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Art: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about art?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to art. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about art.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about art, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Dog Loves Drawing to popular sellers like From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler to some of our favorite hidden gems like Harold and the Purple Crayon.

We hope this list of kids books about art can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Top 10 Books About Art

#1
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Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum
Written by Dr. Seuss & illustrated by Andrew Joyner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-12

This #1 New York Times bestseller is the perfect gift for the young artist in your life! A never-before-published Dr. Seuss non-fiction book about creating and looking at art!

Based on an unrhymed manuscript and sketches discovered in 2013, this book is like a visit to a museum—with a horse as your guide!

Explore how different artists have seen horses, and maybe even find a new way of looking at them yourself. Discover full-color photographic art reproductions of pieces by Picasso, George Stubbs, Rosa Bonheur, Alexander Calder, Jacob Lawrence, Deborah Butterfield, Franz Marc, Jackson Pollock, and many others—all of which feature a horse! Young readers will find themselves delightfully transported by the engaging equines as they learn about the creative process and how to see art in new ways.

Taking inspiration from Dr. Seuss’s original sketches, acclaimed illustrator Andrew Joyner has created a look that is both subtly Seussian and wholly his own. His whimsical illustrations are combined throughout with “real-life” art. Cameo appearances by classic Dr. Seuss characters (among them the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, and Horton the Elephant) make Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum a playful picture book that is totally unique. Ideal for home or classroom use, it encourages critical thinking and makes a great gift for Seuss fans, artists, and horse lovers of all ages.

Publisher’s Notes discuss the discovery of the manuscript and sketches, Dr. Seuss’s interest in understanding modern art, the process of creating the book, and information about each of the artists and art reproductions in the book.

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#2
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Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire
Written by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville & illustrated by Brigette Barrager
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Amy Guglielmo, Jacqueline Tourville, and Brigette Barrager team up to tell the joyful and unique story of the trailblazing Disney artist Mary Blair.

Mary Blair lived her life in color: vivid, wild color.

From her imaginative childhood to her career as an illustrator, designer, and animator for Walt Disney Studios, Mary wouldn’t play by the rules. At a time when studios wanted to hire men and think in black and white, Mary painted twinkling emerald skies, peach giraffes with tangerine spots, and magenta horses that could fly.

She painted her world.

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#3
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This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer
Written by Joan Holub & illustrated by Daniel Roode
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

Learn all about influential women who changed history in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for trailblazers-in-training!

Paving the way to a future that’s bright. Helping the world with their skills, smarts, and might.

Little trailblazers cause great big changes.

In this follow up to This Little President and This Little Explorer, now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering female trailblazers in history! Highlighting ten memorable women leaders who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this girl power primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.

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#4
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The Crayon Man
Written by Natascha Biebow & illustrated by Steven Salerno
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Celebrating the inventor of the Crayola crayon! This gloriously illustrated picture book biography tells the inspiring story of Edwin Binney, the inventor of one of the world’s most beloved toys. A perfect fit among favorites like The Day the Crayons Quit and Balloons Over Broadway. purple mountains’ majesty, mauvelous, jungle green, razzmatazz… What child doesn’t love to hold a crayon in their hands? But children didn’t always have such magical boxes of crayons. Before Edwin Binney set out to change things, children couldn’t really even draw in color. Here’s the true story of an inventor who so loved nature’s vibrant colors that he found a way to bring the outside world to children – in a bright green box for only a nickel! With experimentation, and a special knack for listening, Edwin Binney and his dynamic team at Crayola created one of the world’s most enduring, best-loved childhood toys – empowering children to dream in COLOR!

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#5
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This Little Artist
Written by Joan Holub & illustrated by Daniel Roode
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Painting, shaping, making art. With creative joy, hands, and heart. Little artists have great big imaginations. In this follow up to This Little President, This Little Explorer, This Little Trailblazer, and This Little Scientist now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering artists in history! Highlighting ten memorable artists who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this creativity primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.

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#6
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Harold and the Purple Crayon
Written & illustrated by Crockett Johnson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Essential Picture Book Classics—timeless stories for every child to treasure. “One night, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight.” Armed only with an oversized purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of wonder and excitement. Full of funny twists and surprises, this joyful story shows just how far your imagination can take you. Harold and the Purple Crayon has delighted readers of all ages for over fifty years.

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#7
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Pinwheel
Written & illustrated by Salina Yoon
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Turn the wheel and watch each scene transform with spinning, eye-catching designs! Award-winning artist Salina Yoon’s spectacular display of kinetic art immerses readers in a colorful, poetic journey. From a balloon-filled sky to the deep blue sea, Pinwheel reminds readers of the beauty all around them. Let the fun begin with every spin!

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#8
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The Trumpet of the Swan
Written by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Swan Song Like the rest of his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan. But unlike his four brothers and sisters, Louis can’t trumpet joyfully. In fact, he can’t even make a sound. And since he can’t trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him. Louis tries everything he can think of to win Serena’s affection–he even goes to school to learn to read and write. But nothing seems to work. Then his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Is a musical instrument the key to winning Louis his love?

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#9
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Bijou, Bonbon and Beau
Written by Joan Sweeney & illustrated by Leslie Wu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Three little kittens create a sensation when they join dancers onstage of a Parisian theater known for its ballet and for the artist who paints there.

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#10
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Nutcracker
Written by E.T.A. Hoffmann & illustrated by Maurice Sendak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“A classic, new and complete. One of the ten best illustrated children’s books of the year.” — New York Times Book Review

The tale of Nutcracker, written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816, has fascinated and inspired artists, composers, and audiences for almost two hundred years. It has retained its freshness because it appeals to the sense of wonder we all share.

Maurice Sendak designed brilliant sets and costumes for the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Christmas production of Nutcracker and created even more magnificent pictures especially for this book. He joined with the eminent translator Ralph Manheim to produce this illustrated edition of Hoffmann’s wonderful tale, destined to become a classic for all ages.

The world of Nutcracker is a world of pleasures. Maurice Sendak’s art illuminates the delights of Hoffmann’s story in this rich and tantalizing treasure.

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Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Art and...

Books About Art and Ballet

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This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer
Written by Joan Holub & illustrated by Daniel Roode
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

Learn all about influential women who changed history in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for trailblazers-in-training!

Paving the way to a future that’s bright. Helping the world with their skills, smarts, and might.

Little trailblazers cause great big changes.

In this follow up to This Little President and This Little Explorer, now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering female trailblazers in history! Highlighting ten memorable women leaders who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this girl power primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.

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$6.79
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Add to list
Bijou, Bonbon and Beau
Written by Joan Sweeney & illustrated by Leslie Wu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Three little kittens create a sensation when they join dancers onstage of a Parisian theater known for its ballet and for the artist who paints there.

Buy book
$12.95
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$11.01
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$12.95
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Add to list
Nutcracker
Written by E.T.A. Hoffmann & illustrated by Maurice Sendak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“A classic, new and complete. One of the ten best illustrated children’s books of the year.” — New York Times Book Review

The tale of Nutcracker, written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816, has fascinated and inspired artists, composers, and audiences for almost two hundred years. It has retained its freshness because it appeals to the sense of wonder we all share.

Maurice Sendak designed brilliant sets and costumes for the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Christmas production of Nutcracker and created even more magnificent pictures especially for this book. He joined with the eminent translator Ralph Manheim to produce this illustrated edition of Hoffmann’s wonderful tale, destined to become a classic for all ages.

The world of Nutcracker is a world of pleasures. Maurice Sendak’s art illuminates the delights of Hoffmann’s story in this rich and tantalizing treasure.

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  1. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Dance of the Realms - With breathtaking painterly illustrations, a deeply enchanting story, and a foreword written by celebrated dancer Misty Copeland, this picture book brings The Nutcracker and the Four Realms to life in a brand-new way. As the adventure from the film jumps off of the screen and onto the page, a new generation of readers and fans will be drawn in and enchanted by the holiday spirit, the beauty of dance, and the magic of storytelling.

  2. The Sleeping Beauty - In this stunning follow-up to the bestselling holiday classic The Nutcracker, The New York City Ballet presents another timeless tale for a modern ballet lover with The Sleeping Beauty. The New York City Ballet presents classic stories of the ballet with their trademark stylish, modern sensibility. This lavishly illustrated book follows the storyline, choreography, costumes, and sets of the New York City Ballet’s production of The Sleeping Beauty. With beautiful art illustrated by Valeria Docampo, this magnificent retelling is a perfect gift for an aspiring ballerina or any family who wants to add this enchanting fairy tale classic to their library.

  3. Ballerino Nate - After seeing a ballet performance, Nate decides he wants to learn ballet but he has doubts when his brother Ben tells him that only girls can be ballerinas.

  4. Swan - “Spare, poetic words sit as lightly as snowflakes.”—Wall Street Journal “An enchanting glimpse of a dancer whose name has come to be synonymous with her most famous role.”—School Library Journal, starred review One night, young Anna’s mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova. Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova is a heartbreakingly beautiful picture book biography perfect for aspiring ballerinas of all ages.

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Books About Art and Colors

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Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire
Written by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville & illustrated by Brigette Barrager
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Amy Guglielmo, Jacqueline Tourville, and Brigette Barrager team up to tell the joyful and unique story of the trailblazing Disney artist Mary Blair.

Mary Blair lived her life in color: vivid, wild color.

From her imaginative childhood to her career as an illustrator, designer, and animator for Walt Disney Studios, Mary wouldn’t play by the rules. At a time when studios wanted to hire men and think in black and white, Mary painted twinkling emerald skies, peach giraffes with tangerine spots, and magenta horses that could fly.

She painted her world.

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The Day the Crayons Quit
Written by Drew Daywalt & illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun.

What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?

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Color Blocked
Written by Ashley Sorenson & illustrated by David Miles
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The color is blocked! Readers must rub, turn, and tap the pages to straighten out pipes, unplug corks, and keep the color flowing. But watch out–the color might run faster than you can keep up! Along the way, readers will learn primary colors, how mixing colors can make secondary colors, and why you should never, ever, put a turtle in charge.

