I’ve been looking forward to sharing this book list with you. I love art and there are so many amazing books out there to inspire students to appreciate art, learn about artists, and explore the world in a creative manner. These children’s art books will inspire and enrich them. Grab your bag and let us load up on some creatively good children’s books.
Art Books for Children
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Books About Artists and Creators
Learn about Thomas Cole and his landscapes of America in Picturing America: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Art by Hudson Talbott.
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Learn about artists and their major works in the Portrait of an Artist seriesby Lucy Brownridge. Did you know that after O’Keeffe moved to the southwest after her husband’s death and lived in a house made of the red earth? And, Monet liked to paint outdoors because he felt one with nature. Learn all about these artists in this series as well as viewing major pieces of their work at the end of the book.
Women Artists A to Z by Melanie LaBarge looks at well-known and not so well-known women artists in this alphabet book. Backmatter includes more information about each artist as well as discussion questions and art ideas.
Learn all about the pop artist, Keith Haring, beginning in his childhood in Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay A. Haring.
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In Little Frida by Anthony Browne we learn a sliver about Frida Kahlo as a child. The back matter shares a bit more about
her but this book is certainly just a jumping-off point to discovering more about her and her work.
Another beautiful book about Kahlo is Frida Kahlo and Her Amalitos by Monica Brown. In this one we learn about her pets-two monkeys, a parrot, three dogs, two turkeys, an eagle, a black cat, and a fawn. Wow!
Dorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found the Faces of the Depressionby Carole Boston Weatherford was an artist for an eye on those less fortunate. Her photographs definitely tell a story.
When you think colors, you think crayons. Learn all about the inventor of the Crayola crayon in The Crayon Manby Natascha Biebow.
Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter is perfect for young listeners who will be inspired to getting cutting with scissors to create their own art after learning about a famous artist who did the same.
I’ll admit I wasn’t familiar with Horace Pippin until I read A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant. That’s the great thing about children’s books. Even adults can learn from great picture books. Meet an incredible artist who overcame obstacles and pursued his talent.
Cezanne’s Parrot by Amy Guglielmo is about an artist who creates a little differently than everyone else. He tries to train his parrot to say, “Cezanne is a great artist.” Eventually, it’s people who admire his work and say, “Cezanne is a great artist.”
Meet Corita Kent in Make Meatballs Sing by Matthew Burgess is this many-page picture book. Kent was an artist, educator, nun, and activist who spread a message of love, hope, and justice through her work.
Books About Being an Artist
These books will inspire young children to think creatively, use their imagination, and follow their individual callings.
The Art Lessonby the late Tomie DePaola is one of my favorite DePaola books. It’s the story of being in school and finding out that art class has rules. But, art allows for lots of individuality even when following the rules.
Mistakes are just opportunities and that message shines through in The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. Actually most of Reynolds’ books inspire be true to your creative self.
Yes, mistakes are part of the process. Enjoy The Beautiful Oops!by Barney Saltzberg.
Encourage others to participate in artistic opportunities in Hands: Growing Up to Be an Artist by Lois Ehlert.
Artists also use their art to make a statement. Enjoy The Artivist by Nikkolas Smith and learn how art and activism can go hand in hand.
And, enjoy these lists too.
Navigating the Art Room and Art Supplies
Too Much Glue by Jason Lefebvre tackles that issue that all classrooms have-too much glue!
Need to talk about keeping materials in certain areas and/or cleaning up? Try I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont.
Sometimes little brothers and sisters can get ahold of our artwork. That is what happens in Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light.
Visiting an Art Museum and Observing Art
Parker Looks Up by Parker Curry is a touching story of a little girl who looks up in the museum and admires someone who looks like her- Michelle Obama. It’s based on a true story.
You Can’t Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman is two stories in one. One story is a young girl and her grandmother visit a museum. The second story is about the balloon and a bird left outside.
How do you feel when you see art? That is what you explore with children when you read The Museum by Susan Verde.
If Picasso Painted a Snowman by Amy Newbold is a fun book to explore different artists might have created a snowman themed masterpiece. Young children will enjoy spotting the snowman in each piece. Then, they will be challenged to create their own snowman piece.
123s of Art by Sabrina Hahn showcases art and gets kids really observing and counting objects in the art.
Imagine if the art came to life and gave you items from the painting and sculptures. You might not be able to touch the art but the art can touch you in the wordless book, Mayhem at the Museum: A Book in Pictures by Luciano Lozano
Books About Collage and Recycled Art
Playing with Collage by Jeannine Baker shows us a deconstructed look at the collage technique by a master artist.
Art from Nature ABC’sby Chris Gluck is an alphabet book full of stunning collages from nature.
The queen of children’s books when it comes to collage is Lois Ehlert. She has so many amazing books to share with children from Snowballs to The Leaf Man. Learn all about her process in The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life by Lois Elhert.
Books About Weaving and Working With Textiles and Fibers
The Goat in the Rug by Geraldine as told to Charles L. Blood Martin Link is an older pick told by goat. We journey through the making of a Navajo rug.
Books About Painting
When Pigasso Met Mootise by Nina Laden is a fun story about two animals who will remind you of two artists. Which two do you think?
Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhoodby F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell. A young lady inspires her community to paint the city walls with colorful murals. We even have activities to compliment this book.—>See the Make Something Beautiful Activities
The Big Orange Splot by D. Manus Pinkwater was a favorite of mine when I was little. One man decides to paint the house of his dreams to be unique. The other neighbors at first disapprove but after hearing the man explain why he painted his house the way he did, they one by one creating unique houses too.
Books About Drawing
Have you ever tried drawing with chalk? It’s great for large scale projects using a sidewalk or driveway as a canvas. Explore chalk drawings in the wordless book,Chalk by Bill Thomson.[easyazon_image align="center" height="500" identifier="0064430227" locale="US" src="https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/510ASFs+J3L.jpg" tag="groboobyboo-20" width="400"]
[easyazon_link identifier="0064430227" locale="US" tag="groboobyboo-20"]Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson explores the many possibilities when you just draw with a crayon. Children will love to create their own imaginative worlds through drawing after exploring this wordless book.
Bridget loves to draw and believes that every artist wears a beret. But, what happens when she loses her beret? Find out in Bridget’s Beretby Tom Lichtenheld.
Chalk drawings are synonymous with childhood. After a long winter, the children spread out into the city street to create a concrete garden in The Concrete Garden by Bob Graham.
Books About Photography
Explore photography through children’s books. One of my very favorite author/illustrators who uses photography is April Pulley Sayre. Grab her seasonal set of outdoor landscapes during the seasons. Raindrops Roll is one of my favorites.
National Geographic Jr. books are also stunning to study with kids.
And, for more children’s books about photography, check out this post from Don’t Just Fly Soar.—>Photography Book Picks
Books About The Elements of Art
From identifying colors to mixing colors, we have a whole book list dedicated to colors.—>Books About Colors
Explore the possibilities of shapes with Books About Shapes Book List.
Use your imagination in this wordless book as a little girl explores a line in The Line by Paula Bossio.
Lines can go in so many directions. Explore them all in this playful rhyming book called Lines that Wiggle by Candace Whitman.
Learn about lines and opposites in A Line Can Be…by Laura Ljungkvist. It’s a simple book with just a word or two on each page but great for learning about lines and vocabulary associated with lines.
Spiky, Slimy, Smooth; What is Texture by Jane Brocket lets children explore different descriptors for describing texture.
Form & Space
Arches to Zigzags: An Architectural ABC by Michael Crosbie introduces kids to architecture all around us from houses to schools to towers. You get a close-up look at all the details.
And, for more books about architecture and building, check out our Books About Architecture book list.
How-To Art Books for Students, Families, and Educators
There are so many amazing inspirational how-to art ideas books out there. Here are just a few of my favorite recommendations.
Wonder Art Workshop by Sally Haughey is all about child-led experiences that showcase imagination, curiosity, and a love of learning.
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My super talented friend Ana Dziengel from Babble Dabble Do came out with an awesome book called STEAM Play & Learn.
It is full of bright and colorful projects that will get preschoolers thinking about science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
If you live in California, you may have been fortunate enough to visit one of Meri Cherry’s studios. If not, you can try some of her projects in the classroom with Play Make Create: A Process-Art Handbook with Over 40 Art Invitations for Kids.
I’ve followed Deep Space Sparkle for awhile now. And, when they came out with a book, I had to get it. Up first…the seals. Grab Draw, Paint, Sparkle: Creative Projects from an Elementary Art Teacher by Patty Palmer.
The Organic Artist for Kids: A DIY Guide to Making Your Own Eco-Friendly Art Supplies from Nature by Nick Neddo is perfect for nature-loving enthusiasts who want to explore the bounties of art materials right in the yard. Imagine making your own paints and paintbrushes.
My Instagram crush, Cassie Stephens, loves to sew her own clothes and she is a master of guiding young children through creative projects. So, get stitching with Stitch + String Lab for Kids. The first thing we made was the donut pillow.
My amazing friend, Barbara Rucci of Art Bar Blog, has a must-have book called Cardboard Creations: Open-Ended Exploration with Recycled Materials. We made the collaborative collage wall and it is one of my favorite pieces hanging in our house.
Art Treasury from Usborne is a nice collection of professional art pieces to observe and then projects to complement them.
I’ve followed Jean Van’t Hul’s blog,The Artful Parent, for a long time. We loved her book, Invitation to Draw: 99 Drawing Prompts to Inspire Kids’ Creativity. It is full of so much creative fun. And, the pages can be torn out too.
Mini Artists: 20 Projects Inspired by the Great Artists by Joséphine Seblon introduces us to a different artist and then a corresponding project the kids can do. Meet artists such as Kara Walker, Henri Matisse, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Step-by-Step Drawing Books
Ed Emberley’s books have taught lots of people how to draw. Start with Ed Emberly’s Drawing Books of Animals.
And, for a bigger more comprehensive but equally as good book try The Usborne Step-by-Step Drawing Book.
Printable List of Art Books
Grab a printable copy of this amazing book list. It’s perfect for taking to the library or keeping in your lesson plan binder to refer to over and over again.
I hope you are inspired to explore the world of art with the students.
*This post first appeared on Growing Book by Book on 4/13/20 and has since been updated.