Best Children's Books About Artists

The Top 34 Books for Budding Artists

Updated Feb. 22, 2019

They say art is subjective, but they'll change their minds once they see our ultimate list of books about artists! Whether your little ones are interested in painting, dance, writing, photography, music, or more, we've gathered the best books to educate your little prodigies and help them find their muse. We're sure they're going to create many masterpieces.

“Every artist was first an amateur." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler book
#1
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Written by E.L. Konigsburg
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Having run away with her younger brother to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, twelve-year-old Claudia strives to keep things in order in their new home and to become a changed person and a heroine to herself.

A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans book
#2
A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans
Written by Joanne Ryder, Laurence Yep and illustrated by Mary Grandpre
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This humorous story of a dragon and her "pet" human takes you on an adventure with plenty of mayhem, as Winnie's sketchbook brings her drawings to life! It takes teamwork to fix the chaos Winnie accidentally created, but this story of adventure is so fun with all the humor weaved inside! You'll laugh with and love these characters.

"Crusty dragon Miss Drake has a new pet human, precocious Winnie. Oddly enough, Winnie seems to think Miss Drake is her pet-a ridiculous notion! Unknown to most of its inhabitants, the City by the Bay is home to many mysterious and fantastic creatures, hidden beneath the parks, among the clouds, and even in plain sight. And Winnie wants to draw every new creature she encounters- the good, the bad, and the ugly. But Winnie's sketchbook is not what it seems. Somehow, her sketchlings have been set loose on the city streets! It will take Winnie and Miss Drake's combined efforts to put an end to the mayhemabefore it's too late. This refreshing debut collaboration by Laurence Yep, a two-time Newbery Honor winner and a Laura Ingalls Wilder Award winner, and Joanne Ryder features illustrations by Mary GrandPrU. Praise for A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans *oWarm humor, magical mishaps, and the main characters' budding mutual respect and affection combine to give this opener for a planned series a special shine.o uBooklist, Starred oAternately comical, suspenseful and sometimes sweetly emotional.o uKirkus ReviewsoWith a black-and-wh

The Trumpet of the Swan book
#3
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?

The Art of Miss Chew book
#4
The Art of Miss Chew
Written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Patricia Polacco's signature illustration style vividly tells this emotional story based on her own childhood and her own start as an artist. I love the personal attention and care both Mr. Donovan and Miss Chew give her in helping her overcome her struggles with reading and also excel at her passion—art.

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.

The Dot book
#5
The Dot
Written and illustrated by Peter H Reynolds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

All about a little girl's journey to discover her artistic talent but more especially her self-confidence! I love that after a little encouragement from her very wise and positive teacher, she takes it upon herself to pass along the lesson she learned to a little boy in her same predicament.

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

Claudia & Moth book
#6
Claudia & Moth
Written and 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.

The Magical Life of Mr. Renny book
#7
The Magical Life of Mr. Renny
Written and 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.

The Art Lesson book
#8
The Art Lesson
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Having learned to be creative in drawing pictures at home, young Tommy is dismayed when he goes to school and finds the art lesson there much more regimented.

The Night Gardener book
#9
The Night Gardener
Written and illustrated by Eric Fan, Terry Fan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Everyone on Grimloch Lane enjoys the trees and shrubs clipped into animal masterpieces after dark by the Night Gardener, but William, a lonely boy, spots the artist, follows him, and helps with his special work.

If Picasso Painted a Snowman book
#10
If Picasso Painted a Snowman
Written by Amy Newbold and illustrated by Greg Newbold
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-11
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This was a great introduction to a host of very famous painters in an approachable and entirely enjoyable way, demonstrating what a snowman might look like in each of their signature styles!

Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Such a fun book showing how all artists have different styles. It walks through famous painters and what their snowmen might look like. I love this introduction to famous artists and their styles! It's also super fun that there's a blank canvas at the end for you to copy and create your own snowman with your own style.

-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....-

Coco Chanel book
#11
Coco Chanel
Written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara and illustrated by Ana Albero
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I think this darling board book is a great introduction to Coco Chanel. I love that it talks about her being herself and living her dreams. It also does a good job of telling the story of her journey to becoming a fashion designer.

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!

Willow book
#12
Willow
Written by Rosemarie Brennan, Denise Brennan-Nelson and illustrated by Cyd Moore
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This book is a reminder that sometimes it's not the teachers who always have a profound impact on the students... sometimes it's the other way around. Willow's positivity, kindness and resilience despite continuous criticism from her art teacher allow her to break down barriers and touch her teacher's heart, changing her for the better. The illustrations are bright and just the right amount messy... just like Willow herself.