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  1. The Day the Crayons Came Home - I’m not sure what it is about this kid Duncan, but his crayons sure are a colorful bunch of characters! Having soothed the hurt feelings of one group who threatened to quit, Duncan now faces a whole new group of crayons asking to be rescued. From Maroon Crayon, who was lost beneath the sofa cushions and then broken in two after Dad sat on him; to poor Turquoise, whose head is now stuck to one of Duncan’s stinky socks after they both ended up in the dryer together; to Pea Green, who knows darn well that no kid likes peas and who ran away—each and every crayon has a woeful tale to tell and a plea to be brought home to the crayon box. Look for a special glow-in-the-dark picture [Note: make sure to “charge” it under a light first].

  2. The Colors of History - Why did Roman emperors wear purple? Which colour is made from crushed beetles? What green pigment might be used to build super-fast computers of the future? Find out the answers to these and many more questions in this vibrant exploration of the stories behind different colours, and the roles they’ve played throughout history. From black to white, and all the colours in between, every shade has a story to tell. Each colour group is introduced with a stunning and interpretive double-page spread illustration, followed by illustrated entries exploring the ‘colourful’ history of particular shades. With vivid, thought-provoking illustrations and engaging bite-sized text, this book is a feast for the eyes and the mind, ready to enthral budding artists and historians alike.

  3. Colors - Explore all the colors of the rainbow in this stunning and graphic first concept board book. From red lobsters, yellow baby chicks, to brown puppy-dog tails, this book is filled with bright pops of color that jump off the page. An engaging way to introduce first colors, this highly designed board book is perfect for little ones to read with their parents.

  4. What's Your Favorite Color? - In this board book, Eric Carle and fourteen other best-loved picture book artists answer the classic kid question: what’s your favorite color? Everybody has a favorite color. Some like blue balloons or brown buildings or mint green ice cream cones. Eric Carle loves a yellow sun because children often include one in the corner of their pictures. Beautiful, funny, and heartfelt, these artists’ charmingly personal answers to “what’s your favorite color?” will inspire readers to answer the question themselves. Artists include: Lauren Castillo, Bryan Collier, Mike Curato, Etienne Delessert, Anna Dewdney, Rafael Lopez, William Low, Marc Martin, Jill McElmurry, Yuyi Morales, Frann Preston-Gannon, Uri Shulevitz, Philip C. Stead, Melissa Sweet Godwin Books

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Books About Art and Technology

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The Crayon Man
Written by Natascha Biebow & illustrated by Steven Salerno
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Celebrating the inventor of the Crayola crayon! This gloriously illustrated picture book biography tells the inspiring story of Edwin Binney, the inventor of one of the world’s most beloved toys. A perfect fit among favorites like The Day the Crayons Quit and Balloons Over Broadway. purple mountains’ majesty, mauvelous, jungle green, razzmatazz… What child doesn’t love to hold a crayon in their hands? But children didn’t always have such magical boxes of crayons. Before Edwin Binney set out to change things, children couldn’t really even draw in color. Here’s the true story of an inventor who so loved nature’s vibrant colors that he found a way to bring the outside world to children – in a bright green box for only a nickel! With experimentation, and a special knack for listening, Edwin Binney and his dynamic team at Crayola created one of the world’s most enduring, best-loved childhood toys – empowering children to dream in COLOR!

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Balloons Over Broadway
Written & illustrated by Melissa Sweet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Presents a tribute to the creator of the giant balloons that fill the sky during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, tracing the work of artist Tony Sarg, whose innovative “upside-down puppet” creations have become the parade’s trademark.

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Just Like Rube Goldberg
Written by Sarah Aronson & illustrated by Robert Neubecker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Discover how Rube Goldberg followed his dreams to become an award-winning cartoonist, inventor, and even an adjective in the dictionary in this inspiring and funny biographical picture book.

Want to become an award-winning cartoonist and inventor? Follow your dreams, just like Rube Goldberg! From a young age, Rube Goldberg had a talent for art. But his father, a German immigrant, wanted Rube to have a secure job. So, Rube went to college and became an engineer.

But Rube didn’t want to spend his life mapping sewer pipes. He wanted to follow his passion, so Rube got a low-level job at a newspaper, and from there, he worked his way up, creating cartoons that made people laugh and tickled the imagination. He became known for his fantastic Rube Goldberg machines—complicated contraptions with many parts that performed a simple task in an elaborate and farfetched way. Eventually, his cartoons earned him a Pulitzer Prize and his own adjective in the dictionary. This moving biography is sure to encourage young artists and inventors to pursue their passions.

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  1. Melia and Jo - Melia is scientific and loves to create things in her backyard laboratory, but something is missing. Her inventions just aren’t quite right. Enter Jo, her new friend with an artistic spirit. When you add the arts to sciences, something magical happens! This whimsically illustrated picture book is the perfect introduction to the benefits of STEAM-focused curriculum.

  2. How to Build an Elf Trap - Can you be the first to catch an elf? Catching elves is no easy task-you need more than candy canes and ribbons! You’ll need the perfect trap with precise calculations and proper engineering– and How to Build an Elf Trapcan help! What’s inside? 12 traps with step-by-step instructions sure to lure in your elf STEAM Connections exploring the science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics behind each activity Yummy elf recipes Exciting bonus activities * Plus space to design your very own trap! How to Build an Elf Trapgives you all the tools you’ll need to create the perfect trap and put you in a elf-catching mood!

  3. What Can You Do with a Toolbox? - From HGTV stars, cousins, and best friends John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino comes a fun-filled picture book that introduces young readers to the tools in a toolbox and how to use them. A hammer. Nails. A screwdriver. How do we use them? Using simple language, cousins Anthony and John introduce kids to tools and their uses. As their construction project grows, so does the number of kids helping. At the end, they reveal exactly what you can do with a toolbox: We can build a playground!

  4. With My Hands: Poems About Making Things - Building, baking, folding, drawing, shaping . . . making something with your own hands is a special, personal experience. Taking an idea from your imagination and turning it into something real is satisfying and makes the maker proud. With My Hands is an inspiring invitation to tap into creativity and enjoy the hands-on energy that comes from making things.

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Books About Art and Self-esteem

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The Art of Miss Chew
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

After spending the summer with her artist grandmother, Trisha knows she wants to be an artist, too. She’s thrilled when her sketches get her into Miss Chew’s special art class at the high school. A substitute teacher tells her she’s wasting time on art when she should be studying – but fortunately, this is one battle that Miss Chew and Trisha are up for!

This true story shows just how important a teacher can be in a child’s life – and celebrates the power of art itself.

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The Dot
Written & illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Vashti believes that she cannot draw, but her art teacher’s encouragement leads her to change her mind.

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Ish
Written & illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Ramon loved to draw. Anytime. Anything. Anywhere.

Drawing is what Ramon does. It¹s what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon’s older brother, Leon, turns Ramon’s carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just “right.” Combining the spareness of fable with the potency of parable, Peter Reynolds shines a bright beam of light on the need to kindle and tend our creative flames with care.

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  1. What If... - Creativity, the power of imagination, and the importance of self-expression are celebrated in this inspiring picture book written and illustrated by real-life best friends. This girl is determined to express herself! If she can’t draw her dreams, she’ll sculpt or build, carve or collage. If she can’t do that, she’ll turn her world into a canvas. And if everything around her is taken away, she’ll sing, dance, and dream… Stunning mixed media illustrations, lyrical text, and a breathtaking gatefold conjure powerful magic in this heartfelt affirmation of art, imagination, and the resilience of the human spirit.

  2. Seeing Orange - Seven-year-old Leland has trouble writing, but he loves drawing. He so dislikes his teacher that he conjures up Delilah, an imaginary seeing-eye dog to help him into class each day. When a neighborhood painter recognizes Leland’s gifts as an artist, Leland grows more confident about the world as he uniquely sees it. And when his family’s cat goes missing, it is Leland’s keen observation skills that lead to finding him. Leland’s newfound confidence helps him both confront and sympathize with his teacher, who only wishes Leland could be a bit more focused.

  3. Cherries and Cherry Pits - This is Bidemmi’s book. Enter her world, look at the pictures she draws as she tells her stories. You will never forget her.

  4. We're All Works of Art - There is no single masterpiece in art galleries or with people–we’re all works of art in our own special way! Our skin tones might all vary; we’re every shade and hue. Some people think we look surreal, and frankly, yes, we do! But we can make you tilt your head, and see the world anew. Pairing bright and engaging illustrations with relatable rhymes, this beautiful hardbound book celebrates diversity while teaching kids about different styles of art: from prehistoric cave art to surrealism, cubism, pop art, and contemporary art. Includes an appendix that provides brief descriptions of different art styles along with mentions of their most significant works and practitioners to encourage further exploration, including: Stonehenge the bust of Nefertiti Leonardo da Vinci Henri Matisse Joan Miró Rene Magritte Roy Lichtenstein Pauline Boty Rachel Whiteread Steve McQueen Mark Sperring works as a children’s bookseller in Bristol, England. He’s the author of the children’s picture books The Naughty Naughty Baddies, I’ll Love You Always, The Shape of My Heart, and How Many Sleeps Till Christmas. Rose Blake has an MA in communication art from the Royal College of Art. She’s done illustration work for a variety of clients, including Disney, the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood, and Cartoon Network.

Books About Art and Imagination

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Harold and the Purple Crayon
Written & illustrated by Crockett Johnson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Essential Picture Book Classics—timeless stories for every child to treasure. “One night, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight.” Armed only with an oversized purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of wonder and excitement. Full of funny twists and surprises, this joyful story shows just how far your imagination can take you. Harold and the Purple Crayon has delighted readers of all ages for over fifty years.

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The Magical Life of Mr. Renny
Written & illustrated by Leo Timmers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When he is unable to sell his paintings and has no money for food, Mr. Renny meets a man who is able to make his paintings come to life.

