Pennsylvania One Book 2019: Not a Box

Pennsylvania One Book is an initiative that promotes the importance of early literacy development for children birth to five years old. Every year since 2006 librarians, early childhood educators, and museum educators have come together to choose a book which encourages imagination and fosters a love of reading in children. The 2019 One Book selection for children ages 3 to 5 years old is Not a Box by Antionette Portis.

With simple illustrations and repetition, Not a Box engages children in a game of pretend and creativity. Each time the box transforms, children are encouraged to “think outside the box”, fostering budding STEAM skills.

After you share Not a Box, check out these other books for preschoolers that foster creativity, STEAM skills and imagination.

Caregivers of babies and toddlers may also want to check out the 2019 PA One Book for children birth to 36 months.

Not a Box

To an imaginative bunny, a box is not always just a box.

The Book of Mistakes

One eye was bigger than the other. That was a mistake.
The weird cat-cow-frog thing? Well, it made an excellent bush.
And the inky smudges . . . they look as though they were always meant to be leaves floating gently across the sky.

As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest omistakeso can be the source of the brightest ideas-and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.

Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building

A collection of concrete poetry, illustrations, and photographs that shows how young children’s constructions, created as they play, are reflected in notable works of architecture from around the world. Includes biographies of the architects, quotations, and sources.

Let's Play!

A lively yellow dot leads the reader through a journey through color, shape, and a child’s imagination.

Max Speed

Tiny speed car racer, Max, goes on the imagined adventure of a lifetime after cleaning his room–over hot lava, across bright blue skies, through shark-infested waters, and past super-secret doors–until he finds his way back home to his mom … and the mess he made of his bedroom.

The Most Magnificent Thing

A little girl has a wonderful idea. With the help of her canine assistant, she is going to make the most magnificent thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. But making the most magnificent thing turns out to be harder than she thinks. This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Libby and an eBook on Hoopla.   

Not a Stick

An imaginative young pig shows some of the many things that a stick can be.

Perfect Square

A perfect square that is perfectly happy is torn into pieces, punched with holes, crumpled, and otherwise changed but finds in each transformation that it can be something new, and just as happy.

Play This Book!

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text invite the reader to try various instruments and join a band.

Seven Blind Mice

Retells in verse the Indian fable of the blind men discovering different parts of an elephant and arguing about its appearance. The illustrations depict the blind arguers as mice.


A wordless picture book about an imaginary world behind the walls in Thao Lam’s signature paper collage style.

What If...

A child who likes to draw and write stories imagines what would happen if there were no pencils, paper, or other tools for being creative.