I bought a new book the other day. It had a beautiful cover and I liked the colors. I knew my art-loving daughter would love it too. Even though she's small, she is fascinated with paints and colors and what she can do with them. Painting and coloring are tactile experiences that feel good to her. Reading about them, by extension, feels good for her too.
On this particular afternoon though, Liliana was itching to play with her farm animals and I was itching to do anything else. So, I grabbed a stack of books and started by reading the new art book to myself (out loud) on the couch.
If you have an artist in your life, this book guide is for you!
1. Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color
This book is already well-read and loved in the 3 days that we've had it.
The illustrations are beautiful, the writing flows but doesn't rhyme. It is poetry.
Little kids will gravitate toward the pictures and remember the story.
The author uses some really great vocabulary (whirling and masterpiece!) and you can talk about your kids' masterpieces afterward.
This book does something other picture books don't - it combines memoir and art for kids.
Lois Ehlert writes about her childhood and how she watched her parents work with their hands to make art.
This is one of my favorites to read to my young artist, especially since Ms. Ehlert talks about more than just painting.
This is an adorable story about a squid who can paint! He paints in different styles and on different canvases, in the ocean.
It's a bigger book, so easy to see the pictures and words. This book is a sequel to I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean and if you explain the word masterpiece to your kids before reading, then this book is one big joke at the end.
For your elementary aged artist:
If I had to pick just one book to get a budding artist, it would be this one.
Twenty-three illustrators write letters to the reader. The letters are personal and accompanied by the artist's work. There are also pictures of the artists at work. It's a rare look into an illustrator's life. But, it's also conversational, intimate and pretty cool to read.
I can't say enough good things about this book. It really is a great book to have in your arsenal if you've got an artist on your hands.
As kids get older, they can start reading about specific artists. This book delves into Vasily Kandinsky's artwork.
Young Vasily is amazed when he can hear the colors as music while he paints and he never forgets that feeling.
After studying with others, he can't forget his own ability to hear the colors and always returns to his own style of abstract art.
Making a great companion to this book are Kandinsky postcards to send. Quick tip - Send a postcard!
At some point, we have all experienced embarrassment about our art. The little boy in this book is no different. When his older brother teases him about his drawing, he doesn't want to do it anymore.
It takes Ramon's sister, Marisol, to show him how to cradle his creativity and let it grow.
This book might re-kindle a love of art or start one anew. It's certainly a confidence builder.
For your older artist:
Joe Fig takes you inside various artist's studios so you can take a real-life peek at what a studio looks like.
There is a conversational tone to this book as he asks the different artists about their process. They share their work, their process and their art.
This book is wonderful for an artist who wants to see what it's really like to be an artist everyday.
As kids get older, art becomes more of a living, breathing, conversation piece. They might start asking questions that you don't know the answers to - that's great! That's where critical thinking is showing its face.
This book discusses what happened when a piece of art was created or found. How did it affect the world? Or the people viewing it?
This book marries critical thinking, art and reading.
For a bigger kid, it is worth it to have a book of just artwork from a major museum.
This book presents the entirety of the MoMA's collection - paintings, sculptures and installations - page by page. Some of the most famous and recognizable paintings are in this book including Starry Night, Dance I, The Persistence of Memory and other famous paintings.
And lastly, if you have or know a kid who loves art, make sure to check out the very helpful blog, The Artful Parent.
Go inspire Reading and Art together!