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Dog Loves Drawing
Written & illustrated by Louise Yates
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dog loves books, but one day he receives a strange one in the mail—it’s blank! Soon, Dog realizes that this book is not for reading, but for drawing. Before long, Dog is doodling and drawing himself into a new world, full of friends and surprises.

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  1. Beautiful Oops! - A life lesson that all parents want their children to learn: It’s OK to make a mistake. In fact, hooray for mistakes! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery. A spill doesn’t ruin a drawing—not when it becomes the shape of a goofy animal. And an accidental tear in your paper? Don’t be upset about it when you can turn it into the roaring mouth of an alligator. An award winning, best-selling, one-of-a-kind interactive book, Beautiful Oops! shows young readers how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. A singular work of imagination, creativity, and paper engineering, Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion “telescope”—each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder.

  2. When I Draw a Panda - From the acclaimed author and illustrator of The Big Umbrella comes a delightful celebration of creativity and gumption about a girl and her panda that’s Calvin and Hobbes meets If You Give a Mouse a Cookie! Sometimes when they say to draw a perfect circle, mine turn out a little wonky.
    I can draw a perfect fluffy cloud, a perfect scoop of ice cream, and a perfect flat tire.
    So when I draw a panda, I keep drawing more and more not-perfect circles until I see a panda.
    Then I step back and think, Does it need something else? He probably needs a hat, and then he is my panda.
    When a girl draws a panda, it comes to life and helps her embrace her own creativity and unique way of seeing the world.

  3. Sam & Eva - Harold and the Purple Crayon meets Tom and Jerry in this sweet and funny picture book about a boy and girl who must balance their creativity and figure out how to cooperate after their drawings come to life. When Sam starts drawing a super cool velociraptor, Eva decides to join in. But Sam isn’t too happy about the collaboration. Soon Eva and Sam are locked in an epic creative clash, bringing to life everything from superhero marmots to exploding confetti. But when their masterpieces turn to mayhem will Sam stay stubbornly solo or will he realize that sometimes the best work comes from teamwork?

  4. Draw! - Based on his own childhood, beloved and award-winning artist Raúl Colón’s wordless book is about the limitless nature of creativity and imagination. A boy alone in his room. Pencils. Sketchbook in hand. What would it be like to go on safari? Imagine. Draw… A boy named Leonardo begins to imagine and then to draw a world afar—first a rhinoceros, and then he meets some monkeys, and he always has a friendly elephant at his side. Soon he finds himself in the jungle and carried away by the sheer power of his imagination, seeing the world through his own eyes and making friends along the way.

Books About Art and Female Role Models

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Coco Chanel
Written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara & illustrated by Ana Albero
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Meet Coco Chanel, the world famous fashion designer! Now available as a board book in the Little People, Big Dreams series, this inspiring and informative little biography follows the life of the iconic first lady of fashion, from her early life in an orphanage – where she is a genius with needle and thread – to her time as a cabaret singer, hat maker and, eventually, international fashion designer. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!

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Willow
Written by Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan & illustrated by Cyd Moore
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Miss Hawthorn’s room is neat and tidy, not a pencil or paintbrush is out of place. And that’s how she likes it. And she likes trees that are colored green and apples that are painted red. Miss Hawthorn does not like things to be different or out of the ordinary. Into Miss Hawthorn’s classroom comes young Willow. She doesn’t color inside the lines, she breaks crayons, and she sees pink trees and blue apples. What will Miss Hawthorn think? Magical things can happen when your imagination is allowed to run wild, and for Miss Hawthorn the notion of what is art and what is possible is forever changed.Willow is the first joint writing effort for sisters Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan. Denise’s other Sleeping Bear Press books include Someday Is Not a Day of the Week and My Grandma Likes to Say. She lives in Howell, Michigan. Rosemarie Brennan juggles careers as a writing teacher and an author. She lives in Brighton, Michigan. Cyd Moore studied graphic design and fine arts at the University of Georgia. Her work includes posters, billboards, books, newspaper and magazine articles, and cassette and CD covers. She is the illustrator of I Love You, Stinky Face and I Miss You, Stinky Face. She lives in Commerce, Michigan.

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Cloth Lullaby
Written by Amy Novesky & illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) was a world-renowned modern artist noted for her sculptures made of wood, steel, stone, and cast rubber. Her most famous spider sculpture, Maman, stands more than 30 feet high. Just as spiders spin and repair their webs, Louise’s own mother was a weaver of tapestries. Louise spent her childhood in France as an apprentice to her mother before she became a tapestry artist herself. She worked with fabric throughout her career, and this biographical picture book shows how Bourgeois’s childhood experiences weaving with her loving, nurturing mother provided the inspiration for her most famous works. With a beautifully nuanced and poetic story, this book stunningly captures the relationship between mother and daughter and illuminates how memories are woven into us all.

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  1. Counting with Frida / Contando con Frida (Lil' Libros: English - Spanish) - A Lil’ Libros Bilingual Counting Book Introduce your little one to the life of one of Mexico’s most iconic painters, Frida Kahlo, while teaching them their numbers, 1 to 10, in English and Spanish. Count una casa azul (one blue house), tres flores (three flowers), and cinco retratos (five portraits).

  2. Rosa's Animals - Painter and sculptor Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899) led a highly nontraditional life, especially for a woman in the nineteenth century. She kept lions as pets, was awarded the Legion of Honor by Empress Eug�nie, and befriended “Buffalo Bill” Cody. She became a painter at a time when women were often only reluctantly educated as artists. Her unconventional artistic work habits, including visiting slaughterhouses to sketch an animal’s anatomy and wearing men’s clothing to gain access to places like a horse fair, where women were not allowed, helped her become one of the most beloved female painters of her time. Among the artworks discussed are The Horse Fair and Ploughing in the Nivernais. Along with her life story are a list of museums that house her work, a bibliography, and an index.

Books About Art and Multicultural

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This Little Artist
Written by Joan Holub & illustrated by Daniel Roode
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Painting, shaping, making art. With creative joy, hands, and heart. Little artists have great big imaginations. In this follow up to This Little President, This Little Explorer, This Little Trailblazer, and This Little Scientist now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering artists in history! Highlighting ten memorable artists who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this creativity primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.

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New Kid
Written & illustrated by Jerry Craft
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

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Beautiful Eggs
Written & illustrated by Alice Lindstrom
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-7

A large-format board book for Easter that celebrates traditions of egg-decorating from around the world in exquisite cut-paper illustration.

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  1. It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way - * 4 Starred Reviews *

  2. Tie-Dye Disaster - In this third book of the Craftily Ever After chapter book series, Maddie, Emily, Bella, and Sam accidentally tie-dye a shirt Maddie’s mother made for the mayor! Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives. Maddie gets her knack for fashion and sewing from her mom, a seamstress. And she’s made a lot for an eight-year-old—from theater costumes, to brand-new pairs of pants, to pillows for the Craft Clubhouse. But she’s never tie-dyed before! Maddie, Emily, Bella, and Sam have lots of fun turning clothing bright, groovy colors. But then something not so bright and groovy happens. The kids accidentally tie-dye a shirt Maddie’s mother made for the mayor of the town! They try all sorts of things to fix their mistake, but nothing works. What is the foursome going to do about their tie-dye disaster? With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Craftily Ever After chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

  3. Green Is a Chile Pepper - Green is a chile pepper, spicy and hot. Green is cilantro inside our pot. In this lively picture book, children discover a world of colors all around them: red is spices and swirling skirts, yellow is masa, tortillas, and sweet corn cake. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, and all are universal in appeal. With rich, boisterous illustrations, a fun-to-read rhyming text, and an informative glossary, this playful concept book will reinforce the colors found in every child’s day!

  4. Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood - What good can a splash of color do in a community of gray? As Mira and her neighbors discover, more than you might ever imagine! Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California, Maybe Something Beautiful reveals how art can inspire transformation—and how even the smallest artists can accomplish something big. Pick up a paintbrush and join the celebration!

Books About Art and Architecture

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Claudia & Moth
Written & illustrated by Jennifer Hansen Rolli
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

A small girl with a passion for nature turns to her new passion for art as the seasons turn colder.

Claudia loves butterflies. Blue ones. Yellow ones. Purple ones with dots. And since she can’t take them home, she paints them in all their beautiful colors.

But when winter comes, there are no more butterflies to paint…until she finds a little moth. Suddenly, Claudia sees winter in a whole new light.

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A Friendship Yarn
Written by Lisa Moser & illustrated by Olga Demidova and Lisa Moser
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Porcupine and Badger have always been the best of friends, so when Porcupine finds some yarn in the woods, she makes a present for Badger. And when Badger finds yarn, she makes a present for Porcupine. The only problem? It’s the same yarn—and to finish the gift, they each must unravel the other’s creation. An act of kindness turns into a fierce standoff as the friendship frays—can Porcupine and Badger set aside their differences and knit themselves back together?

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The Book of Mistakes
Written & illustrated by Corinna Luyken
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Zoom meets Beautiful Oops! in this memorable picture book debut about the creative process, and the way in which “mistakes” can blossom into inspiration

One eye was bigger than the other. That was a mistake. The weird frog-cat-cow thing? It made an excellent bush. And the inky smudges… they look as if they were always meant to be leaves floating gently across the sky.

As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas—and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.

Fans of Peter Reynolds’s Ish and Patrick McDonnell’s A Perfectly Messed-Up Story will love the funny, poignant, completely unique storytelling of The Book of Mistakes. And, like Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, it makes the perfect graduation gift, encouraging readers to have a positive outlook as they learn to face life’s obstacles.

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  1. Baby's First Eames - This whimsically illustrated board book offers a delightful A-to-Z overview of modern design icons for the toddler set. Parents who appreciate architecture and modern design will get a kick out of sharing their passion with their kids. From Alexander Calder to Frank Lloyd Wright, from Knoll furniture to Noguchi sculptures, the visionaries, buildings, and captivating objects introduced in Baby’s First Eames make design fun and accessible for aesthetes of all ages.

