Summer is in full swing, and for many children and families it means that there is more time for a beloved activity: reading! Whether your child already loves art or you are trying to encourage their budding creativity, there are many books out there that help to educate and inspire. We have compiled a list of 6 incredible children’s art books to read with your little ones. Some are about world-famous artists and others are about everyday kids, but they all celebrate imagination, creativity and individually in their own way! Read on to learn more about these fantastic books.
Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown
This colourful book paints a picture of Frida Kahlo’s family life and early passion for art. She is depicted as a child in the book’s illustrations, and is shown sketching, painting and daydreaming. This children’s book emphasizes Kahlo’s love of animals and her longing for adventure. Symbols are used to represent the artist’s health struggles in an approachable way, and the book emphasizes Kahlo’s hard work and determination, even through those struggles. This special story introduces children to an incredibly talented artist while also highlighting the animals that inspired her dreams and her career.
Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infinity by Sarah Suzuki
We highly recommend this children’s book, which is all about Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. It tells the story of her childhood and of the time she spent drawing at a young age. The book goes on to outline the challenges and triumphs of her life as an adult, working towards becoming a professional artist. Kids will be inspired by Kusama’s difficult but exciting path to achieving her dreams. Without a doubt, this story teaches readers to persevere and to stay true to themselves.
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
The Dot is a classic children’s book about art and uniqueness. Its main character is Vashti, a little girl who is convinced that she cannot draw. However, with a bit of encouragement from one of her teachers, Vashti begins to change her perspective. She develops her own painting style and inspires others along the way. The Dot is the perfect story for little ones who are feeling discouraged about their art; it reminds readers that there is no “one way” to be creative!
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
Radiant Child is about artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who loved creating incredible masterpieces, even as a child. The book highlights the important role the artist’s mother Matilde played in his life. Matilde taught her son that art could be many things. She sat with him for hours as he drew and she supported his dreams. Once Basquiat grew up, his mother could not always support him in the same way, but the artist had the foundation to persevere and work towards his goals. While this is certainly a story about creativity and talent, it is also an account of a strong relationship between a parent and child.
Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds
Another beautifully illustrated story by Peter H. Reynolds, Sky Colour tells the tale of a young girl who believes everyone has the ability to make art. She is faced with a challenge when she is tasked with painting the sky of a mural… without any blue paint! The book encourages children to problem-solve and reminds them to think outside of the box. It is a short and sweet story that will surely become a favourite!
The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock
This is the story of world-renowned artist Vassily Kandinsky and the wooden paint box that changed his life as a child. In this book, we learn that Kandinsky pushed his art to the side for many years because others did not understand it. Nevertheless, he was pulled back into painting after hearing an orchestra play as an adult and imagining colours dance in front of him. The book’s illustrations beautifully capture the connections that exist between music and the visual arts (which Kandinsky’s work is famous for). Overall, it is a delightful and educational story that children will want to read again and again.