In Miss Hawthorn's art class, neatness, conformity, and imitation are encouraged, but when Willow brings imagination and creativity to her projects, even straight-laced Miss Hawthorn is influenced.

Foodie Babies Wear Bibs book
#13
Foodie Babies Wear Bibs
Written by Michelle Sinclair Colman and illustrated by Nathalie Dion
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from Grammy

This is a darling book about the realities of feeding and eating with babies, from preparation to sharing, with an especially tasty ending!

The sixth book of the Urban Babies board book series finds Foodie Babies browsing the farmers' market and dining with their favorite finger foods.

I Can Dance book
#14
I Can Dance
Written and illustrated by Betsy Snyder
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

While the cover might be classified as "girly" by some (don't get me started on the boy books/girl books discussion!), the inside is packed with examples of all types of dance (disco, gymnastics, break-dancing, synchronized swimming, and tap dancing) being executed by both little boy and little girl dancers, so there's plenty of gender diversity going on. The holes for sticking your fingers through to be the dancers legs on each page are fun, both at the baby stage where they try to grab your fingers and giggle as you wiggle them around and as munchkins get older and can do it themselves. The verdict—cute interactive book for getting some of the wiggles out!

Readers make dancers disco, tap, or pirouette just by wiggling their fingers. But wait! There's even more fun. In an impressive gatefold finale, readers use two sets of hands to help the dancers perform an encore. With interactive holes on every page and a satisfying touch-and-feel cover, this charming board book is the perfect way to play and read together.

Henri's Scissors book
#15
Henri's Scissors
Written and 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.

Art Barn (Noah's Park) book
#16
Art Barn (Noah's Park)
Written and illustrated by Sam Williams
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Welcome to Noah’s Park! From celebrated author and illustrator Sam Williams comes a brand-new board book series for preschoolers about a group of cute, cuddly critters who meet each day for a new adventure. In this first book, it’s time to paint at the Art Barn! A sweet board book series with irresistible art, this book is perfect for preschoolers looking to see their own first experiences mirrored with these new friends.

Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee! book
#17
Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee!
Written by Andrea J Loney and 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.

Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing book
#18
Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing
Written by Kay Haring and illustrated by Robert Neubecker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

Viva Frida book
#19
Viva Frida
Written by Yuyi Morales and illustrated by Tim O'Meara
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Bilingual text, accompanied by colorful photographs, explores the famous artist's life, and illuminates the laughter, love, and tragedy that influenced her work.

Rabbityness book
#20
Rabbityness
Written and illustrated by Jo Empson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Tells the story of a rabbit whose love of music and art inspires other rabbits even after he disappears.

The Life of/ La Vida De Selena book
#21
The Life of/ La Vida De Selena
Written and illustrated by Ariana Stein, Patty Rodriguez
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A Lil' Libros Bilingual Biography Selena's career started at a young age when she became lead singer in her family's band, Selena Y Los Dinos. She went on to become an award-winning artist with albums like Amor Prohibido and Selena Live, and earned the title "Queen of Tejano Music." Your little one will learn that Selena's favorite food was pizza and that the most important people in the world to her were her familiaand fans.

I Am Jim Henson book
#22
I Am Jim Henson
Written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This volume focuses on Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets and Sesame Street.

Wild Bios: Frida Catlo book
#23
Wild Bios: Frida Catlo
Written by Maggie Fischer, Courtney Acampora and illustrated by Lindsay Dale-Scott
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Frida Catlo was one purr-fect painter! Meet one of history’s greatest figures in this adorable board book with an animal twist! Famous Meowxican painter Frida Catlo was a pioneer for female artists. She always painted from the heart, even in the face of health problems and personal struggles. With hilarious puns and colorful illustrations, this book brings Frida’s legacy to life for babies and parents alike!

Kid Artists book
#24
Kid Artists
Written by David Stabler and illustrated by Doogie Horner
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

"The series that began with Kid Presidents and Kid Athletes has a new volume that chronicles the childhoods of 16 celebrated artists-everyone from Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh to Mary Cassat, Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and even Dr. Seuss! Readers will learn- A Georgia O'Keeffe was so enthralled by nature that she once ate dirt just to see what it tasted like. A Jackson Pollock lost the top of his right index finger in a childhood accident (and the severed tip was eaten by a rooster!). A Andy Warhol's favorite childhood lunch was-what else?-a bowl of Campbell's tomato soup. Every scribble, sketch, and sticky situation comes to life in these kid-friendly and relatable stories, all with Doogie Horner's trademark whimsical illustrations. Kid Artists is a delight for budding artists and eager readers alike."

Draw! book
#25
Draw!
Written and illustrated by Raul Colon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.