  2. Crocodali - Help Crocodali, the most talented painter in the whole wide world, create a masterpiece by tilting, shaking, rubbing, and blowing on the book. I am Crocodali, the most talented painter in the whole wide world. And you are in my studio! In this interactive picture book, children can follow Crocodali the painter’s instructions to help him create a masterpiece that will spark children’s curiosity! Crocodali tells readers to tilt the book to straighten the canvas, shake the book to spread the paint, blow on the book (but not too hard!) to help the painting dry, and much more. As they help Crocodali paint his masterpiece, children will be able to express their creative sides and learn to appreciate art.

  3. The Frame-Up - When Sargent Singer discovers that the paintings in his father’s gallery are alive, he is pulled into a captivating world behind the frame that he never knew existed. Filled with shady characters, devious plots, and a grand art heist, this inventive mystery-adventure celebrates art and artists and is perfect for fans of Night at the Museum and Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer. There’s one important rule at the Beaverbrook Gallery—don’t let anyone know the paintings are alive. Mona Dunn, forever frozen at thirteen when her portrait was painted by William Orpen, has just broken that rule. Luckily twelve-year-old Sargent Singer, an aspiring artist himself, is more interested in learning about the vast and intriguing world behind the frame than he is in sharing her secret. And when Mona and Sargent suspect shady dealings are happening behind the scenes at the gallery, they set out to find the culprit. They must find a way to save the gallery—and each other—before they are lost forever. With an imaginative setting, lots of intrigue, and a thoroughly engaging cast of characters, The Frame-Up will captivate readers of Jacqueline West’s The Books of Elsewhere.

  4. The Art of Eric Carle - Carle is one of the most beloved illustrators of children’s books. This retrospective is more than just an appreciation of his art, however. The book also contains an insightful autobiography illustrated with personal photographs, an anecdotal essay by his longtime editor, a photographic essay on how Carle creates his collages, and writings by Carle and his colleagues. Still, it is the artwork in the oversize volume that seizes the imagination. More than 60 of his full-color collage pictures are handsomely reproduced and serve as a statement of Carle’s impressive talent.
    - Booklist

Books About Art and Museums

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From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Written by E.L. Konigsburg
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved classic From the Mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

In this winner of the Newbery Medal from E.L. Konigsburg, when suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere—to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant.

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Simon at the Art Museum
Written by Christina Soontornvat & illustrated by Christine Davenier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A little boy visits an art museum for the first time in this fun, sweet picture book about first experiences and seeing things from new perspectives.

Simon is having a great time at the museum with his parents. There are slippery, slidey floors! Pigeons flying around the reflecting pool! And cheesecake in the café! But they’re not really here for any of that. No, Simon has to look at art.

And more art.

So. Much. Art.

There’s so much art that soon Simon needs to take a break and finds somewhere to sit. From his bench, he begins to notice how many different people are visiting the museum and the many different ways they react to the art they see. Some people are alone. Some are in groups. Some people smile. Some shake their heads. Some even shed a tear.

And Simon is right in the center of it, watching until he’s inspired to give all the art another try. By the end of the day, he may even find a piece that can rival a slice of cheesecake!

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This or That? What Will You Choose at the British Museum?
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

What will you choose: a horn or a harp? Perhaps you’re more interested in different forms of transportation: would you prefer a boat or a hot-air balloon? The possibilities are endless and the choice is yours. Featuring hundreds of artifacts from the British Museum, this is a book readers will pore over time and time again.

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  1. Mayhem at the Museum: A Book in Pictures - Paintings and sculptures come to life when a young girl visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her classmates. What starts as just another tour of the museum becomes a joyful parade as the art, which must not be touched, touches the young museum-goers in surprising ways. Images of works in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art are beautifully illustrated as dynamic characters by Luciano Lozano Raya in this wordless picture book. Famous paintings and sculptures from throughout the museum will be recognizable to adults while the mischievous breaking of the fourth wall will delight younger readers.

  2. Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment - When Parker Curry came face-to-face with Amy Sherald’s transcendent portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery, she didn’t just see the First Lady of the United States. She saw a queen—one with dynamic self-assurance, regality, beauty, and truth who captured this young girl’s imagination. When a nearby museum-goer snapped a photo of a mesmerized Parker, it became an internet sensation. Inspired by this visit, Parker, and her mother, Jessica Curry, tell the story of a young girl and her family, whose trip to a museum becomes an extraordinary moment, in a moving picture book. Parker Looks Up follows Parker, along with her baby sister and her mother, and her best friend Gia and Gia’s mother, as they walk the halls of a museum, seeing paintings of everyone and everything from George Washington Carver to Frida Kahlo, exotic flowers to graceful ballerinas. Then, Parker walks by Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama…and almost passes it. But she stops…and looks up! Parker saw the possibility and promise, the hopes and dreams of herself in this powerful painting of Michelle Obama. An everyday moment became an extraordinary one…that continues to resonate its power, inspiration, and indelible impact. Because, as Jessica Curry said, “anything is possible regardless of race, class, or gender.” FOREWORD BY ARTIST AMY SHERALD

  3. Awesomely Emma: A Charley and Emma Story -

  4. Isabella, Artist Extraordinaire - When Isabella has a day off from school, her mother suggests doing something special. Instead, Isabella walks her parents through all of the exciting things they could do as she imagines herself in famous paintings ranging from Van Gogh’s The Starry Night to Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans. Through her musings, Isabella creates a wondrous museum of her own making, showing how home can be the most special place of all!

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Books About Art and Parents

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All Is Merry and Bright
Written by Jeffrey Burton & illustrated by Don Clark
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

A gorgeous keepsake book that shines with holiday cheer and foil on every spread, All Is Merry and Bright is full of illumination and hope—perfect for the youngest readers in your life

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Hello Lighthouse
Written & illustrated by Sophie Blackall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A lavish new picture book from Caldecott-winner Sophie Blackall that will transport readers to the seaside in timeless, nautical splendor! Watch the days and seasons pass as the wind blows, the fog rolls in, and icebergs drift by. Outside, there is water all around. Inside, the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family unfolds as the keeper boils water for tea, lights the lamp’s wick, and writes every detail in his logbook. Step back in time and through the door of this iconic lighthouse into a cozy dollhouse-like interior with the extraordinary award-winning artist Sophie Blackall.

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The Colossus of Roads
Written & illustrated by Christina Uss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Eleven-year-old Rick Rusek is determined to improve the traffic conditions in Los Angeles– his parent’s failing delivery catering service, Smotch, depends on it.

Rick Rusek’s stomach has a lot to say. It’s got opinions on tasty foods, not-so-tasty foods, and how driving in traffic-jammed Los Angeles makes it roil, boil, gurgle, and howl. It never meant to earn its owner the nickname Carsick Rick or make him change schools for fifth grade. It’s doing the best it can.

Rick has a lot to say back to his stomach. In fact, his stomach is the only one he can talk to about his favorite subject: the mighty power of road signs. Rick sees how shifting these bold, beautiful signs announcing STOP, LEFT TURN ONLY, SPEED LIMIT 35, and ROAD WORK AHEAD could improve all the traffic problems in Los Angeles. Too bad his talent for sketching maps that show how to fix everything doesn’t seem to interest or impress anyone else.

When his parents’ catering business teeters on the verge of ruin, Rick wants to prove his talent for noticing small details can make a big difference. He’ll need help from his unicorn-loving Girl Scout neighbor, the Department of Transportation, a renowned street artist, plus the best driver in LA. He’ll have to fight back against snarled streets, graffiti vandals, and other people’s very wrong ideas about traffic.

If Rick can successfully move the 330,000 slow-moving cars standing in the way of his family’s future, maybe everyone will see that he’s not Carsick Rick. He’s one of the seven wonders of Los Angeles. He’s the Colossus of Roads.

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  1. Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too - Drawing. Reading. Building. Painting. These are things Nelly loves to do…but they’re always better with Daddy Gnu! With fun-to-read rhyme, a little silliness, and a lot of warmth, Anna Dewdney—the creator of the beloved llama llama books—tells the story of a daughter and her daddy and their wonderful day together.

  2. Renato and the Lion - The touching, magical story of a boy in a war-torn country and the stone lion that rescues him. Renato loves his home in Florence, Italy. He loves playing with his friends in the Piazza della Signoria. He loves walking home by the beautiful buildings and fountains with his father in the evenings. And he especially loves the stone lion who seems to smile at him from a pedestal in the piazza. The lion makes him feel safe. But one day his father tells him that their family must leave. Their country is at war, and they will be safer in America. Renato can only think of his lion. Who will keep him safe? With luminous watercolor paintings, Barbara DiLorenzo captures the beauty of Florence in this heartwarming and ultimately magical picture book.

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Books About Art and Family

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Love by Sophia
Written by Jim Averbeck & illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The precocious Sophia and her pet giraffe Noodle learn how to look at life, love, and art in this latest installment of the series that Kirkus Reviews calls “fun, clever, and empowering.”

Sophia loves her family and her wonderful pet giraffe Noodle, so when she gets an assignment to draw something she loves, she wants to make it extra special. Taking her teacher’s advice, Sophia uses a little perspective and creates a work she calls Love.

Before she can place her masterpiece on the refrigerator, her whole family has to approve of the painting. But this is the Whitney, the Guggenheim, the Louvre of refrigerators. Can Sophia persuade them to take a chance on a new perspective, so they can see love from her point of view?

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Louise Loves Art
Written & illustrated by Kelly Light
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

For fans of Olivia and Eloise, this stunning debut from Kelly Light is an irresistible story about the importance of creativity in all its forms. Meet Louise. Louise loves art more than anything. It’s her imagination on the outside. She is determined to create a masterpiece—her pièce de résistance! Louise also loves Art, her little brother. This is their story. Louise Loves Art is a celebration of the brilliant artist who resides in all of us.

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Flora's Tree House
Written & illustrated by Gabriel Alborozo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Flora entertains herself by drawing and painting. Will leaps from trees and swings branches like they’re swords. The two siblings have always played separately, until Will is curious about what exactly Flora is putting in her sketchbook. Flora reveals that she has been drawing—and enhancing—all of Will’s imaginary adventures, and making up some of her own. In one joyful afternoon, brother and sister discover that playing together is always more fun.

