Books About Rousseau

Henri Rousseau was a truly fascinating artist. With this list of Rousseau books for kids, your family can learn all about him and the inspiration he found in Paris! There’s lush foliage, mysterious creatures, and vibrant landscapes—along with some pretty creative stories! Each book is sure to transport you and your children into Rousseau's imagination and inspire your own creative freedom.

Henri Rousseau: Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists Mike Venezia

This series is a favorite of art teachers and parents alike. In this edition, kids will get a front-row seat to Rousseau’s life and art. They will laugh at the cartoon illustrations and jokes, but they will be learning about Rousseau on every page. The book explains Rousseau’s original career and tells the story of how he came to be an artist. Children will also learn about Rousseau’s many critics and few admirers. The book contains several full-color reproductions of Rousseau’s most famous paintings. Read this one alongside your elementary-aged children.

The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau Michelle Markel

This story follows Rousseau's journey from toll collector to self-taught painter, all the while highlighting his passion for art and nature. Despite facing harsh criticism from the art experts of his time, Rousseau persevered in creating unique and imaginative jungle scenes. This book vibrantly illustrates how Rousseau's dedication to his craft eventually earned him recognition and acclaim. Overall, it’s a story about the power of perseverance and the ability to find inspiration in unexpected places. Read it with elementary children.

Meet Henri Rousseau Read with You Center for Excellence in STEAM Education

This mini-biography tells the story of Rousseau like it’s coming from the artist himself! With a first-person narrative, Rousseau tells kids about his unique style and inspiration. There are also discussion starters to get kids thinking critically about art. There are a few full-color reproductions too. It’s a simple book that provides a meaningful overview of Rousseau. Read it with early elementary kids.

Naive Art Nathalia Brodskaia

This book is filled with reproductions of naive art, a style defined by simple shapes and flat landscapes. Several pieces from Henri Rousseau are included as well as work from Séraphine de Senlis, André Bauchant, Camille Bombois, and others. The essays in this book will help teens and adults gain a deeper understanding of the style and how it’s been viewed since the 1800s. Please note: this book contains images of Rousseau’s artwork that may not be suitable for young children.

Rousseau Cornelia Stabenow

This comprehensive book provides a biography of Rousseau, a chronological summary of his life, more than 100 illustrations and reproductions, and a discussion of the historical importance of his art. Many of the reproductions cover a two-page spread, giving children the opportunity to really study his paintings. If you have elementary children, they are sure to enjoy paging through the artwork. Older kids will enjoy reading the essays, as well. Please note: this book contains images of Rousseau’s artwork that may not be suitable for young children.

Katie’s Picture Show James Mayhew

This picture book follows the adventures of a young girl named Katie as she visits an art museum. Katie discovers that the paintings in the museum come to life, allowing her to step into the scenes and interact with the characters. Throughout the book, Katie explores various famous artworks, including those by Van Gogh, Seurat, and Rousseau. In Rousseau’s painting, she trounces through the jungle and encounters a tiger, a crocodile, and a banana tree. The story encourages children to appreciate art and sparks their creativity by blending the real world with the magic of paintings. Read this one with elementary kids.

The Sleeping Gypsy Mordicai Gerstein

Kids can watch Rousseau’s painting The Sleeping Gypsy come to life in this storybook! To begin, there’s a woman who’s wandered into the desert. After she stops to eat and drink, she falls into a peaceful sleep. That’s when the animals emerge! A lizard, a rabbit, a snake, and others gather around the woman. Henri Rousseau eventually appears, telling all of the creatures that he’s there to paint them! This is a creative book that points toward the dreams that may have inspired Rousseau’s paintings Read it with elementary kids.

The Giraffe That Walked To Paris Nancy Milton

In 1826, a giraffe came to Europe–the first giraffe ever to live in that country! This true story takes readers on a very long journey. The giraffe first departs Egypt and travels by boat to Marseilles, France.  From there, the giraffe is supposed to be delivered to the king of France who lives in Paris. But the people wonder how they’ll transport the giraffe that far! They finally decide to assemble a convoy and walk—it takes 41 days! In the end, the giraffe is right at home in the Paris Zoo, a place Rousseau often visited and used as inspiration for his paintings. This book is quite long, so we recommend reading it with kids 8+.

DK Eyewitness Paris DK

Whether you plan to travel to Paris someday or not, this travel guide is filled with the landmarks, history, and cultural treasures that make the city one of the best in the world! The book has more than 300 pages and hundreds of color photographs. Kids will learn about the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Marais, la Villette, and many other places of interest. Page through this one with your family and plan your dream trip to Paris!

Mission Paris: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure Catherine Aragon

It’s a scavenger hunt that encourages kids to explore and pay attention to details while they’re visiting Paris. They’ll search for stained glass, statues, architectural features, and many other points of interest. Several must-see sites in the city are included like the Louvre, Musée d' Orsay, and Château de Vincennes. This book makes a great addition to your family trip to Paris!

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