Books

Happy little baby artist drawing with colorful paints at home
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These Beautiful Children's Books About Art Are Eye-Opening

Biographies, stories, and adventures in art.

For a lot of kids, there’s nothing better than sitting down with some paint, crayons, chalk, or markers to create their latest masterpiece. Caregivers can encourage their kids to lean more into that interest with some children’s books about art. Whether they want to learn about famous artists, practice new techniques, or simply get lost in a story about art, there are some incredible books for them to choose from.

If you’re a caregiver to a kid, you probably already know whether or not your child has a love for art (hint: if you have to throw away pictures on a daily basis because they bring home so many, then it’s safe to assume your kiddo is a fan of art). It’s a fantastic thing for them to be interested in because it allows them a way to express their creativity now and it’s also something that studies have shown can help them reduce and manage stress as they grow up. So, if investing in a few children’s books about art now will help keep them excited, then it’s definitely worth it.

The only question now is, where exactly can you find children’s books about art that are age-appropriate and fun for your little one? There are a lot of options out there, but here are some favorites to help you get started with your shopping.

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1

A Story About Not Being An Artist

The Dot follows Vashiti, a little girl who feels anything but creative and doesn’t even know where to begin when her teacher places a blank sheet of paper in front of her. She doesn’t think she can draw, which makes her angry, so she defiantly pounds her pencil into the middle of the paper to create a dot. She discovers that the dot is in fact art, because it’s an expression of how she feels, and from there, her journey with art (beyond a single dot) begins. This story is so sweet and it’s one that any kid will enjoy, whether they believe they’re an artist or not.

2

The Power Of Polka Dots

Yayoi Kusama is a famous Japanese artist whose work was made up of mostly polka dots. This book is a kid-friendly biography of Kusama and tells the story of how she dreamt that the world was made up of polka dots and woke up and decided to turn that into a reality through her art. In the story, Kusama travels around the world and learns that everyone sees her art a little differently, which makes her polka dots all the more interesting. Readers will follow her as she goes from place to place, on a mission to put her mark (or, her dots) all across the globe.

3

An Artist’s Biography

Another kid-friendly biography, Henri’s Scissors tells the story of Henri-Emile Matisse who spent most of his life drawing and painting. He moved to Paris where he was very successful and his work was adored by people all over the world. Later in life, however, he was diagnosed with an illness that left him in a wheelchair, making it difficult for him to paint. Instead of letting that be the end of his career, he took up a new medium — cut-outs with scissors. Once again he was wildly successful, and many consider these to be his best work.

4

The Alphabet Through Art

For the very young, budding artists, ABCs of Art teaches kids the alphabet while also introducing them to some of the most famous works of art. It includes iconic paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Mary Cassatt, and Vincent van Gogh as well as other well-known works of art such as Girl with the Pearl Earring, The Basket of Apples, Water Lilies, and more. As expected, the book is full of beautiful colors (and illustrations, obviously) that will captivate little kids and the text throughout is rhythmic and fun. As if that’s not enough, the book also offers interactive opportunities to keep little ones all the more engaged.

5

Animals Can Make Art, Too

Kids love cute animals. Kids love art. Put the two things together and you have this very fun and adorable book. Outside Art follows Pine Marten who gets a real kick out of observing humans in her natural habitat, but she becomes particularly intrigued when she sees one painting (although she doesn’t know what painting actually is). Pine eventually learns from another animal that this human is an artist, which leads Pine to wonder what is an artist and what exactly is art? More than that, Pine wants to know if animals can be artists, too. Spoiler alert: anyone can be an artist, even Pine.

6

Art Can Bring People Together

Ángel lives in a neighborhood that is constantly buzzing with activity. There’s always music playing, people dancing, laughter, and neighbors connecting. Despite all of this commotion, there is a big blank wall that Ángel can’t help but notice, and he has an idea for what to do with it. He wants to turn the wall into something beautiful with art, but it’s a project he can’t do alone so he enlists the help of the people in his neighborhood. This book is a sweet story about community and the power of art, and it’s one that both kids and parents will love reading together.

7

Mistakes Can Be Masterpieces

If you were a fan of Bob Ross, you know that he said there were no mistakes in art, just “happy accidents,” and that’s exactly what the message is in Beautiful Oops!. The book changes the narrative around mistakes from something bad into creating an opportunity for something new. Throughout the pages, kids will see fun examples of how mistakes can actually make a picture better, like a tear becoming an alligator mouth or a goofy animal created from a spill. What makes this book so great is that in addition to it being a lesson in art it’s also a way for caregivers to teach their kids that it’s okay to make mistakes sometimes (in fact, it’s a part of life).

