Best Children's Books About Artists

50 Children's Books About Artists

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
The Dot book
#1
The Dot
Written and 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.

Cloth Lullaby book
#2
Cloth Lullaby
Written by Amy Novesky and 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.

Rosa's Animals book
#3
Rosa's Animals
Written and illustrated by Maryann Macdonald
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

Victor and Hugo book
#4
Victor and Hugo
Written and illustrated by Robert Blake
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

From the creator of beloved stories about dogs–their bravery, loyalty, and companionship–comes a celebration of music, friendship, Paris, and puppies set against an exquisitely illustrated Parisian backdrop! On a beautiful bridge in Paris, performing dogs Victor and Hugo dance and sing as their Maestro plays his music. But when Maestro’s accordion falls over the side of the bridge and onto a barge, the music stops—not only for Maestro, but for everyone! Victor and Hugo must rescue the accordion, and as they chase after it, they know that saving the accordion for their Maestro will mean saving music for the entire city as well. In this rollicking adventure through Paris, Victor and Hugo show us that friendship and music can combine to create the greatest magic of all.

A Poem for Peter book
#5
A Poem for Peter
Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Lou Fancher, Steve Johnson
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.

Keith Haring book
#6
Keith Haring
Written and illustrated by Kay Haring
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.

Duck Gets a Job book
#7
Duck Gets a Job
Written and illustrated by Sonny Ross
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A career-minded duck conveys an important message about finding your own way in this funny, quirky story. Duck wants a job. All his friends have jobs in the city, and they never stop talking about them. Duck doesn't think a job in the city sounds very exciting, but he decides to try it -- and it's not long before he discovers that it is not for him! He knows he needs to follow his heart and pursue his dream of being an artist. And when he does, he realizes he's found a job that he truly loves.

The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell book
#8
The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell
Written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Gerard DuBois
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Joey Cornell collected everything — anything that sparked his imagination or delighted his eye. His collection grew and grew until he realized that certain pieces just looked right together. He assembled his doodads to create wonderful, magical creations out of once ordinary objects. Perfect for introducing art to kids, here’s an imaginative and engaging book based on the childhood of great American artist Joseph Cornell, told by master picture book author Candace Fleming and lauded illustrator Gérard DuBois.

The Art of Keeping Cool book
#9
The Art of Keeping Cool
Written and illustrated by Janet Taylor Lisle
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Fear permeates the Rhode Island coastal town where Robert, his mother, and sister are living out the war with his paternal grandparents: Fear of Nazi submarines offshore. Fear of Abel Hoffman, a German artist living reclusively outside of town. And for Robert, a more personal fear, of his hot-tempered, controlling grandfather. As Robert watches the townspeople's hostility toward Hoffman build, he worries about his sensitive cousin Elliot's friendship with the artist. And he wonders more and more about the family secret everyone seems to be keeping from him—a secret involving Robert's father, a bomber pilot in Europe. Will Elliot's ability to detach himself from the turmoil around him be enough to sustain him when prejudice and suspicions erupt into violence? And can Robert find his own way to deal with the shocking truth about his family's past?

Polka Dot Parade book
#10
Polka Dot Parade
Written by Deborah Blumenthal and illustrated by Masha D'yans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"Beautifully rendered and told, the book brings to life the work of a gifted 20th-century artist whose creative vision will always be in vogue." Kirkus Reviews, Starred review This is a moving and impassioned picture book about the iconic fashion photographer Bill Cunningham that will inspire young readers to go discover their own ideas of beauty and embolden the world with their own creativity! He found "sheer poetry" in the drape of an evening dress, delight in the swoosh of a knife-pleated skirt, and sartorial splendor in Jazz Age garb. Every day, Bill Cunningham pedaled his bike through New York City searching for beauty. As he took picture after picture, Bill found beauty not in people, but in their clothes. Drawn to bold and creative choices, Bill's photos captured the attention of the New York Times. He traveled to Paris for Fashion Week, and admiration for his work grew. With his sense of creativity and daringness, his own personal style of photography came to be known as street art photography. His photos left a lasting impression on all those who came across his work and they continue to inspire creativity today. This is the story of the legend who created street fashion photography and left behind a legacy of glorious pictures. Bill Cunningham used his passion and talent to capture the beauty he saw in fashion and the ultimate freedom that it represents to each and every person. This is an inspiring picture book about finding your path and being creative.

