Preschoolers and early elementary students see art as crayons, markers, glue and glitter. The world of art includes these and so many more works of art. There are many great ways to introduce young ones to the world of art. This list of books includes books about famous artists, famous art works, and books about art museums.
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Books Featuring Famous Artists
Uncle Andy’s: A Faabbbulous Visit With Andy Warhol by James Warhol
Uncle Andy’s is written by Andy Warhol’s nephew who often made trips with his family to New York City to visit their uncle. I like stories that show the personal side to a famous person and this is a great book to see what a visit with Andy Warhol would be like.
Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail by Laurence Anholt
Picasso and the Girl with the Ponytail tells the sweet story of a young girl that meets Picasso one summer and become close friends and inspires him to create 40 pieces of art based on her. The book features some of the paintings and sculptures Picasso created of her. I had never heard this story but loved reading about Picasso on such a personal level.
Action Jackson by Jan Greenberg
Action Jackson is a well written book that follows Jackson Pollock as he paints one of his famous paintings. Young readers have a glimpse into the world of an artist and how he created his paintings.
A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant
A Splash of Red tells the incredible story of Horace Pippin. Horace was a self-taught artist that was not discovered until he was in his forties. I love the scrapbook style of illustrations and the story’s theme of how hard work does pay off. The story does mention slaves, Horace’s father leaving and WWI, where he was shot in the shoulder.
Frida by Jonah Winter
Frida is the story of the artist Frida Kahlo. The book uses whimsical illustrations and information from her life to show how she used the painful and happy things in her life to paint.
The Pot that Juan Built by Nancy Andrews-Goebel
The Pot that Juan Built is written in the same style as the nursery rhyme ‘This Is the House That Jack Built’. The rhyme tells all the steps as Juan creates the pot. Each page also has factual information about Juan and how he made pots.
The Art of Miss Chew by Patricis Polacco
The Art of Miss Chew is a beautiful story of how Patricia Polacco became an artist. I love that she has written books about the amazing teachers that encouraged her. If you have not read this one you should.
Lumpito and the Painter from Spain by Monica Kulling
Lumpito and the Painter from Spain is based on the true story of a dog that became Pablo Picaso’s close companion. This is a great book to use for art and dog lovers alike.
Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter
Henri’s Scissors tells the story of Henri Matisse when he was older and unable to paint and instead began to cut out paper and make art from the shapes. This is a great book for introducing Henri Matisse to kids and showing how artists create art in many different ways.
Books Featuring Famous Art
Mousterpiece by Jane Breskin Zalben
In Mousterpiece, Janson lives in a museum and one night discovers the modern art room and becomes inspired to recreate the art work. Each of Janson’s pieces are replicas of famous modern art and at the end of the book there is a glossary that give information about each piece of art.
Museum ABC by Metropolitans Museum of Art
The Museum ABC book is a wonderful alphabet book that features many different styles of art which is all found at the Metropolitans Museum of Art. Each page has a simple “A is for Apple, B is for Boat” and includes four works of art that feature that item. I love that this book shows kids so many different works of art through a simple alphabet book.
Come Look with Me: Exploring Landscape Art with Children by Gladys S Blizzard
Come Look with Me is a wonderful teaching tool for the classroom or home. The left page shows a beautiful landscape picture and a few facts about the picture. On the right page questions are listed that help kids to think about the painting, this page also includes information about the artist.
I Spy: an Alphabet in Art by Lucy Micklethwait
I Spy is a fun art filled spying book. Each page features a painting and short rhyme: ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with Ff’. Readers can then search the picture to find an item that starts with the letter listed. This is a fun book that introduces young readers to many famous works of art.
Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Knapp, Ruthie
Who Stole Mona Lisa? Tells the amazing story of her history, who painted her, and who owned her before she was given to a Paris museum. In 1911, Mona Lisa was stolen and later found and returned to her place on the wall. I loved the illustrations and learning about the history of Mona Lisa.
Mini Masters Board Books by Julie Merberg
Each book in the Mini Masters collection includes art work by the artist, a theme such as sharing and quiet time, and short rhymes about each picture. The collection features the following books:
Art Museum Books
You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Museum of Fine Arts by Jaqueline Preiss Weitzman
You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Museum of Fine Arts is a fun adventure that follows a balloon through Boston. Along the way you see landmarks and beautiful art work. If you look closely you will see a copy of the art work on the same page, which adds a fun search and find to the book. Even without words, this book is full of fun. There are two other books that take place in other cities; You can’t take a balloon into the National Gallery and You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum.
The Museum by Susan Verde
The Museum is a fun rhyming story about a little girl’s trip through a museum. With every painting she sees, she is inspired and then finds a blank canvas she can use to create her own work of art.
Meet Me at the Art Museum: A Whimsical Look Behind the Scenes by David Goldin
In Meet Me at the Museum, Stub, a museum ticket, takes a tour of the museum led by Daisy, a name tag. Along the way Stub learns about all the different people who work at the museum behind the scenes. This is a great book to read to kids before visiting a museum.