This irresistible and thoughtful story about siblings has expressive, vibrant art as stunning as the adventures the children go on. It is perfect for fans of Jonathan D. Voss’s Brave Enough for Two and Ocean Meets Sky by the Fan Brothers.

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  1. Where Are You, Agnes? - Agnes Martin was born on the Canadian prairies in the early twentieth century. In this imagining of her childhood from acclaimed author Tessa McWatt, Agnes spends her days surrounded by wheat fields, where her grandfather encourages her to draw what she sees and feels around her: the straight horizon, the feeling of the sun, the movement of birds’ wings and the shapes she sees in the wheat. One day, Agnes’s family moves to a house in a big city. The straight horizon and wheat fields are gone, but Agnes continues to draw what she sees and feels around her. No one except her grandfather understands what she is trying to capture – not her mother, who asks, “Where are you, Agnes?” when she sees her daughter engrossed in her drawing; nor her siblings, who think her art is ugly. Still, Agnes keeps trying to capture what she sees inside her mind. Agnes Martin grew up to become a famous abstract expressionist artist. Tessa McWatt has written a beautiful story of Agnes’s childhood and how it might have shaped her adult work. Zuzanna Celej’s watercolors adeptly capture Agnes’s world, including hints of the grid paintings that she was later known for, against the backdrop of prairie and city landscapes. Includes an author’s note with more information about Agnes Martin’s life and the inspiration behind this story.

  2. Drawn Together - The recipient of six starred reviews and the APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature!

  3. Bird - Young Mekhai, better known as Bird, loves to draw. With drawings, he can erase the things that don't turn out right. In real life, problems aren't so easily fixed.

  4. A Thousand Glass Flowers: Marietta Barovier and the Invention of the Rosetta Bead - This gorgeous and empowering picture book from award-winning author-illustrator Evan Turk paints the portrait of Marietta Barovier, the groundbreaking Renaissance artisan who helped shape the future of Venetian glassmaking.

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Books About Art and 20th Century

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If Picasso Painted a Snowman
Written by Amy Newbold & illustrated by Greg Newbold
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-11

-If someone asked you to paint a snowman, you would probably start with three white circles stacked one upon another. Then you would add black dots for eyes, an orange triangle for a nose, and a black dotted smile. But if Picasso painted a snowman….-

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Hi, I’m Norman: The Story of American Illustrator Norman Rockwell
Written by Robert Burleigh & illustrated by Wendell Minor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“An inviting and admiring introduction to an important American artist.” —Kirkus Reviews

From award-winning author Robert Burleigh comes a striking, intimate picture book biography about an American icon—beloved artist Norman Rockwell.

Norman Rockwell is best known for capturing the American spirit as a painter and illustrator in the late twentieth century. This beautifully illustrated, first-person narrative explores Rockwell’s life in episodes based on important moments in American history. Norman Rockwell is not only a great American artist, but he also successfully chronicled two generations of American life, making him one of the most beloved and well-known American artists of all time.

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Infinite Hope: A Black Artist's Journey from World War II to Peace
Written & illustrated by Ashley Bryan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 10-13

In May of 1942, at the age of eighteen, Ashley Bryan was drafted to fight in World War II. For the next three years, he would face the horrors of war as a black soldier in a segregated army. He endured the terrible lies white officers told about the black soldiers to isolate them from anyone who showed kindness—including each other. He received worse treatment than even Nazi POWs. He was assigned the grimmest, most horrific tasks, like burying fallen soldiers…but was told to remove the black soldiers first because the media didn’t want them in their newsreels. And he waited and wanted so desperately to go home, watching every white soldier get safe passage back to the United States before black soldiers were even a thought. For the next forty years, Ashley would keep his time in the war a secret. But now, he tells his story. The story of the kind people who supported him. The story of the bright moments that guided him through the dark. And the story of his passion for art that would save him time and time again. Filled with never-before-seen artwork and handwritten letters and diary entries, this illuminating and moving memoir by Newbery Honor–winning illustrator Ashley Bryan is both a lesson in history and a testament to hope.

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  1. Who Was Norman Rockwell? - Brush up your knowledge on popular American painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell with this exciting Who Was? title.

  2. Louise Bourgeois - In this book from the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Louise Bourgeois, the inspiring French-American sculptor and installation artist. When Louise was a little girl, her mother died. She learned to express her feelings through drawing—and when she grew up, she turned these drawings into sculpture, confronting her own fears through art. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the artist’s life. Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream. This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardcover versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Paper dolls, learning cards, matching games, and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children. Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!

  3. Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing - Iconic pop artist Keith Haring comes to life for young readers in this picture book biography lovingly written by his sister This one-of-a-kind book explores the life and art of Keith Haring from his childhood through his meteoric rise to fame. It sheds light on this important artist’s great humanity, his concern for children, and his disregard for the establishment art world. Reproductions of Keith’s signature artwork appear in scenes boldly rendered by Robert Neubecker. This is a story to inspire, and a book for Keith Haring fans of all ages to treasure.

  4. Sandy's Circus - Alexander Calder, or Sandy to those who knew him, was a joyous, playful man who did not call himself an artist. But, oh what an artist he was! His gigantic, colorful metal sculptures and his amazing mobiles can be seen in public places all over the world. One of his first creations was a wonderful, whimsical that made out of found materials such as wire, cork, and paper. Imagine a big bear of a man down on his hands and knees, making his clever creations leap, run, and dance to the delight of everyone who watched. This is the story of Sandy’s magical, moveable circus.

Books About Art and Creativity

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Knit Together
Written & illustrated by Angela Dominguez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

New from an award-winning illustrator comes a sweet story of mothers and daughters, drawing and knitting, and learning to embrace your talents—just right for Mother’s Day.

Drawing is fun, but knitting is better—because you can wear it! Knitting isn’t easy, though, and can be a little frustrating. Maybe the best thing to do is combine talents. A trip to the beach offers plenty of inspiration. Soon mom and daughter are collaborating on a piece of art they can share together: a special drawing made into a knitted beach blanket.

For every mom and daughter, this is an arts-and-crafts ode creative passion and working together.

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The Artist who Painted a Blue Horse
Written & illustrated by Eric Carle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Every child has an artist inside them, and this vibrant picture book from Eric Carle will help let it out. The artist in this book paints the world as he sees it, just like a child. There’s a red crocodile, an orange elephant, a purple fox and a polka-dotted donkey. More than anything, there’s imagination. Filled with some of the most magnificently colorful animals of Eric Carle’s career, this tribute to the creative life celebrates the power of art.

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I Have an Idea!
Written & illustrated by Herve Tullet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

From one of the true creative geniuses of this generation comes a unique meditation on and celebration of the magic of the birth of a simple idea. Sparkling with visual wit and bubbling with imagination, this is a richly emotional exploration of the creative process: from an initial tentative inkling, to the frustration of chasing the wrong notion, to finally the exhilaration of capturing—and nurturing—just the right idea. I Have an Idea! is a scrumptious cloth-spined package of color and inspiration equally at home on a child’s bookshelf, in a new graduate’s backpack, or atop a creative’s desk.

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  1. Linus The Little Yellow Pencil - Linus and his eraser, Ernie, don’t always see eye to eye. But with the family art show drawing near, these two will have to sharpen their collaboration to make something neither one could do on their own! This ode to art by the illustrator of Spoon and Chopsticks points out the power of sharing the creative process and sticking with it.

  2. If I Built a House - The much-anticipated follow-up to the E. B. White Award-winning picture book <i>If I Built a Car</i> <p/>In <i>If I Built a Car</i>, imaginative Jack dreamed up a whimsical fantasy ride that could do just about anything. Now he’s back and ready to build the house of his dreams, complete with a racetrack, flying room, and gigantic slide. Jack’s limitless creativity and infectious enthusiasm will inspire budding young inventors to imagine their own fantastical designs. <p/>Chris Van Dusen’s vibrant illustrations marry retro appeal with futuristic style as he, once again, gives readers a delightfully rhyming text that absolutely begs to be read aloud.

  3. Mightier Than the Sword - Wildly funny and inventive, this interactive book pulls you, the reader, into the action. Yes, YOU! You wake up in the fictional land of Astorya, where stories from our world come to life. You’re a real human being (we assume), and in this fictional world, that makes you a superhero. Armed with your trusty pencil you have the power to create: what you write, draw, or scribble in the book becomes part of the story! Only you can rescue Prince S. from the evil Queen Rulette. Aided by the Couriers–a French stoat with dangerous dance moves, a giant dung beetle, a fire ninja, a Pegasus-centaur-cowgirl and a super-intelligent femalien chameleon–you must write, draw, and puzzle your way through a hilarious adventure that is unique to every reader! And most importantly, you must prove that the pencil is mightier than the sword.

  4. Niko Draws a Feeling - Niko loves to draw his world: the ring-a-ling of the ice cream truck, the warmth of sun on his face. But no one appreciates his art. Until one day, Niko meets Iris . . .

    This imaginative and tender story explores the creative process, abstract art, friendship, and the universal desire to feel understood.

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Books About Art and Social Themes

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When Pencil Met Eraser
Written by Karen Kilpatrick and Luis O. Ramos, Jr. & illustrated by German Blanco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Ever wonder why there’s a little pink eraser on every pencil? Find out in this funny, clever picture book that tells the true story of how Pencil and Eraser became the best of friends. When Pencil draws on the pages of this book, Eraser erases parts of Pencil’s work, and the book itself becomes a canvas for their different takes on creativity—until the two discover their artwork is even better when they work together. From Karen Kilpatrick, Luis O. Ramos, and illustrator Germán Blanco, When Pencil Met Eraser brings to life something kids use every day at school and at home. Engaging art, adorable characters, and a clever ending create a memorable message about friendship and creativity.

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Bird in Me Flies
Written by Sara Lundberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

What do you do when it feels impossible to live up to everything expected of you? When the only person who understands you disappears? When you are young and long for something that seems out of reach?

