This article looks at Year 9 (age 13) ESL learners in a secondary school in Hong Kong producing - with minimal input and support from their teachers - their own story books, these being the final task outcome in a series of lessons focusing on creativity. Over a period of two months, as an integral part of their ESL lessons, groups of students designed, wrote, and illustrated their own story books. They then visited nearby primary schools where they read their story books to primary level ESL pupils and did follow-up tasks with them. The article describes the process from the perspective of one pioneering teacher and her class. The programme's success has since led to it being implemented across the board at Year 9 level in the school, with a subsequent expansion in the number of primary 'buddies' reached by the programme. The article examines the place of authentic reading and writing as they are situated within the domains of creativity and task-based learning in the school's ESL programme. Copyright © 2007 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press; all rights reserved.