Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to art and architecture. 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 and architecture.
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.
When it comes to children’s stories about art and architecture, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler to popular sellers like Harold and the Purple Crayon to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Day the Crayons Quit.
We hope this list of kids books about art and architecture can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Harold and the Purple Crayon - 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.
Pinwheel - 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!
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - 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.
The Art of Miss Chew - 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.
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.
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.
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!
From cave paintings to Banksy, this stylish, fun, and interactive book will teach kids about 10,000 years of art history. This children’s book is the perfect stepping stone to a lifelong appreciation of art. Each major art period unfolds in a gently colored spread featuring famous artists and artworks while other spreads present specific scenes that incorporate similar details. In this book, kids will learn how the earliest artists mixed pigments; how ancient civilizations worshiped their gods; how religion drove artistic efforts in the middle ages; and scientific discoveries inspired Renaissance painters and sculptors. They’ll observe artists playing key roles in revolutions both historic and cultural and they’ll visit a modern museum to see what today’s artists are creating. Packed with endless possibilities for learning, this book offers kids a new way to engage with and understand the art they experience every day.
Vashti believes that she cannot draw, but her art teacher’s encouragement leads her to change her mind.
The Day the Crayons Quit - 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?
New Kid - 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?
Balloons Over Broadway - 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.
Ah-Ha to Zig-Zag - Presents objects from the collections of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum that reveal a great variety of approaches to design using the form of an alphabet book—from a medieval Egyptian cap for A to a twentieth-century chair for Z.
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.
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.
It’s never too early to get an A+ in architecture! Here’s a fun new board book series that introduces a wide array of nonfiction subjects to babies and toddlers. Welcome to Baby 101, where big subjects are tailored for little babies. Featuring simple words and bright and engaging illustrations, this introduction to architecture includes information about how buildings are made, featuring famous sites like the Colosseum, the Taj Mahal, and the pyramids. So don’t be late, because this is one class that babies won’t want to miss. Look for the surprise lift-the-flap ending!
Before she was an iconic First Lady of the United States, Jackie Kennedy was a born-and-raised New Yorker. She loved everything about her city, from the natural beauty of the parks to the architectural history of the buildings. So when the owners of Grand Central wanted to build a skyscraper on top of the famous train station, Jackie knew they had to be stopped. She helped inspire thousands of people to come together and fight to protect the historic landmark. From letter-writing campaigns all the way to the Supreme Court, this little-known story celebrates winning in the face of immeasurable odds and how one person can make a big difference.
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?
The Book of Mistakes - 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.
Once Upon an Alphabet - The New York Times bestselling alphabet/story book from the artist of The Day the Crayons Quit is now available in an abridged edition for the littlest learners! The perfect introduction to both the alphabet and to the world of Oliver Jeffers! This clever and funny board book from the #1 bestselling illustrator of The Day the Crayons Quit and creator of Stuck gives center stage to Oliver Jeffers’ whimsical illustrations as it helps parents and toddlers connect through learning and art. A must-have. Praise for Once Upon an Alphabet: An Amazon Best Book of 2014! A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year! A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year! “The silly, spare, slightly surreal text occasionally rhymes and endlessly surprises. An utterly delightful alphabet book.”-Kirkus Review, starred review “With wry humor, equally droll ink illustrations, and a solid dose of alliteration, Jeffers creates delightful mini-narratives for each letter of the alphabet.”-Publishers Weekly, starred review “An altogether stimulating, surprising, and satisfying reading experience.”-School Library Journal, starred review “Whimsical, funny, occasionally tragic, and highly entertaining, this collection of (sometimes) interlocking tales is brilliantly inventive.”-Horn Book, starred review “Jeffers knows how to catch the attention of his young audience while challenging their imagination, intellect and vocabulary. This whimsical exploration of letters and language begs to be read over and over again.”-BookPage “Handsome, humorous and clad in bright tomato-red, [this] is the sort of book you may want to rush into the arms of imaginative, good-natured children between 4 and 10 years old. [T]his is no traditional abecedarian exercise.The stories are wonderfully varied, sometimes philosophical and often end surprisingly; the drawings are just as quirky and unpredictable.”-The Wall Street Journal “[W]itty from A to Z . . . no one would blame you for having a copy even if there are no kids in the house. Think of it as Edward Gorey for the preschool set — and their hip parents.”-The Washington Post
