My Favorite Art Books for Children (Part 1)

I am so excited to post about one of my favorite topics.... art books for children.  No matter what book store I am in I seem to gravitate towards the children's art books.  I am usually disappointed with the limited selection, but thankfully there are so many great books sold online.  You can find all of the books I have listed  here on amazon or the Barnes & Noble website.   My collection of books has grown tremendously since I taught my first preschool art class 2 years ago.  I have 22 books I chose to share with you.  I decided to split them up into 2 posts.

Here are the first 11 art books for children that I love:

Currently this is my favorite book.  I think every child should have a copy of it.  My favorite quote from the books is, "When you think you have made a mistake, think of it as a opportunity to make something beautiful."  The first page has a big rip in it and when you turn the page you realize the rip is the mouth of an alligator.  The book continues with more and more "mistakes" such as a spill, a crumpled piece of paper, a smudge, a hole..... all being turned into a piece of art.  It teaches the very important lesson that art is fun and anything can be art.

This book has been very useful in teaching my art classes.  It is a fun art history book.  It focuses on 31 famous and intriguing pieces of art.  I love how the book does not bore children with endless facts about artist's lives.  The authors brilliantly picked a variety of pieces that children find fascinating and inspiring and share wonderful insight into those pieces of art.  This book does a good job of making art look fun.  They have also come out with The Art Book for Children part 2.

This book is a great basic introduction to the elements of art.... color, line, shape, texture, form...  It also discusses what sculpture is and what art museums are.  The same authors have written books about theatre and music as well.

This is one of many books made by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo.  Each book is about a different art movement.  Each page shows a piece of art and has something for children to touch such as fake eyelashes on Marilyn Monroe.  It is a perfect introduction to art for children as young as 1 year but even my 5 year old still likes to read these books. 

This is an adorable story about a boy that just can't help but paint everything.  No matter where his mom hides the paint he finds it.  As a mom I love the reminder that sometimes allowing children the freedom to create is more important than a clean house.  

Shape is a very important aspect of art and this book is one I pull out often to show how many great paintings incorporate a variety of different shapes.  Kids love to try to find the shapes in the art.

This book is similar to The Art Book for Children mentioned above.  It is a fabulous art history book that focuses on 13 famous artists.  In the process of teaching about the artists it also teaches about qualities of paint, warm and cool colors, portraiture, atmosphere in art, texture, the color wheel and much more.

This book about Homer is one of a series of 47 art books.  Each one is a biography of a different artist.  These books are very informational and are probably best for children 5 and up.  They tell the stories about the artists in a fun way.  I have 6 of these books and hope to add to my collection.

This awesome book has over 100 pieces of art stickers and each sticker has a little paragraph explaining the art.  All kids love sticker books!

This coloring book is one of many made by Dover Publications.  I have the Van Gogh, Matisse, Modern Art, Monet and Sistine Chapel coloring books.  Each book has about 30 coloring pages in it.  I think these coloring pages are great to go along with art history lessons.

This last book was not made for children but I thought I would include it because I find it is important for me to buy books about artists that have lots of pictures to show children.  So I am always adding books like this to my collection.

I hope you found some of these intriguing.  Please feel free to share your favorite art books with me.  I am always on the lookout.


  1. This is such a great list. I'm off to see if our library has any. We own the Usborne one, but I'd love to find a few more of these.

  2. Love. LOVE this!
    Thank you for creating and sharing your selection.
    I just bought my 2 yo son the new David Wiesner 'Art &Max'.
    The book is a fiction story about lizards painting. Creative approach teaching children not all art is the same. Love Wiesner's illustrations as well.
    Highly recommend!

  3. A Day with No Crayons is a story about a little girl who comes to see the ingredients for art all around her.

  4. http://www.acpl.lib.in.us/children/artists.html

    The above link is to a list of books about artists in fiction

  5. Nice ideas! Thanks for sharing! No list is complete without Peter H. Reynolds two books! The Dot and Ish are to I use with my Kindergartners at the beginning of the school year! :)