Berta dreams of being an artist, but as a girl growing up in a small Swedish farming village in the 1920s, she has little hope. She finds solace in nature, and in drawing and shaping birds from clay for her mother, the only person who seems to truly understand her. When her mother succumbs to tuberculosis, Berta feels alone, in despair and even more burdened by all the work on the farm. Can she find the courage to defy her father and the social conventions of her time, and fly free?

This beautifully illustrated novel in verse, inspired by the paintings, letters and diaries of Swedish artist Berta Hansson (1910-1994), is a universal story of grief, longing and following your dreams.

Includes an afterword by journalist Alexandra Sundqvist.

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Doodle Cat Wears a Cape
Written by Kat Patrick & illustrated by Lauren Farrell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

He can perform all kinds of superhero acts, like catching humans when they fall from trees and firing furballs at top speed. But will Doodle Cat’s superpowers work when his friend is sad? Maybe he’ll have to try something new.

Filled with Doodle Cat’s signature exuberance and joy…

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  1. Hey, Wall - A boy takes on a community art project in order to make his neighborhood more beautiful in this empowering and inspiring picture book by Susan Verde, stunningly illustrated by award-winning artist John Parra. One creative boy. One bare, abandoned wall. One BIG idea. There is a wall in Ángel’s neighborhood. Around it, the community bustles with life: music, dancing, laughing. Not the wall. It is bleak. One boy decides to change that. But he can’t do it alone. Told in elegant verse by Susan Verde and vibrantly illustrated by John Parra, this inspiring picture book celebrates the power of art to tell a story and bring a community together.

  2. Pencil's Perfect Picture - Pencil is trying to draw the perfect picture for his dad. So, he asks his friends Brush, Pastel, Marker, Crayon, and Chalk what makes their art perfect. But they each have a different answer. How will Pencil be able to create his own perfect picture?

  3. Hum and Swish - Celebrate creativity, introversion, summer sun– and the beauty of a little peace and quiet! It’s a glorious summer day at the shore, and all Jamie wants is to finish her art project in the sand. A little time to herself is all she needs. But everyone around keeps asking her pesky questions she doesn’t know how to answer: what are you making? Aren’t you clever? Jamie does her best to tune it all out and focus on her creation . . . until she finds a like-minded friend, who’s as happy to work quietly as she is. Widely respected artist Matt Myers makes his debut as an author in this charming story about introversion, art, and the quiet joy of finding a kindred spirit. Creative, clever, and funny, Hum and Swish is a perfect summer read-aloud, with detailed, colorful artwork you’ll love to pore over. A Bank Street Best Book of the Year

Books About Art and Authors

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A Poem for Peter
Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney & illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

A celebration of the extraordinary life of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of The Snowy Day.

The story of The Snowy Day begins more than one hundred years ago, when Ezra Jack Keats was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. The family were struggling Polish immigrants, and despite Keats’s obvious talent, his father worried that Ezra’s dream of being an artist was an unrealistic one. But Ezra was determined. By high school he was winning prizes and scholarships. Later, jobs followed with the WPA and Marvel comics. But it was many years before Keats’s greatest dream was realized and he had the opportunity to write and illustrate his own book.

For more than two decades, Ezra had kept pinned to his wall a series of photographs of an adorable African American child. In Keats’s hands, the boy morphed into Peter, a boy in a red snowsuit, out enjoying the pristine snow; the book became The Snowy Day, winner of the Caldecott Medal, the first mainstream book to feature an African American child. It was also the first of many books featuring Peter and the children of his — and Keats’s — neighborhood.

Andrea Davis Pinkney’s lyrical narrative tells the inspiring story of a boy who pursued a dream, and who, in turn, inspired generations of other dreamers.

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Portrait in Poems: The Storied Life of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas
Written by Evie Robillard & illustrated by Rachel Katstaller
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Here’s an insider’s tour of the fascinating lives of Gertrude Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, amusingly addressed directly to the reader (“The next time you go to Paris …”). It explores the couple’s art collection, their famous writer and artist friends and even their dog, Basket. It also describes how Gertrude’s book The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas was not about Alice, but was more about Gertrude herself! A celebration of creativity and the creative process, this original and very readable picture book biography champions two women who dared to live unconventional lives.

In playful free verse, author Evie Robillard offers a unique introduction to one of the most influential figures of twentieth-century art and literature. It includes twelve child-friendly quotations from Stein’s work, such as: “It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.” Illustrator Rachel Katstaller’s fun yet detailed art delightfully evokes the time and place of the text. Touching on literature, history, writing and the visual arts, this biography offers loads of direct curriculum applications. Back matter includes a time line, “snapshots,” sources and an author’s note with further background.

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Nonsense! The Curious Story of Edward Gorey
Written by Lori Mortensen & illustrated by Chloe Bristol
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A beautifully illustrated and lyrical picture-book biography of eccentric and beloved writer and artist Edward Gorey

In this lyrical biography of one of literature’s most creepily creative authors and illustrators, kids will learn about the inspiration behind a generation of creators, from Lemony Snicket to Tim Burton.

Known for, among other things, wearing a large fur coat wherever he went, storyteller Edward Gorey was respected for both his brilliance and his eccentricity. As a child, he taught himself to read and skipped several grades before landing at Harvard (after a brief stint in the army). Then he built a name for himself as a popular book illustrator. After that, he went on to publish well over one hundred of his own books, stories that mingled sweetness and innocence, danger and darkness, all mixed with his own brand of silliness. Illustrated with Gorey-like humor and inspiration by Chloe Bristol, this stunning picture book biography about this beloved creator is the first for children.

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  1. Flights of Fancy - In a beautiful anthology, ten children’s book greats share stories, poems, pictures, tips, and prompts meant to inspire young readers to create works of their own. Have you ever sparked the start of a story by playing a game of What if? Is there any value to all that doodling you do? What does being “a sponge” have to do with facing down a blank page? Did you know that pictures can sometimes inspire stories, rather than the other way around? From Quentin Blake’s drawings of fantastical vehicles to Michael Rosen’s inside look at his poetry, from Anthony Browne’s shape game (no need to be an artist to play) to Lauren Child’s look at her creative process, this anthology – whose contributors were all British Children’s Laureates – aims to encourage budding writers and artists to let their imaginations soar. The final spread is a collection of prompts from all the contributors, passing the creative torch to the next generation. With contributions by: Malorie Blackman Quentin Blake Anthony Browne Lauren Child Julia Donaldson Anne Fine Michael Morpurgo Chris Riddell Michael Rosen Jacqueline Wilson

  2. Words with Wings: A Treasury of African-American Poetry and Art - African-American poetry and art take wing and soar in this collection compiled by Belinda Rochelle. With work that spans the nineteenth century through the present, this stunning collection pairs twenty poems by distinguished African-American poets with twenty works of art by acclaimed African-American artists. Renowned poets and artists such as Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Rita Dove, Countee Cullen, Jacob Lawrence, and Paul Lawrence Dunbar powerfully explore themes of slavery, racism, and black pride, among many others. Named as one of the New York Public Library’s “100 Titles for Reading and Sharing,” this important collection was described as “a stirring book that will take [readers] up close and also extend their view of themselves” in a starred review by Booklist.

  3. The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain - “I was born at the beginning of it all, on the Red side―the Communist side―of the Iron Curtain.” Through annotated illustrations, journals, maps, and dreamscapes, Peter Sís shows what life was like for a child who loved to draw, proudly wore the red scarf of a Young Pioneer, stood guard at the giant statue of Stalin, and believed whatever he was told to believe. But adolescence brought questions. Cracks began to appear in the Iron Curtain, and news from the West slowly filtered into the country. Sís learned about beat poetry, rock ‘n’ roll, blue jeans, and Coca-Cola. He let his hair grow long, secretly read banned books, and joined a rock band. Then came the Prague Spring of 1968, and for a teenager who wanted to see the world and meet the Beatles, this was a magical time. It was short-lived, however, brought to a sudden and brutal end by the Soviet-led invasion. But this brief flowering had provided a glimpse of new possibilities―creativity could be discouraged but not easily killed. By joining memory and history, Sís takes us on his extraordinary journey: from infant with paintbrush in hand to young man borne aloft by the wings of his art. This title has Common Core connections. The Wall is a 2007 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year, a 2008 Caldecott Honor Book, a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year, the winner of the 2008 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Nonfiction, and a nominee for the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids.

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Books About Art and Nature

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Leafy Critters
Written by Yvonne Lacet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A unique and practical children’s art-and-craft book, perfect for those who love Eric Carle, that looks to the natural world for inspiration and artistic materials.

An exuberant call to go outside, Leafy Critters inspires a deep appreciation for nature, art, and animals. Perfect for parents, teachers, and anyone searching for novel projects for kids of all ages. Printed on FSC-certified paper with vegetable-based inks.

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The Magic Hour
Written & illustrated by Ian Beck
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Inspired by the world-famous John Singer Sargent painting, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, this charming book brings the Victorian subjects to life One long, hot summer, Lily and Rose are playing in the garden of a large country house when they spot a strange light. It must be fairies! Determined to catch them, they sneak out at sunset to find the fairies. However, things aren’t always what they seem. Will Lily and Rose be disappointed or will they find something that’s magic in its own way? Based on the world-famous John Singer Sargent painting Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, Ian Beck brings the subjects to life and reveals an inspirational world behind the painting.

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Lost Words
chapter book
Recommend Ages: -

In 2007, when a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary -- widely used in schools around the world -- was published, a sharp-eyed reader soon noticed that around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped. Apparently they were no longer being used enough by children to merit their place in the dictionary. The list of these "lost words" included acorn, adder, bluebell, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher, newt, otter, and willow. Among the words taking their place were attachment, blog, broadband, bullet-point, cut-and-paste, and voice-mail. The news of these substitutions -- the outdoor and natural being displaced by the indoor and virtual -- became seen by many as a powerful sign of the growing gulf between childhood and the natural world.

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  1. What We See in the Stars - An illustrated guide to the heavens combines the myths, historic significance, and various interpretations of objects seen in the night sky, including the recognized constellations, meteors, eclipses, planets, and moons.