The Girl and the Cathedral: The Story of Notre Dame de Paris - On an island in the Seine, a little girl plants a garden—but not a garden of flowers. It will be a garden of people, she says: Paris. And in the center of that garden will stand its guardian, a grand cathedral carved from stone and roofed with light: the majestic Notre Dame de Paris. Alas, the garden will change, as people must. The girl sees kings and revolutions, empires and democracies, wars and tragedies. The are the best of times, and there are the worst. Through it all, the light of Notre Dame keeps hope bright. But when fire strikes Notre Dame itself, the little girl is grief stricken. It seems all light has gone out—until her beloved people discover what she has planted within them all along. In the spirit of The Little Prince, The Girl and the Cathedral is a moving story about life, freedom, love, loss, and the glory of new beginnings. It is a story about Notre Dame, but much deeper, it is a story about all that Notre Dame stands for. The book includes a fold-out timeline of Notre Dame’s history with period paintings and photographs. Even better, the front cover has built-in plastic windows that shine when help up to the light! Adults and kids alike will treasure this stunning, heartwarming tribute to the cathedral of Notre Dame.
Iggy Peck, Architect - This beloved New York Times bestselling picture book is a fun-filled, inspiring story about the power of teamwork and the importance of celebrating individual gifts and self-expression. And now you can follow Iggy’s further adventures—with his friends Rosie Revere and Ada Twist—in the instant New York Times bestseller Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters, an all-new chapter book starring The Questioneers! Some kids sculpt sand castles. Some make mud pies. Some construct great block towers. But none are better at building than Iggy Peck, who once erected a life-size replica of the Great Sphinx on his front lawn! It’s too bad that few people appreciate Iggy’s talent—certainly not his second-grade teacher, Miss Lila Greer. It looks as if Iggy will have to trade in his T square for a box of crayons . . . until a fateful field trip proves just how useful a mast builder can be.
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.
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.
Strong giants Fee, Fi, Fo, and Fum build the best castles in the land with the help of brilliant designs from Knee-High Norman, but can they do it without him?
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.
Readers worldwide recognize Caldecott Medal winner David Macaulay’s imaginary Cathedral of Chutreaux. This critically acclaimed book has been translated into a dozen languages and remains a classic of children’s literature and a touchstone for budding architects. Cathedral’s numerous awards include a prestigious Caldecott Honor and designation as a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year for Macaulay’s intricate pen-and-ink illustrations. Journey back to centuries long ago and visit the fictional people of twelfth-, thirteenth-, and fourteenth-century Europe whose dreams, like Cathedral, stand the test of time.
Pyramid - Through concise text and richly detailed black and white illustrations we come to know the philosophy of life and death in ancient Egypt.
If You Lived Here - Features intricately detailed, bas-relief collage spreads of dwellings in other world regions and historical times to explain how different people live and have lived—from a village house in South Africa that tells the story of its family to a floating green house in the Netherlands. 20,000 first printing.
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.
All Marmalade wants to do is build things. She is, after all, a trained architect. She’s also a distractingly adorable kitten. Fed up with not being taken seriously because she’s so cute,Marmalade bands together with a handful of other aspiring builders—all of themkittens. But in a world where humans call the shots, can the KittenConstruction Company prove their worth . . . without giving up the very thingsthat make them kittens? (Don’t worry, dear reader, the answer is definitely”yes”!)
Profiles Lucy the elephant, in Margate, N.J., and other buildings made to look like something else, including gas stations, lodgings, restaurants, amusement parks, and offices, and discusses the future of such designs.
This fictional account of the dismantling and removal of the Empire State Building describes the structure of a skyscraper and explains how such an edifice would be demolished.
Cup on cup stacking up, smaller, smaller, and growing taller!
Children building— Concrete poetry—
Pair them with notable structures from around the world and see children’s constructions taken to the level of architectural treasures.
Here is a unique celebration of children’s playtime explorations and the surprising ways childhood experiences find expression in the dreams and works of innovative architects.
Come be inspired to play—dream—build—discover!
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