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Children's Nonfiction Curiosities & Wonders

Wild Ideas

Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking

by (author) Elin Kelsey

illustrated by Soyeon Kim

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Apr 2015
Curiosities & Wonders, Environmental Science & Ecosystems, General, Environment
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2015
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 18
  • Grade: k to 5


From the creators of You Are Stardust comes a new informational picture book that brings the big ideas of their first book down to earth. Wild Ideas looks deep into the forests, skies and oceans to explore how animals solve problems. Whether it’s weaving a safe place to rest and reflect, blowing a fine net of bubbles to trap fish, or leaping boldly into a new situation, the animals featured (including the orangutan, humpback whale and gibbon) can teach us a lot about creative problem solving tools and strategies.
Like You Are Stardust, this book uses lyrical text grounded in current science alongside wonderfully detailed art to present problems as doorways to creative thinking. Wild Ideas encourages an inquiry-based approach to learning, inviting readers to indulge their sense of wonder and curiosity by observing the natural world, engaging with big ideas and asking questions. An author’s note at the end delves deeper into the research behind the text.

About the authors

ELIN KELSEY, PhD, is an award-winning author and a leading spokesperson for hope and the environment. In 2014, she co-created #OceanOptimism, a twitter campaign to crowd-source and share ocean conservation successes which has reached 90 million users to date. She frequently works on projects with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Stanford University and the University of Victoria and is passionate about engaging kids in hopeful, science-based, environmental solutions. See more at

Elin Kelsey's profile page

Soyeon Kim is a Toronto-based, Korean-born artist who specializes in fine sketching and painting techniques to create three-dimensional dioramas. She is a graduate of the Visual Arts and Education programs at York University and has illustrated a number of beautiful picture books including Sukaq and the Raven (Inhabit Media) and You Are Never Alone (Owlkids). Soyeon won the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award in 2013.


Soyeon Kim's profile page


  • Unknown, A Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Book for Kids and Teens
  • Joint winner, Kirkus Best of 2015 Selection

Excerpt: Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking (by (author) Elin Kelsey; illustrated by Soyeon Kim)

Problems are like sticker burrs. They poke. They prick. They nag.
But sometimes, problems spark marvelous ideas.

Editorial Reviews

"Delightful dioramas bring the book's accessible prose to life."

Science Magazine

"An imaginative and illuminating catalog of various animals' problem-solving strategies...[a] heartening celebration of our kinship with other beings."

Brain Pickings

"A wonderful and unique picture will enjoy every page."

The Write Path

"Kelsey presents simple, powerful examples in warm, accessible language...beautifully presented and rich in ideas."



"Encourages an inquiry-based approach to learning, inviting readers to indulge their sense of wonder and curiosity by observing the natural world."

Curling Up With A Good Book blog

"The depth of the images and the surprising facts work together to create a lovely connection between the readers and the natural world."

The Boston Globe

"This book introduces innovative thinking and problem-solving."

Library Media Connection

"Owlkids hit the mark with Wild Ideas."

The National Post

"This is one outstanding children's book...if this team continues tithe their publications both the incredible will happen and, fingers crossed, miracles will come about."

Feathered Quill Book Reviews

"Would also make an excellent part of a unit or discussion on problem solving."

Resource Links

"A timely resource for classrooms, libraries and families that invites readers to indulge their sense of wonder and curiosity."

"Imaginative and inspiring."

"A beautiful picture book that will encourage young readers to explore and connect with the natural world."

Allison's Book Bag

"Although most readers will be drawn to this book because of the animal content, they might pick up some problem-solving skills in the process."

School Library Journal

"After exploring this contemplative, inspirational book, readers will be up for any challenge."

The National Reading Campaign

"Speaks directly to young readers in a carefully constructed, elegant, accessible language that transcends the ordinary and demonstrates not even the slightest hint of condescension... This is a work that will be read and examined again and again, with something new to be discovered at every turn. Profound and entirely wonderful."


"Elin Kelsey crafts lyrical prose to expose our youth to the 'magic' of science...a brilliant book."

Critical Blast

"Delightful and though-provoking."

Quill & Quire

"Encourages children to think creatively about solving their own problems and to use animals as inspiration and example...This is a nice addition to beginning science classrooms."

The Children's Literature Comprehensive Database

"Entertaining as it is informative...a truly exceptional and highly recommended addition to family, school, and community library collections."

MIdwest Book Reviews

"Each statement supported by scientific fact is woven into the whimsical world of Kim's visuals. This book frees us to be more than we thought we could be."

Librarian's Quest

"Young kids who like to write stories will be interested in this beautiful book."

San Francisco Book Review

"The illustrations are three-dimensional dioramas that are sure to spark plenty of creative ideas."

Ithaca Child

"A strong voice and an angle that makes it different from other books...a fun book to discuss in science and environmental studies."

The International Educator

"The perfect mixture of science and storytelling that children will love to read and parents and teachers will love to use as a teach tool."

South Florida Sun Sentinel

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