Creative Thinking?
According to the IB learner profile, effective thinkers “use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. [They] exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.”
Picture books about creative thinking and problem-solving show characters facing a problem and figuring out a solution. They explore the enthusiasm and empowerment of people who effectively figure things out. Book characters and illustrations will spark your students’ imagination, helping them develop and improve their own creative ideas. Benefits of critical thinking skills include:
- Evaluating information and making reasoned decisions
- Self-reflecting on strengths and weaknesses
- Analysing ideas and making connections
- Asking questions, testing theories, and making changes
- Developing self-monitoring skills
- Considering other perspectives
- Making more analytical decisions
- Becoming an effective communicator and collaborator
Picture Books about Creative Thinking
These picture books follow characters thinking independently, critically and creatively solving problems. Others show the importance of an open mind and listening to the ideas of others while still drawing their own conclusions. You will see characters who:
- Use knowledge to solve problems independently
- Predict outcomes
- Think things through and make responsible decisions
- Makes mistakes and try again
- Recognise breakthroughs and try new strategies
- Use trial and error to find a solution
- Try to improve their thinking skills
- Check thinking for assumptions and misinformation
Some of the book characters are passive thinkers and you will see them:
- Unwilling to question their thoughts and their implications
- Dismiss ideas and opinions because they don’t go with their own thoughts
- Make assumptions and judgements without assessing these thoughts further
- Not question their decisions, beliefs, and values
- Being self-centred, narrow-minded, prejudiced and believing in misinformation
- Not defending their point of view
- Have low self-esteem and seek approval from others
- Hesitate when making decisions
Questions to Use with Picture Books about Creative Thinking
- Describe the different ways the characters were effective thinkers and problem-solvers.
- Which character was the more creative thinker? Why?
- How did [character] solve the problem? What strategies did they use?
- Why do you think [character] was an effective problem solver?
- Why did [character’s] idea work in the end? Did they think about how their decisions would affect the outcome and other characters?
- Did [character] make good decisions? Is there anything they could have done differently?
- Did [character] work independently to solve the problem or did they work collaboratively? Was this the best strategy?
- Does a thinker have to be brave, a risk-taker….?
- Did their decision making surprise you? Were they creative in their thinking?
- How did [character’s] way of thinking impact the outcome of the story?
FREE Thinkers Graphic Organizers
Would you like some FREE Learner Profile graphic organisers?
The resource includes a graphic organizer for each learner profile. Fill in the form below to get access to the FREE pack.
You can find the FULL THINKERS resource pack by clicking on the image.
If you already have access to the free resource library, you will find the freebie in the Learner Profile section.
Picture Books about Thinking and Problem-Solving
Anita and the Dragons by Hannah Carmona
From her home in the Dominican Republic, Anita watches dragons fly high above her. She doesn’t let them scare her, but one day she finds she will have to travel on one of them, an aeroplane, to begin a new life in “a distant land far, far away”.
The Boy and the Sea by Camille Andros
Sat on a beach, a young boy stares out at the sea, thinking and asking questions. As he grows, his questions become more complex, but he still returns to the sea for answers, and to take the time to pause and think.
Code Breaker, Spy Hunter: How Elizebeth Friedman Changed the Course of Two World Wars by Laurie Wallmark
Elizebeth Smith Friedman changed code-breaking forever with her intelligence, analytical thinking and problem-solving skills. She established code-breaking techniques and strategies that help capture spies and break the most complex of codes during WWI and WWII.
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
Yuyi Morales recalls her own experiences of migrating from Mexico to America with her young son. They face many cultural challenges, including learning a new language and new customs. Her local library offers an opportunity to learn about this strange, new country and find a new career.
The Girl Who Thought In Pictures by Julia Finley Mosca
No one expected Temple Grandin to be able to talk after being diagnosed with autism. But her ability as a visual thinker helped her connect with animals and invent groundbreaking improvements for the farming industry.
Heckedy Peg by Audrey Wood
A loving mother saves her seven children (names after the days of the week) from an evil witch. The witch, Heckedy Peg, turns the children into food and takes them to her home, a cave. The mother tricks the witch into giving her the children back.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
How the Ladies Stopped the Wind by Bruce McMillan
The wind in Iceland is so strong a group of women decide to fix the problem. They plant trees to limit its effects and overcome any problems through problem-solving, cooperation and persistence.
I am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon
Henry Finch and his family live in constant fear of a green beast. Confronting the beast Henry is promptly eaten. Inside, Henry hears its thoughts and realises that not everything is always as it seems. Reinforces themes of courage, individuality, perspective and thinkers.
Last: The Story of a White Rhino by Nicola Davies
Sudan, a white rhino, lives in a gray, city zoo in the Czech Republic. It remembers his life before its captivity, including his mother and the smell of the earth and rain. Sudan believes he is the last white rhino. When he is rescued and released back into the wild, Sudan discovers there are more like him and he is no longer alone.
Read to start discussions on conservation, freedom, extinction and hope.
The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter
Our Little Inventor by Sher Rill Ng
Nell has an ingenious invention to solve the pollution problem in the Big City. She sets off on a journey to the city, far from where she lives. She finds the pollution is much worse than she expected. Nell is dismayed when she is mocked by city leaders. With unexpected help and Nell’s determination, she shows her machine to the city.