14 Wonderful Children’s Books to Inspire Imagination

Looking for books to inspire imagination in your little one? We've got 14 books that will help them expand their creative thinking and have fun in the process!

Why is imagination so important? It allows children to explore their passions, escape from reality and achieve limitless dreams.  Whether it be the first child to explore Mars or becoming a world-famous musician when a child uses their imagination, there is no limit. These books to inspire imagination are some of our favorites.

Kids need to explore, invent and imagine so they can grow and develop. We put together a list of our favorite books about imagination to inspire creativity in your kids. 

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S.T.E.M Picture Books About Imagination

Ada twist

Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty

All three books in this “series” are amazing at encouraging passion and imagination.  (Have a look at Iggy Peck Architect and Rosie Revere Engineer).  Ada is a thinker whose questions often lead to disasters in the house but, as a parent, how do you encourage your child’s outside the box thinking?

Not a

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

When a bunny encounters his “not a box”, he sees a castle, a spaceship, and just about everything you can imagine except an ordinary box. We have read this many many times in our house and it never gets old.

How many ways can one box inspire imagination? We love this book and is a must-read if you want a list of books about imagination.

What do you do with an Idea

What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada

When an idea is personified, you must nurture it to help it grow.  That’s what this book does.  Some children do not know what to do with ideas and inspiration.  I love how this book offers encouragement to express yourself.

This wonderful book is perfect to inspire imagination in your child.

What to do with a

What To Do With a Box by Jane Yolen

Two books about boxes? Yup! Written in rhyme, this book explores the magic that pure make-believe creates.

We needed to include this in books about imagination because there really is nothing better than making a play-day out of an old box.

Picture Books about Reaching Your Potential

I wish you more

I Wish You More by Amy Krause Rosenthal

This sweet book inspires the imagination of all the wonderful things there are to experience like friends, love, and fun. It is a different kind of imagination.

We knew that this needed to be on a list of books to inspire imagination.

the wonderful thing you will be

The Wonderful Thing You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin

We wanted to include books that are more abstract books about imagination on this list. Martin has inspired kids to use their imaginations and discover the possibilities for the future. It is done in a fun and sweet way.

The most magnificent thing

The Most Magnificent Thing by Anthony Spires

Persistence, patience, and hard work along with a great imagination can make wonders.  We have all felt the frustration of things not going right and I love how this book puts that into pictures and words. 

As I tell my kids all the time.  Edison tried 10,000 times before he made a working lightbulb.  When he was asked how he felt to fail he replied” I didn’t fail.  I learned 9,999 ways to NOT make a lightbulb”. This is one of the books to inspire imagination that also inspires creativity and persistence.

Imagination Books About Art

Ive Painted Everything

Hugo and Miles in I’ve Painted Everything by Scott Magoon

I love this book and the message it contains. Looking at the world from a different lens is a difficult skill to master for anyone. Together, Hug and Miles discover that just when you thought you had seen everything, there is so much more to discover.

This book is perfect for books about imagination as Hugo and Miles discover a new perspective.

The dot

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

There are not many books that can give such a wonderful message so sweetly and so succinctly.  In life, we would all be so lucky as to have a teacher like the one portrayed in this book. 

She inspires Vashti’s creativity and imagination by simply giving credit for an attempt at doing something out of Vashti’s comfort zone. This is one of the best imagination books around.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

I think this is the original book about the power of the imagination. The worlds that Harold creates with one purple crayon can inspire anyone’s imagination.

This is one of the classic books about imagination that is a must-read.

beautiful oops

Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg

Is there a more perfect message for a child than it is okay to make a mistake? That is the message of this book.

If you are looking for books about imagination, this is one that has a beautiful message with it as well. Sometimes it is about the journey.

Imagination Books for Kids


Journey  by Aaron Becker (A Wordless Trilogy)

A 2014 Caldecott Honor Book

Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship.

A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free.


Sarabella’s Thinking Cap by Judy Schachner

Sarabella is a daydreamer and creates a hat to show all her dreams and thoughts! With the encouragement of a special teacher, Sarabella can be herself.

This is one of the books to inspire imagination that we read over and over, even as our kids get older.

this is Sadie

This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary

Sadie is a girl with a big imagination who uses her books to create fantasy worlds.  This is the perfect book to inspire creativity.

As books about imagination go, this one is so much fun!

Books for a 3-year old

Educational Books For 3-Year-Olds: Imagination and Learning Fun!

If you are looking for more books to inspire imagination, check out our post on books for 3-year-olds!

Novel Ideas 29 1

14 Wordless Picture Books to Inspire Imagination

For more books to inspire imagination, you can check out this post.

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