The World of Art in Kids’ Books


The World of Art in Kids’ Books


I enjoy reading books about art and artists and thought it was time for a new art books post. I tried to find books that show a wide variety of books. I’d like to find more books about non-Western art and will have another art books post this spring.



 Georgia’s Bones

by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Bethanne Anderson

When Georgia O’Keeffe was young, she was attracted to shapes: stones, shells, and flowers. She also likes structures: windows, doors, dents, and holes. When she traveled to New Mexico, she loved the animal bones she found. Her observations led to her amazing paintings.


 A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Horace Pippin, the grandson of a slave, was born in 1888. As a kid, he drew and painted all the time. When he was an adult, he was injured in World War I, damaging his painting arm. However, after much exercise and practice, he was able to paint again by using his left hand to support his right. Today his paintings hang in museums all over the US.


 Oooh! Picasso

by Mil Niepold and Jeanyves Verdu

Five of Picasso’s sculptures are looked at—shown first with two or three close-up details and the question, “What is this?” The final picture of each shows the whole sculpture. Fun and interesting! Also by these authors: Oooh! Matisse


 Camille and the Sunflowers: A Story about Vincent van Gogh

by Laurence Anholt

One day a strange man came to Camille’s town. Camille and his father helped the man with things he might want or need, including a big bunch of sunflowers. The man, Vincent van Gogh, painted portraits of Camille, each member of his family, and the sunflowers. Vincent never sold any of his paintings but Camille’s father said one day people would learn to love them. He was so very right. Based on real people, this book is lovely.


 The Cat and the Bird

by Géraldine Elschner, illustrated by Peggy Nile

Cat is surrounded by everything he needs to be happy. But he feels trapped—he wants to go out in the garden, not be stuck in the house. He asks the bird in the tree to peck at the bars in his window. But when Cat does escape, will he eat the bird? Inspired by Cat and Bird by Paul Klee, this book is beautiful.



 Ancient Mexico

by Kelly Campbell Hinshaw

Written for grades 1-3, this book has stunning pictures. It covers art from ancient Mexican history and includes information about the materials used and symbolism found in the work. It’s part of the Art Across the Ages series that has at least two other books: Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece.


Katie and the Mona Lisa

by James Mayhew (sorry, no link)

Katie stands in front of the Mona Lisa painting and says, “I wish I knew what is making you smile.” To her surprise, Mona Lisa invites her into the painting. Then off the two of them go, visiting other paintings and having adventures.


 Artful Reading

by Bob Raczka

I hadn’t thought about it before, but reading is featured in lots of paintings. Each page of this book has a famous painting and a caption about who reads and why, where, or what one might read. I enjoyed every page. This author is wonderful and I recommend anything he writes.


 Tell Me a Picture

by Quentin Blake

Quentin Blake was appointed the first Poet Laureate of The National Gallery in DC. He created a special exhibit for the museum and this book came from that exhibit. It is a delight. Blake’s quirky line-drawn people introduce 26 works of art, point out details, and make comments. Pure enjoyment!


 Get Into Art: Animals

by Susie Brooks

Twelve works of art by famous artists (Matisse, Calder, Warhol…) are shown and discussed. Then instructions for animal-centered art projects are provided.


The Great Art Adventure

by Bob Knox (sorry, no link)

Dave and Jane enter the Museum of the World and ask how to get to the “Lost City of Gold.” They are told to, “Start off in Ancient Egypt and proceed, room by room, for 3,268 years around the world.” So that’s what they do and see art from many ages and many countries. Note: although the art presented shows great variety, there are also quirky additions in each that you have to look for.



 Hugo & Miles in: I’ve Painted Everything!

by Scott Magoon

Hugo is a very creative artist. But one day he realizes he’d painted everything. What is he to do? Fortunately, his friend Miles has a great idea: go on a trip to Paris. Voilà! This trip gives Hugo just the perspective he needs.


 Emily’s Blue Period

by Cathleen Daly

Emily loves art, especially the work of Picasso. When her parents separate, she is so sad and confused, she turns to Picasso’s work and enters her own Blue Period. I like how the adults in Emily’s life are supportive and yet it’s Emily who works out her feelings.


Can you recommend art books that show art and artists from continents other than North America and Europe? Please add them to the Comments Box!


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