Our  Story  Begins book
#11
Our Story Begins
Written and illustrated by Elissa Brent Weissman
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From award-winning author Elissa Brent Weissman comes a collection of quirky, smart, and vulnerable childhood works by some of today’s foremost children’s authors and illustrators—revealing young talent, the storytellers they would one day become, and the creativity they inspire today.Everyone’s story begins somewhere...For Linda Sue Park, it was a trip to the ocean, a brand-new typewriter, and a little creative license. For Jarrett J. Krosoczka, it was a third grade writing assignment that ignited a creative fire in a kid who liked to draw. For Kwame Alexander, it was a loving poem composed for Mother’s Day—and perfected through draft after discarded draft. For others, it was a teacher, a parent, a beloved book, a word of encouragement. It was trying, and failing, and trying again. It was a love of words, and pictures, and stories.Your story is beginning, too. Where will it go?

The Magical Ice Palace book
#12
The Magical Ice Palace
Written by Lindsay Taylor, Suzanne Smith and illustrated by Marnie Maurri
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-99

Doodle Girl uses her magic pencil to create adventures by transforming doodles into fantastical lands, full of amazing animals! On their latest outing, Doodle Girl and her friends find a curly, curvy shape. What is it supposed to be? While trying to work it out, they find a sad, lonely mammoth high up on a mountain. What’s he doing there? Will Doodle Girl be able to help him? And what is the curly curvy shape going to be? Find out in this gorgeous picture book that inspires creativity and fun—and includes a giant, free doodling poster and stickers.

I Am Jim Henson book
#13
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.

The Night Gardener book
#14
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.

My Life in Pictures book
#15
My Life in Pictures
Written and illustrated by Deborah Zemke
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Bea Garcia is an artist. She draws anywhere and everywhere—but mostly in her own notebook. When Bea’s first and only best friend Yvonne moves to Australia, not even drawing makes Bea feel better. And things only get worse when a loud, rambunctious boy moves in next door. He’s nothing at all like Yvonne! But with a little imagination and a whole lot of doodles, Bea Garcia might just make a new friend.

Draw! book
#16
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.

Imogen book
#17
Imogen
Written by Amy Novesky and illustrated by Lisa Congdon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Introduces the life and achievements of twentieth-century photographer Imogen Cunningham, describing her first darkroom experiments during childhood and the challenges she faced as a mother of three boys.

Dear Hank Williams book
#18
Dear Hank Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

It's 1948 in Rippling Creek, Louisiana, and Tate P. Ellerbee's new teacher has just given her class an assignment—learning the art of letter-writing. Luckily, Tate has the perfect pen pal in mind: Hank Williams, a country music singer whose star has just begun to rise. Tate and her great-aunt and -uncle listen to him on the radio every Saturday night, and Tate just knows that she and Hank are kindred spirits. Told entirely through Tate's hopeful letters, this beautifully drawn novel from National Book Award–winning author Kimberly Willis Holt gradually unfolds a story of family love, overcoming tragedy, and an insightful girl learning to find her voice.

