Art Books to Inspire Kids
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Do you have a budding Picasso? Would you like to introduce your kids to art or even specific artists? Look no further and check out our favourite art books for kids.
I got more than a little bit excited when I discovered that our ‘spirited’ almost 4 year old had a talent and real passion for drawing. Finally we had found something that would involve him sitting still for more than 5 minutes. We encouraged him by buying lots of art jotters, different pens, pencils, paints and signed him up to an art class. Over the years, we have amassed a rather large collection of art books – they vary from story books, general art books and books about specific artists. We love them and in fact, sometimes I think that *I* actually love them even more than the kids do.
Story Books about Art
Many books have been written with the aim of fostering creativity and an artistic spirit in children. The books, through fun stories, teach life lessons and encourage children to use their imagination. They show them that there is no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to do art and these lessons are usually wrapped around a sweet, inspiring story.
We love all books by Peter Reynolds!
Vashti’s art teacher tells the class to ‘make a mark and see where it takes you’. The class has finished and Vashti is still starting frustratingly at her blank piece of paper, convinced that she’s not an artist… she eventually allows herself to go on a journey and discovers her creative inner spirit. Read the story to find out about her journey. This lovely, short book encourages a ‘can-do’ attitude as well as the fostering of artistic and creative confidence in children (and adults too!).
Ish (Peter Reynolds)
This story is about Ramon who after some mean remarks from his brother, loses all interest and enjoyment from drawing. He starts to seek perfection in his artwork and is unhappy when he doesn’t get things ‘right’. His little sister, however, comes along and gets him to see that things don’t have to be just right, they can be ‘right-ish’.
Willow (Denise Brennan-Nelson)
We often hear that we adults can learn so much from children and in this story, we have a real case of the child becoming the teacher. The little girl in the story shows the ‘grumpy’ art teacher that there is no ‘wrong way’ to do art and rekindles the teacher’s love of art
Beautiful Oops (Barney Salzberg)
This really is one of my all-time favourites. It’s so simple and perfectly adapted to younger children. It’s full of pull-the-flaps, pop-ups and life lessons – don’t worry about making mistakes, they can often lead you to new, different and maybe even better ideas. It teaches growth mindset demonstrating that in every mistake, there is an opportunity to grow and discover something new.
General Art Books
Angela Wenzel has written a series of beautifully illustrated books that showcase art mysteries, sculptures, buildings, specific artists.
We also have both of the Art Book for Children books (the white and the yellow one). These books provide a comprehensive introduction to art, artists and their famous works to children. They’re great reference books that are very accessible to young children (recommended from age 7). They cover a large number of artists, along with their most famous works. It introduces them to the ‘classics’ along with newer less-known artists.
Books about Specific Artists
When Pigasso Met Mootisse (Nina Laden)
Dali and the Path of Dreams (Anna Obiols)
The Katie Books Series (James Mayhew)
I think we must have just about all of James Mayhew’s ‘Katie’ books now. The main character, Katie, is always embarking on an art adventure whilst being looked after by her granny. She often jumps into a famous artwork, has a short adventure, all whilst her grandmother has a short nap.
Next we move on to the Anholt’s Artist Book series which are my son’s favourites:
So there you have it, a comprehensive round-up of all of our favourite art books for kids.
If you’re now feeling inspired to get out your easel, paint brushes and watercolours, then check out our post on knife and fork painting or for a contemporary twist, give blindfolded drawing like Spanish artist Miro a try!
Do YOU have any favourite art books for kids? We love to hear about new ones and would be delighted if you shared them in the comments below.
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