  2. Silverlake Art Show - In this thirteenth charming book of The Adventures of Sophie Mouse series, Sophie hosts the very first Silverlake Art Show! Sophie has a brilliant idea: she’s going to host the very first Silverlake Art Show! After all, she loves to draw and paint and she likes looking at art too. With the help of Hattie Frog and Owen Snake, Sophie puts together the whole event. And when the big night comes, she expects to be the star of the show. But she gets a surprise when she realizes…she’s not! Who is this mystery artist that everyone is chirping and buzzing about? With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Adventures of Sophie Mouse chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

  3. I Am an Artist - Are you an artist? Do you see the world around you in a special way? “I Am An Artist” shows you how, by simply observing the delights of nature, you can be inspired to create. Can you name the colors inside a seashell? You’re an artist!

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Books About Art and Culture

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Little Frida: A Story of Frida Kahlo
Written & illustrated by Anthony Browne
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Young Frida Kahlo’s imaginary friend comes to life in a touching story by Anthony Browne enhanced by exquisite surreal illustrations.

Following a bout with polio at the age of six, Frida Kahlo’s life was marked by pain and loneliness. In real life she walked with a limp, but in her dreams she flew. One day her imagination took her on a journey to a girl in white who could dance without pain and hold her secrets, an indelible figure who would find her way into Frida’s art in years to come. Inspired by Frida Kahlo’s diary, Anthony Browne captures the essence of the artist’s early flights of fancy and depicts both Frida and her imaginary friend in vivid illustrations evoking Kahlo’s iconic style. A note at the end offers a brief biography of the artist who has intrigued art lovers the world over.

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Henri's Scissors
Written & illustrated by Jeanette Winter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

An introduction to the life and paper-cutout art of Henri Matisse describes his early sketching hobby, famous paintings and the illness that confined him to a wheelchair and inspired his sophisticated paper-cutout masterworks.

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Frida Kahlo
Written by Isabel Muñoz & illustrated by Jane Kent
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Mexican artist Frida Kahlo created vibrantly hued paintings . . . and led an equally colorful life. Known for her self-portraits, she became a feminist icon whose work now sells for millions. This lively biography looks at Frida’s childhood; her devotion to Mexican culture and politics; the bus accident that left her in chronic pain but also sparked her career; and her marriage to Diego Rivera.

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  1. Goat in the Rug - Geraldine is a goat, and Glenmae, a Navajo weaver. One day, Glenmae decides to weave Geraldine into a rug. First Geraldine is clipped. Then her wool is spun into fine, strong yarn. Finally, Glenmae weaves the wool on her loom. They reader learns, along with Geraldine, about the care and pride involved in the weaving of a Navajo rug – and about cooperation between friends.

  2. Little Guides to Great Lives: Leonardo Da Vinci - Most famous as the painter who created the Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci is also one of history’s greatest geniuses-he was a mathematician, architect, astronomer, scientist, and musician. and he even invented the helicopter! From artists to aviators and scientists to revolutionaries, Little Guides to Great Lives is a brand new series of small-format guides introducing children to the most inspirational figures from history in a fun, accessible way. Launching with Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Nelson Mandela, and Amelia Earhart, Little Guides to Great Lives tells the stories of the most amazing people from all over the world and across history, with full-color illustrations and fresh design to bring their incredible stories to life.

  3. Outside In - “A compassionate story of homelessness and friendship, recycled art and community.” —Kirkus Reviews A twelve-year-old boy living on the streets of Chandigarh, India, stumbles across a secret garden full of sculptures and sees the possibility of another way of life as he bonds with the man who is creating the garden in this searingly beautiful novel—based on a true story. Twelve-year-old Ram is a street boy living behind a sign on a building’s rooftop, barely scraping by, winning games of gilli for money, occasionally given morsels of food through the kindness of Mr. Singh, a professor and father of his friend Daya. But his prowess at gilli (an outdoor game similar to cricket) is what gets him into big trouble. One day, when he wins against some schoolboys fair and square, the boys are infuriated. As they chase Ram across town, he flings his small sack of money over a factory gate where no one can get it, and disappears into the alleyways. But someone does get the money, Ram discovers when he sneaks back later on to rescue what is his—a strange-ish man on a bike who also seems to be collecting…rocks? Ram follows the man into the jungle, where he finds something unlike anything he’s seen—statues, hundreds of statues…no, thousands of them! Gods and goddesses and buildings, all at half scale. What is this place? It seems that the rock collecting man, Nek, has built them all! When Nek discovers that Ram has followed him, he has no choice but to let the boy stay and earn back the money Nek has already spent. How else can he keep him quiet? For his creations lie on land that isn’t technically his to build on. As Ram and Nek hesitantly become friends, Ram learns the true nature of this hidden village in the jungle, as well as the stories of Shiva and Lord Rama, stories of gods and goddesses that in strange ways seem to parallel Ram’s…and Nek’s. Based on the true story of one of India’s most beloved artists and modern day folk heroes, Nek Chand was a real man—a man displaced from his home in the midst of war and conflict; a man who missed his home so terribly he illegally reconstructed his entire village in miniature out of found objects and rock, recreating mosaic statues and sculptures spanning acres of jungle. Though Ram is a fictionalized character, Nek’s artwork is real. Intertwined with mythology and the sociopolitics of India, this is an exquisitely wrought, unexpected, and singular tale about the connection of community and how art can help make us human.

  4. Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave - A Caldecott Honor

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Books About Art and Science And Nature

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Once Upon a Memory
Written by Nina Laden & illustrated by Renata Liwska
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Does a feather remember it once was a bird? Does a book remember it once was a word? When a feather drifts through a child’s window, a magical journey begins. As the boy follows the feather, he is swept away to a world filled with adorable animals, where fantasy and reality come together in surprising and playful ways. From the cake that once was grain to the ocean that once was rain, whimsical “before” and “after” scenes offer readers a peek at the world as seen through the eyes of a curious child, ultimately asking the question, “What will you remember?” Nina Laden’s poetic and cleverly woven text is perfectly paired with bestselling artist Renata Liwska’s captivating illustrations. Together they create a story that will keep readers enchanted long after the journey has ended.

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The Bluest of Blues
Written & illustrated by Fiona Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

A gorgeous picture book biography of botanist and photographer Anna Atkins–the first person to ever publish a book of photography After losing her mother very early in life, Anna Atkins (1799-1871) was raised by her loving father. He gave her a scientific education, which was highly unusual for women and girls in the early 19th century. Fascinated with the plant life around her, Anna became a botanist. She recorded all her findings in detailed illustrations and engravings, until the invention of cyanotype photography in 1842. Anna used this new technology in order to catalogue plant specimens–a true marriage of science and art. In 1843, Anna published the book Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions with handwritten text and cyanotype photographs. It is considered the first book of photographs ever published. Weaving together histories of women, science, and art, The Bluest of Blues will inspire young readers to embark on their own journeys of discovery and creativity.

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Flora Forager ABC
Written & illustrated by Bridget Beth Collins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Botanical artist and Instagram sensation Flora Forager makes her children’s picture book debut with this imaginative alphabet book featuring real and imaginary animals created with natural materials gathered from her botanical foraging in wild places and from her garden. Bridget Beth Collins, known as Flora Forager on Instagram, has created her beautiful children’s book debut from natural materials gathered from her botanical foraging where she makes her home in the Pacific Northwest. Children will be fascinated by her amazing botanical creations, from angel fish to zebra, and inspired to learn their ABCs.

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Honorable Mentions
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  1. Birdsong - A Best Book of the Year in Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Horn Book.

  2. Winter Is Coming - "A quiet, beautiful picture book to share." --Booklist (starred review)

  3. The Bug Girl - Maria Sibylla Merian was fascinated with insects. But when Maria was a girl in the mid-1600s, superstitions about bugs prevented most people from taking a close look. People thought bugs were evil–and anyone interested in such creatures was surely evil too. That didn’t stop Maria. Filled with curiosity, she began to study and paint them. She even witnessed silkworms form cocoons and transform into moths–discovering metamorphosis! Painting and drawing as she studied, Maria pushed the boundaries of what girls were expected to do, eventually gaining recognition as one of the first entomologists and scientific illustrators. This gorgeously illustrated biography celebrates a fascinating female pioneer who broke boundaries in both the arts and sciences.

  4. Hello Birds What Do You Say? - Come and meet the birds and find out what they say.

Books About Art and School

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Sky Color
Written & illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

The sky’s no limit as the author-illustrator of The Dot and Ish winds up his Creatrilogy with a whimsical tale about seeing the world a new way.

Marisol loves to paint. So when her teacher asks her to help make a mural for the school library, she can’t wait to begin! But how can Marisol make a sky without blue paint? After gazing out the bus window and watching from her porch as day turns into night, she closes her eyes and starts to dream. . . . From the award-winning Peter H. Reynolds comes a gentle, playful reminder that if we keep our hearts open and look beyond the expected, creative inspiration will come.

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A Paintbrush for Paco
Written by Tracey Kyle & illustrated by Joshua Heinsz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Meet a little boy named Paco who loves to draw but can’t seem to concentrate during school in this picture book that’s sprinkled with Spanish words! Paco gazed out at the late-morning sun. He wondered why recess had not yet begun. He wanted to go to el campo and play, and act like a matador shouting “¡Olé!” Paco loves daydreaming and drawing, but he struggles to concentrate during class. When his profesor takes him to the art room, Paco is amazed by the colorful paints: pink, rosado; purple, morado; fiery orange, anaranjado; and more! Could art be just what Paco needs? Complete with an author’s note and glossary of Spanish words, this story is a great introduction to Spanish with a strong message about the power of art!

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Yasmin the Builder
Written by Saadia Faruqi & illustrated by Hatem Aly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

As their makerspace project the students in Yasmin’s second grade class are building a city: there are houses, a school, a church, even a castle, but Yasmin is not sure what to build–until inspiration strikes.

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  1. Museum Trip - In this wordless picture book, a boy imagines himself inside some of the exhibits when he goes on a field trip to a museum.

