Kids are artists by default. They take a special and often creative interest in the world around them. They are in a constant quest to explore their surroundings and understand its workings. They look at everything as a novelty, a one-of-a thing concept. They innocently and curiously problematize and question what we adults take for granted. Their inquiry-based approach is motivated by a deep seated and intrinsic desire to learn.
Indeed, art is all about this process of unbridled exploration and learning. Like kids, artists develop acute appreciation for the taken for granted and view the world through a sprightly aesthetic prism.
Art is key to kids holistic development as budding inquirers and knowledge seekers. Art provides kids with expressive opportunities to channel their artistic energy towards creative endeavours, ones that help them develop their social, emotional, and cognitive competencies in unique ways.
This collection of art books written specifically for kids, celebrate creativity and imaginative thinking and will definitely inspire young minds to embrace artful thinking. From learning about the life and works of great artists to practical tutorials and step-by-step guides, kids will get to explore the power of art in fun and engaging ways.
Besides instrumental art knowledge, these books will also educate kids on the limitless possibilities in which art is used to create inclusive learning spaces where coexistence, tolerance and mutual respect are nurtured and celebrated.
For more educational art materials to use in your teaching, check out best art resources for teachers and students.
1. Aaron Slater, Illustrator, by Andrea Beaty
‘Printed with a dyslexia-friendly font, Aaron Slater, Illustrator tells the empowering story of a boy with dyslexia who discovers that his learning disability may inform who he is, but it does not define who he is, and that there are many ways to be a gifted communicator.’
2. ABCs of Art (Sabrina Hahn’s Art & Concepts for Kids), by Sabrina Hahn
‘Learn the alphabet through fine art!Spark your child’s creativity and curiosity with this delightfully curated alphabet book featuring some of the world’s most iconic paintings. In this collection, your child will discover artwork by Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Mary Cassatt, and many others. Help them locate the earring in Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring, teach them different colors while examining Monet’s Water Lilies, and count the pieces of fruit in Cezanne’s The Basket of Apples.’
3. Sky Color (Creatrilogy), by Peter H. Reynolds
‘Marisol loves to paint. So when her teacher asks her to help make a mural for the school library, she can’t wait to begin! But how can Marisol make a sky without blue paint? After gazing out the bus window and watching from her porch as day turns into night, she closes her eyes and starts to dream. . . . From the award-winning Peter H. Reynolds comes a gentle, playful reminder that if we keep our hearts open and look beyond the expected, creative inspiration will come.’
4. The Dot, by Peter H Reynolds
‘Her teacher smiled. “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.” Art class is over, but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper. The words of her teacher are a gentle invitation to express herself. But Vashti can’t draw – she’s no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. “There!” she says. That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti’s journey of surprise and self-discovery. That special moment is the core of Peter H. Reynolds’s delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us.’
5. The Art Lesson, by Tomie dePaola
‘Tommy knows he wants to be an artist when he grows up. He can’t wait to get to school and have real art lessons. When Tommy gets to school and finds out that the art lessons are full of “rules”, he is surprised and dismayed. How the wise art teacher finds a way to give Tommy the freedom to create and stay within the “rules” makes a wonderfully perceptive picture book about growing up and keeping one’s individuality.’
6. The Drawing Book for Kids, by Woo! Jr. Kids Activities
‘This bestselling step-by-step drawing guide is essential for all kids! With 365 things to draw for every day of the year, kids will be entertained while learning a new skill. The Drawing Book for Kids makes learning how to draw easy!’
7. Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories: A Children’s History of Art, by Michael Bird
‘An enthralling journey through the story of world art, from early cave paintings right up to the present day. Discover artists and their art around the world, in 68 exciting and imaginative tales about artists and the way they created their work. Written by educator and art historian Michael Bird, and beautifully illustrated by Kate Evans, the book also features reproductions of the famous artworks discussed, a comprehensive timeline of events, and extra feature spreads on places connected with art.’
8. Anywhere Artist Hardcover, by Nikki Slade Robinson
‘In spare, delightful text and illustrations, an exuberant young artist looks deeply at the world around her and make art from found objects. This sprightly book celebrates creativity and will inspire readers to find art all around them, unleash their imaginations, and invent their own artistic creations.’
9. The World Needs Who You Were Made to Be, by Joanna Gaines
‘In the #1 New York Times bestseller, The World Needs Who You Were Made to Be, Joanna Gaines celebrates how creativity and acceptance can come together to make for a bright and beautiful adventure. The book, illustrated by Julianna Swaney, follows a group of children as they each build their very own hot-air balloons. As the kids work together, leaning into their own skills and processes, we discover that the same is true for life—it’s more beautiful and vibrant when our differences are celebrated.’
10. Hey, Wall: A Story of Art and Community, by Susan Verde
‘A boy takes on a community art project in order to make his neighborhood more beautiful in this empowering and inspiring picture book by Susan Verde, stunningly illustrated by award-winning artist John Parra.’
11. Draw Paint Print like the Great Artists, by Marion Deuchars
‘In this imaginative new activity book, Marion Deuchars makes learning about art fun. Young readers are introduced to more than thirty great artists, then encouraged to try out the techniques that lie behind their greatest works. Short and accessible facts about each artist’s life and works are followed by creative projects that Marion has devised based on the artist’s particular techniques.’
12. I’m NOT just a Scribble…by Diane Alber
‘Scribble, the book’s main character, never thought he was different until he met his first drawing. Then, After being left out because he didn’t look like everyone else. Scribble teaches the drawings how to accept each other for who they are. Which enables them to create amazing art. This book not only has illustrations that any child can personally recognize but it also addresses inclusion without boundaries so that anyone can relate to it.’
13. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Board book, by Eric Carle
‘The all-time classic picture book, from generation to generation, sold somewhere in the world every 30 seconds…Featuring interactive die-cut pages, this board book edition is the perfect size for little hands and great for teaching counting and days of the week.’
14. How to Draw 101 Animals , by Dan Green, Imagine That
‘Simple step-by-step line illustrations make it easy for children to draw with confidence. Each title contains 101 different images in all manner of shapes, sizes and poses.’