3 Best Kids Picture Books to Inspire Childrens Art

Best Kids Picture Books to Inspire Childrens Art


3 Best Kids Picture Books to Inspire Childrens Art Post by Stacey Loscalzo 

We live and read in a time of amazingly beautiful children’s literature.

While I know there were talented illustrators when I was young, I can’t help but believe that my children are incredibly lucky.

Each book we read seems to be more amazingly illustrated than the one before.

As we read, we take time to soak in all the color and line and design. Sometimes we pay attention to the detail and sometimes we just relax into the prettiness of it all.

Similarly, some books are simply enjoyed while others just shout out for us to create. For us to imitate the artist; to try a similar technique or medium.

A few of our current favorites are below…

The Best Kids Picture Books to Inspire Childrens Art

1chalk This post contains affiliate links. Chalk  by Bill Thomson

In this story, three children discover a bag of chalk at the playground on a rainy day. They soon discover that anything they draw with this chalk comes to life. This discovery is fun when they are able to draw the sun and make the rain disappear but becomes less pleasant when the dinosaurs they draw chase them through the park.

It is hard to read this book and not run out to the driveway with a container of sidewalk chalk. The images my girls draw after reading Chalk are always are full of hopeful imagination and deep color.

Artmax Art & Max by David Weisner

Arthur, a serious painter, is enthusiastically approached by his playful friend Max while he is in the midst of decorating a canvas with gorgeous color. Max decides that he too wants to paint and so begins the fun.

This story has a deep message about creativity and individuality but it is also a great introduction to any painting project.

Perfectsquare-300x300 Perfect Square by Michael Hall

Perfect Square is another book with a message. Change is ok. But it also has the added benefit of inspiring simple paper creations.

The book’s pages inspire us to realize that a square, when cut up, can become anything we want it to be from a garden to a boat to a fountain. It’s hard to imagine an easier list of materials than paper and scissors. With that and inspiration from Perfect Square, my girls have created wonderful images and scenes.

So hopefully you are off to find more books to inspire delightful art projects.

There is no better combination, in my mind, than literature and art brought together so please share your favorite literature and art combinations. I’d love to keep my list growing.

3 Best Picture Books to Inspire Childrens Art

In your opinion, what are the best kids picture books to inspire children’s art?

More picture books about art 

About the Author ::

StaceyLoscalzo An experienced reading specialist and speech language pathologist, Stacey Loscalzo is today’s go-to authority for parents who wish to instill a lifelong love of reading in children. The mother of two young daughters, Stacey knows that reading aloud with children puts them on the path to long-term educational success. You can learn more about her adventures with growing readers at her blog, StaceyLoscalzo.com.


  • Reply
    January 13, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I am a big fan of Stacey’s work and am so happy to “see” her here at The Artful Parent :-) Thanks for the great list of book recommendations. I can’t wait for our next trip to the library!

  • Reply
    dundee writer
    January 13, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I love these books! Great post!

  • Reply
    Justine Ickes
    January 13, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I’ll definitely pick up these books the next time we’re at our local library. Another art-inspiring book is the classic “Harold and the Purple Crayon”. That was one of my faves growing up.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I’ve been meaning to share here about the book I bought recently, “Beautiful Oops”….it is a darling book about turning art “mistakes” into happy moments. It’s been great for my little perfectionist! =) It’s a sweet little board book with lots of ways to interact with each page, great for kids of all ages….=) Can you tell I love it? <3

  • Reply
    January 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    I just did the writing with light pictures last night… so cool! Also, I just found your kool-aid dyed scarves post. How have they held up? I’d like to try it.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 13, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    We love Harold and the Purple Crayon here!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 13, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    I’ve heard about that book from others as well — can’t believe I don’t have it yet!!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 13, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Lindsey – Our scarves have gotten A LOT of love and a lot of use. It’s been a few years since we made them and it’s time to make a new batch. They are worn and faded at this point from being used and washed so many times. I actually recently bought another set of plain playsilks in order to do it all over again!! My friend who made the scarves with me showed me hers recently and they are all in great condition and still vibrantly colored, but hers weren’t used as much (she has all boys and they haven’t been as into them as my girls and their friends) and she never washed hers.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I cannot wait to check these out! Thank you for the beautiful suggestions!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    What a perfect way to end the day – to visit one of my favourite blogs and find one of my loveliest blog friends guest posting here! Jean – you might like the book I’ve just reviewed on my blog called Following My Paintbrush https://www.playingbythebook.net/2012/01/13/following-my-paintbrush/

  • Reply
    maryanne @ mama smiles
    January 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I have three art-loving kids, and all three of these books are new to me! I will definitely look for them at our library!

  • Reply
    January 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Will look for these. A simple but wonderful book my husband got at an art store that we love is “Press Here” by Herve Tullet. And my husband never buys books so to have caught his interest you know it has to be fun.

  • Reply
    June 19, 2012 at 4:39 am

    I ordered all these books and they just arrived today! Fantastic recommendation! We loved every single one!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I have to suggest some books by my favorite author & illustrator, Peter H. Reynolds. His books “The Dot” and “Ish” are definitely books that inspire children to create!

  • Reply
    Vicky Grotton
    May 24, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    My ARTSpiration picture book is I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! Teaching PreK, I use this book to teach numerous concepts across the curriculum.

  • Reply
    Vivienne B. Padilla
    January 19, 2020 at 11:03 pm

    I love the the suggestions on this blog. Thanks, Jean!
    If you care about fostering the creativity of a young child, you HAVE to see this new book: “Messy Larry.” It’s a picture book with delightfully naive and engaging illustrations and lyrical text. Perfect for an artistically inclined child – I’d say, probably 3-6 years old. It’s about a bear-like character who wants nothing more in the world than to make art and create, but his messiness keeps getting in the way. It’s funny, but also has some themes of kindness and acceptance, as well as an interactive section in the back. I was present for a reading with a kindergarten class, and the kids just loved it. It’s on Amazon.

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