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Author Ann Byle draws on the delightful, humorous, and at times sad, real-life experiences of caring for a flock of chickens, along with her family, and skillfully forges parallels to the challenges, joys, and victories of people, like herself, who long to be creative in different ways. Byle’s “dream for Chicken Scratch is that it inspires you to take the next right step in your creative life, to realize your creative dreams, and to move ever forward.”   

Byle points out that realizing you are a creative and naming yourself as such is an essential step on the journey. She asks, “Are some people creative and others aren’t? Are actors, writers, sculptors, designers, musicians, painters, and dancers the only people allowed to be creative? The answers are resoundingly no!”  In fact, Byle says, everyone is creative in their own way.   

Chicken Scratch—Byle’s fun-to-read, exceptionally creative effort—includes resources for embracing creativity, stories of frustrations and failures, and new insights and successes on the creative journey, tips for next steps to put creative principles into action, folktales about chickens, new creative activities that Byle undertook, scientific facts about hens, and hilarious and insightful quotes about chickens.   

Even as Byle encourages creatives to begin their unique journeys, she points out that building a creative life involves much more than the decision to create: “The building material for that creative life includes curiosity, courage, planning, protecting your space, surrounding yourself with wise and healthy companions, thinking ahead, and taking the next right steps.” Recommended as a great motivation for anyone just awakening to their desire to create, for those who are flagging in their creative efforts and need cheering on—remember, as Byle points out, we are each creative in our own way, a reflection of the image of God in us. (Broadleaf Books)


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