Rebel Genius book
#19
Rebel Genius
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A new fantasy-adventure series from the co-creator of the hit animated shows Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra! In twelve-year-old Giacomo's Renaissance-inspired world, art is powerful, dangerous, and outlawed. A few artists possess Geniuses, birdlike creatures that are the living embodiment of an artist's creative spirit. Those caught with one face a punishment akin to death, so when Giacomo discovers he has a Genius, he knows he's in serious trouble. Luckily, he finds safety in a secret studio where young artists and their Geniuses train in sacred geometry to channel their creative energies as weapons. But when a murderous artist goes after the three Sacred Tools--objects that would allow him to destroy the world and everyone in his path--Giacomo and his friends must risk their lives to stop him. “DiMartino masterfully weaves a thrilling action-adventure epic into an imaginative and terrifying world.” —Bryan Konietzko, co-creator of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra "Rebel Genius is a natural extension of Michael Dante DiMartino's work on Avatar: The Last Airbender: charming young heroes, magical creatures, an innovative magic system, and mysteries galore. There is so much to love about this book!" —Gene Yang, National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and author of American Born Chinese "DiMartino delivers a magical take on the power of art. With a cast that will charm you and an innovative new world to get lost in, Rebel Genius is a gift for fantasy lovers and a treasure for anyone who has ever tried to pick up a brush or a pen and make something new. A lively, thrilling spin on the struggle to create.”—Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha trilogy and the Six of Crows series “Rebel Genius contains all of Mike DiMartino's hallmarks: an exquisite world dripping with magic and color, a cast of incredible, diverse characters, and artwork that will take your breath away. Get ready to fall in love." —Marie Lu, author of the Legend trilogy and the Young Elites trilogy

Warrior Genius book
#20
Warrior Genius
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In Book 2 of this breathtakingly action-packed series, warriors clash in an ultimate face-off between enemy empires, but both sides share an equal enemy--Giacomo. Giacomo, his fellow artists, and their wise old teacher are on the run after a showdown with Nerezza, the emperor of Zizzola, who has vowed to hunt them down and destroy them and their precious Geniuses. In a desperate attempt to escape, they transport themselves to Rachana, a South Asian-inspired world where it's the most powerful warriors, not artists, who possess Geniuses. The power-hungry Rachanan leader is more than happy to have Giacomo and his team--he's eager to find the next Sacred Tool, the Straightedge, and believes it's hidden somewhere in his empire. Meanwhile, Nerezza has devised a plan to control Giacomo and bend him to her will. But first she'll have to start an all-out war to get to him.

Lucky Break book
#21
Lucky Break
Written and illustrated by Marty Kelley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

When Molly Mac loses her "lucky" pencil, she starts to panic. She needs her pencil to create a drawing for the school's art show. Just when her luck is running out, things get even worse. Will Molly be able to enter the art contest? She needs good luck, and fast!

Isabella, Artist Extraordinaire book
#22
Isabella, Artist Extraordinaire
Written by Jennifer Fosberry and illustrated by Mike Litwin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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!

If Everything Were Pink book
#23
If Everything Were Pink
Written by Hannah Eliot and illustrated by Lalalimola
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Does pink make your world go ’round? From a bubblegum-hued cow to a flamingo-colored submarine, this tabbed board book features the many shades of pink! If everything were pink, a pink cow would blow pink bubblegum, pink jewelry-wearing bumblebees would buzz around pink roses, and a pink submarine would carry pink passengers! From bubblegum to ballet, rose to petunia, this book is a celebration of color. Each shade gets its very own tab on this novelty board book, and readers will love using their imagination as they explore the world of pink.

Crafty Llama book
#24
Crafty Llama
Written by Mike Kerr and illustrated by Renata Liwska
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Llama loves to make things. It doesn't matter what, really--something special, something lovely. Beaver loves to make things, too. But he likes things to be useful. On this lovely day, Llama is inspired. She is having fun making things, like gifts for her friends. And soon many of her friends are inspired right along with her. But Beaver needs to think about what Llama and the other animals are making. What useful thing can he do with this day? With lots of craftiness and fun, this is a delightful story about how something lovely can be useful, too, and how the best gifts are the ones that bring us together.

The Life of/ La Vida De Selena book
#25
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.

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