  2. If I Built a School -

  3. Class Act - Fans of Princess Posey and Ivy and Bean will enjoy rooting for Jada Jones as she runs for student council in this easy-to-read chapter book. As a candidate for class representative, Jada is ready to give the campaign her all. But when rumors start to fly about her secret fear of public speaking, she isn’t sure who she can trust. And the pressure to make promises she can’t keep only adds to her growing list of problems. Is winning even worth it when friendships are on the line? This easy-to-read story–with plenty of pictures and a charming, relatable cast of characters–is a sure winner. The early chapter book bridges between leveled readers and chapter books for fluent readers adjusting to the chapter book format. At about 5,000 words, with short chapters and two-color art on almost every page, it will appeal to this unique reader. The two-color art throughout will help readers transition from the familiar four-color art of leveled readers and ease them into black-and-white chapter books.

  4. Ms. Hannah Is Bananas! - With more than 11 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading! In the fourth book of the original My Weird School series, art teacher Ms. Hannah shows A.J. and the gang that art is everywhere! She wears dresses made out of potholders and collects garbage instead of throwing it out. And even makes A.J. draw a picture with smelly, tattletale Andrea! Perfect for reluctant readers and word lovers alike, Dan Gutman’s insanely popular My Weird School series has something for everyone. Don’t miss any more hilarious adventures from A.J. and the gang.

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Books About Art and Crafts

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Sylvia Long's Big Book for Small Children
Written & illustrated by Sylvia Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Sylvia Long has been creating bestselling children’s books for more than 25 years. Her edition of Mother Goose rhymes is a modern classic, and Sylvia Long’s Big Book for Small Children, her latest compendium, is destined to become another nursery staple. From beloved stories like “The Three Little Pigs” and important early childhood concepts (colors, counting, ABCs) to her own family’s favorite recipes and lullabies, this warm, joyous, and comprehensive collection is the perfect start to every child’s library.

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The Weaver
Written by Thacher Hurd & illustrated by Elisa Kleven
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

As the sun rises, the weaver begins her work, spinning thread, dying it, and then weaving it into a cloth along with the signs of love and friendship she sees down on earth. At the end of the day, the weaver spreads this extraordinary cloth over us, to warm and protect us all through the night. This is a joyful, soothing, gorgeously illustrated bedtime story about the love between family and friends all over the world—and even beyond it.

The Weaver is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year.

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Boats for Papa
Written & illustrated by Jessixa Bagley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Buckley and his Mama live in a cozy cabin by the ocean. He loves to carve boats, each one more beautiful than the last, out of the driftwood he finds on the beach nearby. He sends them out to see and if they don’t come back, he knows they’ve found their way to his papa, whom he misses very much.

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  1. Emily's Idea - How a simple creative act spreads a message of love and acceptance around the world? Emily’s idea started small. Many beautiful ideas do. She folded, doodled, and snipped. But also, like many ideas, Emily’s small idea grew. When a little girl decides to create a paper chain of dolls, her idea catches on. Then it spreads far and wide as children around the world begin to create and share their own. This is the story of how that girl makes it happen.

  2. How Winston Delivered Christmas - An advent story told in twenty-four-and-a-half chapters!

  3. Rainbow Weaver / Tejedora del Arcoíris - Bilingual English/Spanish. A young Mayan girl isn't allowed to use her mother's thread to weave, so with a little ingenuity she discovers how to repurpose plastic bags to create colorful weavings. Based on an actual recycling movement in Guatemala.

  4. Christmas Is Coming! An Advent Book - Lift the flaps every day of December to discover a delightful new Christmas tradition with this unique advent book! Each flap on the cover of the book reveals a clue to a festive activity that can be found inside the pages. It might be a recipe for a delicious homemade treat, instructions for a cozy craft, a game to play, a carol to sing, or a beautifully illustrated story to read with the whole family. This inviting twist on the traditional advent calendar is perfect for families who love to put their own spin on celebrating the holidays, offering fun-filled activities that can be fondly shared together year after year.

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Books About Art and Best Friends

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Dream Machine
Written by Martha Maker & illustrated by Xindi Yan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Bella learns that sometimes following your dreams is easier said than done in this fourth book of the Craftily Ever After chapter book series! Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives. Bella is a computer whiz and loves brainstorming new gadgets to make. So when she spies a flier for a citywide robotics competition, the young inventor’s wheels start spinning. She can’t wait to start building and programming! There’s just one problem: all the kids on her school’s robotics team are older. Bella must find a way to prove herself to the big kids. Now the competition is heating up—both in the craft clubhouse and at school. Will Bella find the confidence to follow her dreams and conquer the competition? With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Craftily Ever After chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

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The Art Show Attacks!
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8
New York Times bestselling author Jack Chabert knows how to keep young readers on the edge of their seats!
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Breaking the Piggy Bank
Written by Martha Maker & illustrated by Xindi Yan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Bella, Emily, Maddie, and Sam decide to create their very own start-up—a lemonade stand!—in this fifth book of the Craftily Ever After chapter book series. Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives. Bella, Emily, Maddie, and Sam have been hard at work in their craft studio—so busy in fact, that their supplies are starting to dwindle. It’s time to stock up! In order to add a little money to their piggy bank, the friends decide to combine their skills and use the last of their allowance to create their very own business: a lemonade stand! But something’s not quite right. While the stand looks fabulous, the lemonade is…not. Can these crafty entrepreneurs save their business before it’s too late? With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Craftily Ever After chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

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  1. Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery - Two best friends with a flair for adventure use their gardening and art skills to catch a criminal during Día de los Muertos, in the first book of the Lou Lou and Pea series! Lou Lou Bombay and Peacock Pearl have been best friends since first grade. Every Friday afternoon, they get together in Lou Lou’s backyard garden for their PSPP (Post-School Pre-Parents) tea party. They chat about school, discuss Pea’s latest fashions, and plot the weekend’s activities. But all plans go out the window when a series of small crimes crop up around El Corazón, their quaint and quirky neighborhood, right before the Día de Los Muertos procession. First, Pea’s cousin’s quinceañera dress is tragically ruined. Then Lou Lou’s beloved camellia bush, Pinky, suffers a serious blow. And that’s just the beginning! When clues start to appear in El Corazón’s outdoor murals, the best friends join forces, using Lou Lou’s floral expertise and Pea’s artistic genius to solve the mysteries. Accented by Lesley Vamos’s spirited black-and-white illustrations, Jill Diamond’s debut is a delightful introduction to two very creative best friends and their unforgettable adventures! Backmatter includes a recipe, crafting activity, and glossary of Spanish terms. “Lou Lou and Pea are likable heroines and the cast of multicultural characters and Latino-themed festivities broaden the accessibility. . . . This is a pleasant, breezy friendship tale for middle grade readers who also enjoy a light mystery.” —School Library Journal

  2. Making the Band - Maddie, Bella, Emily, and Sam create rock star–worthy instruments with found objects in this second book in the brand-new Craftily Ever After chapter book series! Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives. In the second Craftily Ever After book, there’s a talent show at school and for the first time, Maddie, Bella, Emily, and Sam can’t think of anything to do. That is, until an old tin can and some plastic tubing give them a musical idea! With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Craftily Ever After chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

Books About Art and New York

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Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee!
Written by Andrea J Loney & illustrated by Keith Mallett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

James Van Der Zee was just a young boy when he saved enough money to buy his first camera. He took photos of his family, classmates, and anyone who would sit still for a portrait. By the fifth grade, James was the school photographer and unofficial town photographer. Eventually he outgrew his small town and moved to the exciting, fast-paced world of New York City. After being told by his boss that no one would want his or her photo taken -by a black man, - James opened his own portrait studio in Harlem. He took photographs of legendary figures of the Harlem Renaissance–politicians such as Marcus Garvey, performers including Florence Mills, Bill -Bojangles- Robinson, and Mamie Smith–and ordinary folks in the neighborhood too. Everyone wanted fancy portraits by James Van Der Zee. Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award, Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee! tells the story of a groundbreaking artist who chronicled an important era in Harlem and showed the beauty and pride of its people.

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Radiant Child
Written & illustrated by Javaka Steptoe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A visually stunning picture book biography about modern art phenomenon Jean-Michel Basquiat, written and illustrated by Coretta Scott King Award winner Javaka Steptoe. Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art work had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message and art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean–and definitely not inside the lines–to be beautiful.

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Sector 7
Written by David Wiesner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A 2000 Caldecott Honor Book

Only the person who gave us Tuesday could have devised this fantastic Caldecott Honor-winning tale, which begins with a school trip to the Empire State Building. There a boy makes friends with a mischievous little cloud, who whisks him away to the Cloud Dispatch Center for Sector 7 (the region that includes New York City). The clouds are bored with their everyday shapes, so the boy obligingly starts to sketch some new ones. . . . The wordless yet eloquent account of this unparalleled adventure is a funny, touching story about art, friendship, and the weather, as well as a visual tour de force.

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  1. Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty - A celebration of our nation's melting pot, this beautifully illustrated origin story of the Statue of Liberty honors a poet who has advocated for the voiceless.

  2. The inside-outside book of New York City - Captioned illustrations depict noted sights in New York City, including the American Museum of Natural History, Statue of Liberty, subway at Times Square, and New York Zoological Park. Includes a section of text in the back of the book providing information on each sight.

  3. All the Greys on Greene Street - SoHo, 1981. Twelve-year-old Olympia is an artist–and in her neighborhood, that’s normal. Her dad and his business partner Apollo bring antique paintings back to life, while her mother makes intricate sculptures in a corner of their loft, leaving Ollie to roam the streets of New York with her best friends Richard and Alex, drawing everything that catches her eye. Then everything falls apart. Ollie’s dad disappears in the middle of the night, leaving her only a cryptic note and instructions to destroy it. Her mom has gone to bed, and she’s not getting up. Apollo is hiding something, Alex is acting strange, and Richard has questions about the mysterious stranger he saw outside. And someone keeps calling, looking for a missing piece of art. . . . Olympia knows her dad is the key–but first, she has to find him, and time is running out.

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