When I used to teach Elementary art, I incorporated books into my lessons for almost every project. Not only did it help tie in content but the children could be inspired and motivated to be creative by listening to the words and looking at the illustrations.
Now that I am a mother, reading to my children gives me so much joy and it is a big part of our daily routine. We collect inspiring books that we will enjoy reading over and over and we visit our local library on a weekly basis.
Here are some of my favorite children’s art books that I used in the classroom and now at home with my children.
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- The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds. This book is number one because it is one of my favorites and it was one of the first art books I bought for my classroom during my first teaching job…Amazon even showed that to me when I searched for the link (“You purchased this item on March 28, 2006” Wow! I didn’t know my past purchases were saved that far!). I used to read it on the first day of school every year and it is a great book to motivate children to be creative in their own way and have confidence. (Also check out the other wonderful books by Peter H. Reynolds in the Creatrilogy series: Ish and Sky Color and also the newly released Happy Dreamer)
- The Color Kittens, by Margaret Wise Brown. This is one of my all time favorite books. I read this classic book to my children and I loved it when I was a child as well. The illustrations are beautiful and the Amazon link doesn’t do it justice. This is a wonderful book about color theory and imagination.
- Roberto: The Insect Architect, by Nina Laden. This is such a cute book and would be great for any 3-D project or for a child who loves to construct things. “With extraordinary collage illustrations and witty text, the creator of the bestselling Peek-a series, Nina Laden, brings to life a funny and inspirational story that will encourage readers of any age to build their dreams.”
- An ABC of What Art Can be, by Meher McArthur. This clever rhyming book covers the many art processes and materials one can use to make art.
- Beautiful Oops!, by Barney Saltzberg. So many school age children get frustrated in their artistic ability and making a mistake can be a reason for quitting. “A life lesson that all parents want their children to learn: It’s OK to make a mistake. In fact, hooray for mistakes! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery. A spill doesn’t ruin a drawing—not when it becomes the shape of a goofy animal. And an accidental tear in your paper? Don’t be upset about it when you can turn it into the roaring mouth of an alligator.”
- Maybe Something Beautiful, by Isabel Campoy. A great (true) story of how art can inspire and transform a community.
- I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!, by Karen Beaumont. This hilarious book is about a boy that is determined to paint and express himself! This is a favorite of my girls and they love it when I read it with a heavy, southern accent!
- Let’s Paint! by Gabriel Alborozo. This inspiring book explains that there are many ways to paint and there isn’t a wrong way. It discusses many different painting techniques but all ideas are good ideas! “Assuring children that there are no mistakes in art or correct way to make a painting, this book offers them the courage and inspiration to express their creativity”.
- Lines That Wiggle by Candace Whitman. This is a cute book that explores a variety of lines. This would be a great book to incorporate in an art lesson on line design.
- Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty. Another inspirational book about architecture. Iggy Peck is a boy that loves to express himself and use his imagination through creating structures. The rhyming text and terrific illustrations make this is a great read for children and adults.
Do you have any other favorite children’s books on creativity? I’d love to hear which ones your family loves.
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