8

The Story Of Banksy

Banksy is one of the most fascinating artists — because no one knows who he is. Still, his work (which is mostly graffiti) is captivating and is celebrated across the world. This book was written to share his story with kids. The book explains how Banksy creates gorgeous works of art through graffiti, and how he has managed to do it in secret for years. Readers will learn about some of his different pieces as well as the inspiration behind them, such as politics, war, and rats (apparently, he loves to paint rats). Banksy is still around today, and people continue to scratch their heads wondering who he is and where he will be next, and his story is proof that any medium of art is beautiful and can be appreciated.

9

Finding Confidence Through Art

Written for pre-school-aged kids, Bob The Artist is about a sweet little bird who stands out from his friends for one reason: he has skinny little legs. Unfortunately, the other birds are quick to notice and make fun of his legs, so Bob wants nothing more than to figure out a way to fit in. He tries everything he can think of to make his legs less skinny, but when nothing seems to work, he takes a long walk and finds himself at an art gallery, where he becomes “inspired.” Instead of trying to fit in, Bob learns he can use art to stand out (for something other than his legs). The story is all about embracing who you are and how art can create all new perspectives.

10

An Introduction To African Art

Unlike the other books on this list, the story in The Magic Doll is not about art, however, the book still serves as an introduction to African art. All of the illustrations throughout the picture book are inspired by traditional African art. Additionally, the story itself revolves around a fertility statue, a very important symbol in African culture. At the end of the book is where readers will get to dive a little deeper into art because it introduces readers to some of the basics of African art and provides more information on why fertility statues are idolized in the African culture.

11

Art Is All Around

In this book, a little boy spends the day at an art museum, which he finds to be kind of boring. He’s too little to see a lot of the paintings, it's crowded, and he can’t touch anything, so it’s not exactly the most thrilling place for a little kid. Over the course of his visit, though, he starts to realize that art comes in many more forms than just the paintings on the walls. He notices how light and shadows create art on the floor, the detailed design of someone’s tattoo, and he starts to appreciate his visit to the museum. In fact, by the end of his trip, he can’t help but smile at the other patrons who are so busy trying to push their way through the museum that they miss all of the wonderful art around them.

12

The Story Of An Icon

Frida Kahlo is a well-known (and iconic) artist, and this book is a great way for kids to learn about her. It tells the story of Frida using art as a way to escape her sadness after she was involved in a terrible accident. The book is filled with fun, beautiful illustrations and is written for kids between 3 and 11 years old. Frida’s story is one that will surely captivate budding artists but is also good for any child who is facing some kind of challenge and trying their hardest to overcome it. Frida finds success, and peace, despite her circumstances, and her story is truly inspirational.

13

Using All The Colors In Your Crayon Box

While most of the books on this list look at art from the perspective of artists, this one is told through a series of letters written by crayons to their owner, Duncan (a boy who happens to love to color). The Day The Crayons Quit follows several crayons after they all decided to go on strike for various reasons. Grey is tired of only coloring great big elephants and rocks, Black wants to be something other than just an outline, Blue is feeling seriously overworked, Pink is angry because it rarely gets used, and Red is upset that it has to work holidays. By the end of the book, Duncan’s art is completely transformed because his crayons inspired him to do things a little differently. It’s a fun book on its own, but it’s also a great way to teach kids to think outside the (crayon) box and to try things that may be a little different.

14

An Art Adventure

Max and Arthur (or Art) are the best of friends. Art is a successful painter and even though Max also has a love for painting, he’s at more of a beginner’s level. When the pair come together to paint, Max’s beginner-level paintbrush somehow sends him and Art into a new world where they explore different types of art and have a few daring adventures along the way. In the end, despite being new to the whole art thing, Max proves that he’s a quick learner and that his passion is strong enough to get the friends back to the real world. Art & Max is a super cute story about friendship, art, and refusing to let inexperience hold you back.

15

Finding Joy In Art

On a trip to the art museum with her mom, Anna is not happy. She has to follow so many rules while she’s there and it’s really hard for her to follow them when she has so much energy and just wants to run around and have fun. After all of her energy results in her nearly breaking a vase, she feels really low. That is until she finds a work area where someone is cleaning, repairing, and revitalizing old paintings, including one of a girl looking very grumpy and bored (just like Anna). After seeing this picture, Anna finally sees what all of the fuss is about, and learns to appreciate art in its many forms.