19 Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Art

You might be a creative parent with paint stains on your table or a parent who is intimidated at the sight of a paint palette. Whatever your artistic skill level, you can read to your child and explore art through books! Because most kids are visual learners, this is one of the best ways to introduce them to art techniques, styles, and famous masterpieces. We’ve compiled 19 books for this list. We hope each one sparks ideas in your children, teaches them new vocabulary, and inspires your kids (and you!) to practice the same skills artistic masters use every day.

The Everything Art Handbook Walter Foster

Looking for a place to start? This book is it! This handbook offers a wealth of information on art techniques like drawing, painting, and mixed media. You’ll also see a thorough overview of the basics of creating art like setting up a workspace and choosing supplies. Each section includes bright photographs and text that explains all of the terms in detail. This is a great resource to have on your bookshelf, or go through the book one section at a time with kids who are 8 and up.

Kid Artists: True Tales of Childhood From Creative Legends David Stabler

Every famous artist was once a kid. This book explores the childhood days of artists like Frida Kahlo, Charles Schulz, and Jacob Lawrence. The feel of this book is light and fun. Cartoon illustrations are included on every page. These stories will stick with your kids and have the potential to inspire your young artist for years to come! Enjoy it with your elementary-aged children.

The Art Book for Children Phaidon Press

Adults will enjoy this book as much as the children! It provides a look into the lives of 30 famous artists and their most popular pieces. Van Gogh, Matisse, and Warhol all make an appearance alongside artists from more recent history. The book features several large, full-color reproductions and intriguing questions to engage children. The art isn’t in chronological order, so you can feel free to skip around as you read each section with your children. We recommend this book for children ages 9 and up or for anyone looking for a good coffee table book!

ABCs of Art Sabrina Hahn

Teach your child about the alphabet and art at the same time! The format of the book is simple . . . The first page tells a letter and a word associated with it. The second page features a painting. For a bit more detail, the back pages list each painting, the artist, the year in which it was painted, and its current location. Read it with your toddler!

Women in Art: 50 Fearless Creatives Who Inspired the World Rachel Ignotofsky

This charming book takes an in-depth look at what so many other books don’t bother to mention: female artists! You’ll get your fill of 50 females like Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, and other lesser-known creators. The whimsical illustrations add to the magic and will immerse your children in an artistic mindset the moment they open the book. Children older than 9 will enjoy paging through this one themselves. Younger children may enjoy reading about one artist at a time.

Children’s Book of Art DK

With more than 140 pages, this book is an incredible visual guide through art history. Starting with Egyptian scribes, progressing to still life and Impressionism, and ending with modern street art, this book has it all. Each page is packed full of images and snippets of text that will engage kids. It’s a large-format book, so children can really study the reproductions and photographs. It does touch on a few mature topics, so we recommend it for children in 4th grade and up.

Mix It Up Herve Tullet

This is the ultimate interactive book for preschoolers and early elementary kids! They’ll mash, smoosh, tap, and rub colors on the page to see how they mix to create new colors. Through brilliant illustrations, kids will see the colors transform right before their eyes. They’ll catch the excitement and keep mixing until the very end. Follow up this book with mixing actual paint colors together with your child.

13 Paintings Children Should Know Angela Wenzel

Take a detailed look at 13 of the most famous paintings in history with this book. Along with a large reproduction of each piece, you’ll get information about the artist and facts about the painting’s technical and historical aspects. There’s also a timeline so that children can track how artistic styles changed throughout the years. Read this one with elementary kids.

A Children’s Introduction to Art Heather Alexander

Learn about a broad range of art topics and creators in this comprehensive book. From calligraphy to the Campbell’s Soup cans, kids will see examples of various art forms. There’s a very interesting presentation too: the reproductions are labeled like diagrams so that children can see exactly what the author is trying to express. You’ll also find a few activity suggestions: how to make illuminated letters, how to paint upside down like Michelangelo, how to make a woodblock print, and more. Work through this book page-by-page with kids ages 9 and up.

The Art Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained DK

Are you a non-artsy parent? No problem! This book is exactly the resource you need in order to teach your child about art. There’s no jargon or super-technical discussions in this book. It’s written in plain language so you and your kids can explore the world of art together! There’s lots of context included in this book, too. You’ll get a nice overview of art, view diagrams that point out the main features of paintings, and read quotes from some of the most influential artists in history. This book is packed with information, so we recommend it for children above 10 years old.

Goodnight, Starry Night Julie Appel

Lull children to sleep with this gentle bedtime book featuring masterpieces from Vincent Van Gogh, Berthe Morisot, Diego Rivera, and others. Each die-cut page gives a clue to the bedtime-themed painting that’s waiting on the next page. This isn’t a busy or overwhelming book. The simple rhymes are just right for babies and toddlers.

Art and How it Works Ann Kay

Use this book to encourage kids to see and appreciate the art all around them! The book is arranged around broad topics like watercolors, landscapes, symbolism, and patterns. Each page also features a “spot it!” prompt that challenges children to locate a specific item on the page. This is another book that’s packed full of information! The pages are pretty busy and may be overwhelming for younger kids, but upper elementary children won’t be able to put it down!

13 Art Techniques Children Should Know Angela Wenzel

This book teaches children 13 art techniques as it goes into detail about several different art styles, materials, and masterpieces. It begins with a section on drawing, but delves into more complex techniques like printmaking, collage, and mosaics. Full-color illustrations and reproductions break up the text in each section. Work through this one with upper-elementary children.

Discovering Great Artists MaryAnn F. Kohl

This book presents a hands-on way to learn about 60 famous artists. Each spread includes a brief biography of an artist and an art project for kids to try. The book begins with the Renaissance period and works its way through history up to today’s pop art. The activities cover a wide range of artistic abilities and icons help you choose which ones are right for your child. Here’s what we recommend: get this book home and study one artist per week with your elementary children!

This Little Artist Joan Holub

Introduce your youngest children to the world of art with this board book. The lively rhyming text describes one artist at a time and gives a glimpse into their style. Bright illustrations make it friendly for babies and toddlers.

My Art Book of Happiness Shana Gozansky

Art is the perfect way to explore emotions—especially for kids! This book tackles the “happy” emotion and conveys the feeling by presenting 35 artworks from a variety of periods. You’ll see the Spotley Cru chair, Jamming at the Savoy from Romare Bearden, Jet Foreign by Lorna Simpson, and more. Each page also features a brief line of text that moves the book along. Open up this book and see which image makes your baby or toddler happy!

My Art Book of Love Shana Gozansky

Another in the “My Art Book” series, this book explores the emotion of love. A specially curated selection of 35 art pieces are featured throughout the book, each one pointing to a characteristic of love. From the iconic Philadelphia Love to Gustav Klimt’s The Three Ages of Woman, love is portrayed in various ways. Share this sweet book with your baby or toddler.

13 Artists Children Should Know Angela Wenzel

How did some of the most famous artists of all time live and work? What inspired them? Find out in this biographical book! Kids will learn about Frida Kahlo, Franz Marc, Pablo Picasso, and others. The text is simple enough for mid-elementary children to understand and the images will keep them engaged.

Mini Masters Julie Merberg

This set of board books was created especially for toddlers and young preschoolers. There’s one book dedicated to each master painter: Degas, Monet, Matisse, and Van Gogh. Their artwork is combined with lyrical, calming text. It’s a simple way to introduce the youngest of children to these wonderful paintings.

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