Art lessons: Books for young readers

Picture books can be a wonderful way to introduce young readers to the world of art. Reading helps children to discover the work of well-known artists, and it also allows them to explore different types of art. In addition, sharing books about artists – and reading about being an artist – can encourage artistic children to develop their own creative identities. For some enjoyable examples, consider the following picture books:

To learn about a specific artist:

My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden’s Childhood Journey by Jeanne Walker Harvey portrays the childhood of Romare Bearden, an African-American artist best known for his richly textured collages. It's creative and informative.

Magritte’s Marvelous Hat by D. B. Johnson imagines a world inspired by the paintings of Rene Magritte, a Belgian artist famous for Surrealist paintings that play with reality and illusion. It's charming and instructive.

To learn about styles of art:

In Shelly Jackson's Mimi’s Dada Catifesto, a creative cat explains Dadaism, and the book’s illustrations demonstrate Dadaism. It's lovely and purposeful.

In Jane Breskin Zalben's Mousterpiece: A Mouse-sized Guide to Modern Art, an artistic mouse produces paintings that imitate famous works of art. It's light and playful.

To learn about being an artist:

I Gotta Draw by Bruce Degen follows a young pup who wants to draw all the time, as he works out how to be an artist. It's bouncy and kooky.

Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle illustrates the story of an artist who discovers life by drawing. It's beautiful and kind.

Note: An Author’s Note concludes each of the first four titles I’ve listed here. These notes provide valuable information on the artists and art being depicted. They also offer interesting insights into the creation of each book.