You’re going to love this book list filled with interesting children’s books about artists and inspiring stories about art + creativity as well.
One of the joys of a creative childhood is that a single passion often leads to another. If your kids have been having fun painting and drawing and sculpting, they may start to wonder about the art that hangs in museums or perhaps about the famous artists themselves.
We’ve pulled together a fabulous collection of titles that are sure to please even the most discerning art critic in your home. From fascinating biographies to beautiful fictions, these books about art and children’s books about artists are totally inspiring.
Children’s Books About Artists
The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life by Lois Ehlert
Chances are your kids have enjoyed many stories by Lois Ehlert. Her picture books are some of our favorites, full of accessible collage art that kids love to emulate. So of course we love this behind-the-scenes look at her life, inspiration, and artistic techniques.
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
This incredible book has won a plethora of awards (including the Caldecott in 2017) and for good reason! It’s a stunning and textured introduction to Basquiat, perfect for kids who see the beauty in a little mess.
Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas by Jeanne Walker Harvey, illustrated by Loveis Wise
Alma’s story is told with lyrical prose and joyful illustrations, perfectly befitting this incredible artist.
Dancing Through Fields of Color: The Story of Helen Frankenthaler by Elizabeth Brown, illustrated by Aimée Sicuro
Helen Frankenthaler was a trailblazer for women in the modern art scene. We were thrilled to see instructions for imitating her paint-pouring techniques in the back of this lovely book; you’ll definitely want to give it a try!
Just Being Dalí: The Story of Artist Salvador Dalí by Amy Guglielmo, illustrated by Brett Helquist
An engaging story about the colorful and unconventional life of Salvador Dali, this book will be a joyful encouragement to any kid who feels like they don’t quite fit in.
My Name Is Georgia: A Portrait by Jeanette Winter
An excellent introduction to Georgia O’Keeffe with simple, relatable text and beautiful illustrations.
Action Jackson by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker
This story centers on the creation of one of Jackson Pollock’s most famous paintings. We love how it gives you a peek into the artistic process, and how much of that process includes waiting and thinking.
The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mary GrandPre
A celebration of creativity that explores the unique ways Vsya Kandinsky saw the world, and how he translated that vision into groundbreaking works of art.
Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring by Matthew Burgess, illustrated by Josh Cochran
Your kids will immediately be drawn to the bold pop-art style of Keith Haring and the illustrations of Josh Cochran are the perfect complement to his work. The story covers Haring’s childhood through death in a gentle, joyful voice.
Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville, illustrated by Brigette Barrager
This inspiring biography of Mary Blair is told like a classic fairytale. This book will have the youngest readers looking at the colors around you in a whole new way.
Matisse’s Garden by Samantha Friedman, illustrated by Cristina Amodeo
Full of wonderful illustrations with a few fold-out surprises, this story gives a fascinating peek into Matisse’s cut-out paper period.
Monet’s Cat by Lily Murray, illustrated by Becky Cameron
Who wouldn’t want to follow a magical cat through life-sized versions of Monet’s works? A unique concept that gives kids a new perspective on this famous impressionist.
Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown, illustrated by John Parra
A simple tale filled with illustrations that evoke Mexican folk-art. This book is the perfect introduction to Frida and her famous works.
Polka Dot Parade: A Book About Bill Cunningham by Deborah Blumenthal, illustrated by Masha D’yans
A fantastic tribute to fashion photographer Bill Cunningham. This book is illustrated in a style that perfectly captures the movement and life of a busy New York street.
It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Julie Morstad
Little known artist, Gyo Fujikawa’s diverse picture book illustrations paved the way for change in the 1960s. This is the inspiring story of her life and how she worked to present a more inclusive world.
Yayoi Kusama Covered Everything in Dots and Wasn’t Sorry. by Fausto Gilberti
This first-person story tells of Yayoi Kusama’s life with bold illustrations of black, white, and red. This art book series also includes biographies of Jackson Pollock and Banksy. These books focus on the groundbreaking nature of their respective works.
Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh
Funny Bones tells the story of Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posade and his famous skeleton paintings, popular during Dia De Muertos. We especially love how the text goes into detail about various artistic processes; your kids will definitely be inspired to create!
In addition to the more biographical stories above, we recommend a few more comprehensive books for kids especially interested in art or art history:
A fantastic collection of famous art and artists, starting all the way back with ancient cave paintings.
If you’ve ever gone to an art museum with kids, the questions in this book will be very familiar to you. In fact, you might have these questions yourself! From “Why is art so expensive?” to “What’s with all the fruit?” all of our secretly burning questions about the art world will finally be answered.
Splat! The Most Exciting Artists of All Time by Mary Richards
A perfect book for older kids who are looking for a little bit more. This book helps give context to famous artists and art movements. Each artist is accompanied by their “Big Idea,” “Challenges,” and “Background”, making their significance and fame more understandable and accessible to kids and grownups alike.
Children’s Books About Creativity
Opposites Abstract by Mo Willems
Beloved author and illustrator, Mo Willems, branches out with this beautiful concept book. It’s a helpful and simple primer to abstract ideas about art.
To Make by Danielle Davis, illustrated by Mags DeRoma
A gorgeous picture book that explores the creative process common to all different types of makers: gather, make, and wait. A wonderful reminder that patience is a vital part of creativity.
Be a Maker by Katey Howes, illustrated by Elizabet Vuković
With whimsical illustrations and rhyming text, this joyful book evokes the thrill of childhood ingenuity.
Izzy Paints by Tim Miller
A young koala is inspired by her visit to the art museum to create her own spectacular work of art. Izzy’s enthusiasm for creativity is absolutely contagious; be ready to get out the paints after reading this sweet book!
Studio: A Place for Art to Start by Emily Arrow, illustrated by James Buchanan and Melissa Buchanan
We love this adorably illustrated ode to studios of all types. It’s a concept that may be new to your child, but might inspire them to transform an unused corner into their very own studio space.
Imagine! by Raúl Colón
A wordless story that follows a young boy. As he explores an art museum and begins seeing the world in an entirely new light.
Vivid: Poems & Notes About Color by Julie Paschkis
We love this book’s perfect balance of playful poems and fascinating facts. It’s a lyrical celebration of color and the role it plays in art.
When I Draw a Panda by Amy June Bates
The perfect book for anyone who feels like they can’t draw the “right” way. This story follows a young girl and her sometimes-wonky creative process.
Making a Great Exhibition by Doro Globus, illustrated by Rose Blake
We get an inside look at what it really takes to make an art exhibition. With simple, easy to understand text and bold illustrations, your kids will be fascinated by the many people that come together to make a show happen. They’ll likely never look at a museum the same way again!
How to Spot an Artist: This Might Get Messy by Danielle Krysa
A playful look at what makes an artist. It will encourage your kids to proudly claim their own unique creative credentials.
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