Best Kids Books About Artists

35 Kids 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.

Polka Dot Parade book
#9
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.

The Magical Ice Palace book
#10
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
#11
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
#12
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.

Draw! book
#13
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
#14
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.

Isabella, Artist Extraordinaire book
#15
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!

Crafty Llama book
#16
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.

Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of the Arts book
#17
Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of the Arts
Written by Bob Cooper and illustrated by Greg Paprocki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of the Arts is a great way to encourage kids' interests in all manner of artistic pursuits that they might aspire to. This volume introduces children to the many different types of creative fields in the arts including drawing and painting, music and dance, writing, design, architecture, and photography."--Publisher's description.

Arty book
#18
Arty
Written and illustrated by William Bee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Join Arty the frog and find out how he became the world's greatest artist! As Arty creates a series of record-setting masterpieces, he ends up in some strange and funny situations, from balancing on a stepladder at the top of Mount Everest to being strapped to the wing of a supersonic plane. Kids will laugh at Arty's antics . . . and feel inspired, too.

JIMI: Sounds Like a Rainbow - A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix book
#19
JIMI: Sounds Like a Rainbow - A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix
Written by Gary Golio and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Jimi Hendrix was many things - a superstar, a rebel, a hero, an innovator. But first, he was a boy named Jimmy who loved to draw and paint and listen to records. A boy who played air guitar with a broomstick and longed for a real guitar of his own. A boy who asked himself a question: Could someone paint pictures with sound? This a story of a talented child who learns to see, hear, and interpret the world around him in his own unique way. It is also a story of a determined kid with a vision, who worked hard to become a devoted and masterful artist. Jimi Hendrix - a groundbreaking performer whose music shook the very foundations of rock 'n' roll.

Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee! book
#20
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
#21
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.

Anywhere Artist book
#22
Anywhere Artist
Written and illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-10

Anyone can make art anywhere, anytime, with anything! Follow a young artist as she moves through a number of natural environments, creating gorgeous artworks along the way from natural materials. Stunning hand-crafted illustrations with handlettered text. An ideal springboard for your own creations!

Leonardo Da Vinci book
#23
Leonardo Da Vinci
Written by Isabel Muñoz and illustrated by Jane Kent
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Why could Leonardo da Vinci paint the human form so accurately, in all its beauty? How was he educated and trained as an artist? What inspired his most famous work, including The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa? And what fun machine did he invent? Find out about this unique artist and the many areas, from architecture to flight, he drew on and influenced.

Clackety Track book
#24
Clackety Track
Written by Skila Brown and illustrated by Jamey Christoph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Queue up for a whistle-stop tour of trains of all kinds, narrated in lively verse and featuring dynamic retro artwork. Rows of grooves, cables, and bars. Graffiti rockin' out the cars. A badge of rust. A proud oil stain. There's nothin' plain about a train. Trains of all shapes and sizes are coming down the track -- bullet train, sleeper train, underground train, zoo train, and more. All aboard! Skila Brown's first-class poems, as varied as the trains themselves, reflect the excitement of train travel, while Jamey Christoph's vintage-style illustrations provide a wealth of authentic detail to pore over.

Pencil's Perfect Picture book
#25
Pencil's Perfect Picture
Written by Jodi McKay and illustrated by Juliana Motzko
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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?

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