BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKS ABOUT ART & ART HISTORY
There are many good picture books about colors (I listed our favorites below). However, I have been searching for original art history and technique books for young children for years now and must say that there are very few of them out there. Here is what I’ve purchased for Adèle so far and my review of each.
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Art history book for children
- A Child’s Book of Art: Great Pictures by Lucy Micklethwait – A friend of ours lent us this book and Adèle loves it so much that I bought her her own copy. If you could only get one art history book, this is it. Perfect for preschoolers, each spread has different categories such as “family,” “wild animals,”shapes,” “opposites,”the weather,” “actions words,” “transportation,” “ways of telling time” and many others, all illustrated through famous works of art.
- I Spy: An Alphabet in Art by Lucy Micklethwait – If your child is starting to recognize letters, you can use this book as a game. It prompts young children to find something in a famous work of art which starts with a particular letter.
- The Interactive Art Book by Ron van der Meer – This book is great for tactile learners. Full of flaps and 3D pop-ups, it offers an interactive way to teach children about light, composition, pattern color and other elements of art through famous works of art. Adèle’s favourite is a paper mobile which teaches children about balance and movement. There are many pieces inside which are fragile and can fall out easily and the text is lengthy, so this book is really designed for older kids in mind.
- Museum ABC by The Metropolitan Museum of Art – An original alphabet book. It depicts over 100 famous works of art from the MET. Each spread has a clearly printed letter with a sight word on one side and four different artworks of the word on the other side.
- Usborne The Children’s Book of Art by Rosie Dickins – A wonderful introduction to art with facts and stories about artists and their masterpieces.
- Spot the Differences Book 1: Art Masterpiece Mysteries by Dover – With facts about famous paintings and their creators, this book is comprised of 25 “spot the difference” games.
Books about colours for children
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle – A classic by the world-reknown creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this book is perfect as an introduction to color. Your child will love Eric Carle’s hand-painted collage illustrations and it can serve as a inspiration for a collage activity as well!
- The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle – Another classic, this books is very similar to the above mentioned one, but is aimed at slightly older children. It is inspired by Kandinsky’s Blue horse painting and will encourage your child to paint what they want, using whichever colours they choose. You can read this book as an inspiration before your child starts making art.
- Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett – An introduction to shapes and colours, this creative book is aimed at toddlers and both visual and tactile learners. Adèle particularly likes the “white” page where the chameleon is invisible, but can still be traced with fingers. 😉
- A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni – Another book about a chameleon who changes color.
- Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni – A timeless classic, this book will introduce your child to color mixing. It tells as story of a friendship between two spots of color. Very simple, yet very poetic.
- Press Here Here by Herve Tullet – Simple, yet extremely interactice, imaginative, this book will appeal to kinaesthetic as well as visual learners.
- Go Away, Big Green Monster! By Ed Emberley – This book is die-cut and was recommended to us by a very famous Parisian book shop. I was looking for creative/unusual books for Adèle when she was a toddler, and this one is definitely one of them. Not only does it introduce some simple colours and words, but it also empowers small children to chase their monsters (fears) away. Double win.
- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers – There is a lot of text in this one, but it’s hilarious and original. Oliver Jeffers’ illustrations are child-like and therefore appeal to children. The story is just as fun to read as it is to listen to.
- The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers – A sequel to the above-mentioned book, the crayons express feelings which children experience, making the book very relatable.
Miscellaneous art picture books
- Art & Max by David Wiesner – With extremely detailed illustrations, this picture book encourages your child to use their imagination. It also presents a number of art materials, techniques and styles in a creative way.
- Augustine by Mélanie Watt – An autobiographical story about moving, this picture book is a lovely homage to great masters. Each spread presents a reference to famous artists and/or their works and is full of wordplay. Augustine has been traveling with us all over the world and has even helped with anxieties related to big moves.
- Tiz and Ott’s Big Draw by Bridget Marzo – Made by a college of mine, I just had to get it for Adèle. It’s great for vocabulary building with a plethora of words related to art-making. Furthermore, this picture book shows the various mark-making techniques and step-by-step instructions for drawing the main characters. Here are Adèle’s first self-initiated attempts at following instructions:
Then she decided to make a book of her own and mail it to Bridget. And Bridget was lovely enough to mail a special letter from Tiz & Ott! Here are some photos from the correspondence:
Do you have favorite art-related children’s books which you think should be on my list? If so, please let me know so that I can add them.