Books that Teach Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication and Collaboration


Creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration are critical skills for children to learn so they can succeed in today’s world.

Use the books below and the guided questions to teach these concepts found in each story.

You’ll find a well-known fable told from another culture’s perspective, an inspiring tale about a family working together and the true story of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. To view all the books chosen and to see all the tips and activities suggested for each book, visit the Learn for Life section.

Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China Translated and illustrated by Ed Young
Lon Po Po

When sisters Shang, Tao and Paotze get a surprise visitor while their mother is away, they have to figure out if it’s really their Po Po (grandmother) who is at the door.

Lon Po Po is about critical thinking and how you can use lots of clues to figure out a problem. Use these questions and ideas to get your child thinking and talking about the story:

  • What clues did the sisters have to figure out
  • The sisters tricked the wolf. Do you think it was right or wrong to trick the wolf? Why or why not? Have you ever tricked someone? What happened?



Home At Last written by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Felipe Davalos
Home at Last

The Patiño family moves to the U.S. from Mexico and must learn to speak English and adapt to their new country. Despite some challenges, Ana’s family finds ways to support and encourage one another as they build a new life together.

Home at Last is about communicating and how being able to clearly share your thoughts and needs with others is important to feeling connected. Use these questions and ideas to get your child thinking and talking about the story.

  • Ana and her family learn English when they move to America. Tell me about a time when you learned something new. What happened? How did you feel?
  • Why do you think Mamá doesn’t want to learn English? How did she change her mind?



Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet

This real-life story shares the life of Tony Sarg, the talented puppet-maker who helped the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade come to life.

Balloons Over Broadway is about using CREATIVITY to build on existing ideas to make something new and different. Use these questions and ideas to get your child thinking and talking about the story.

  • What are some different ways Tony uses his creativity in the story?
  • Tony is always looking at his balloons and making changes so that they work better. Why was it important that he kept improving the balloons? How do you think about making something better?


Developed as a joint project with the Partnership for 21st Century Learning and with generous support from Disney, each hand-picked book in the Learn for Life section is paired with a FREE downloadable tip sheet. These tipsheets designed to help you equip the kids you serve with the key 21st century skills they need to thrive in school and in life.