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Painting: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about painting?

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

Our list includes board books and picture 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. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about painting, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Willow to popular sellers like Viva Frida to some of our favorite hidden gems like Sky Color.

We hope this list of kids books about painting 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.

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My Big Book of the World's Greatest Art
Written & illustrated by Louise Lockhart
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
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.
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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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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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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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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.
If Picasso Painted a Snowman book
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Willow book
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Hi, I’m Norman: The Story of American Illustrator Norman Rockwell book
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Louise Loves Art book
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  • If Picasso Painted a Snowman - -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….-

  • Willow - 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.

  • Hi, I’m Norman: The Story of American Illustrator Norman Rockwell - “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.

  • Louise Loves Art - 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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Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring
Written by Matthew Burgess & illustrated by Josh Cochran
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-14
_I would love to be a teacher because I love children and I think that not enough people respect children or understand how important they are. I have done many projects with children of all ages. --Keith Haring_ From Matthew Burgess, the much-acclaimed author of _Enormous Smallness_, comes _Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring_. Often seen drawing in white chalk on the matte black paper of unused advertising space in the subway, Haring's iconic pop art and graffiti-like style transformed the New York City underground in the 1980s. A member of the LGBTQ community, Haring died tragically at the age of thirty-one from AIDS-related complications. Illustrated in paint by Josh Cochran, himself a specialist in bright, dense, conceptual drawings, this honest, celebratory book honors Haring's life and art, along with his very special connection with kids.
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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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Can Cat and Bird Be Friends?
Written & illustrated by Coll Muir
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Cats and birds can’t be friends! They have absolutely nothing in common. After all, cats are supposed to eat birds, not play with them! But there’s something special about this prey-and-predator pair…and they may just find that it’s our differences that bring us closer together. In a delightful picture book filled with pleasing banter and hilarious quips, rising talent Coll Muir creates the perfect unlikely friendship between unexpected creatures. Perfect for fans of Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back, This Is Not My Hat, and We Found a Hat.
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Play with Paint!
Written & illustrated by Jenny Pinkerton
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3
<b>When it comes to painting, there are so many possibilities! Mix colors, swish your brush around, and see what sorts of marks you can make with just your hand and a bit of paint in this adorable board book!</b> <p/>Creative play meets self-expression in this board book perfect for budding-artist babies!
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Samuel Morse, That's Who!
Written by Tracy Nelson Maurer & illustrated by El Primo Ramón
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Back in the 1800s, information traveled slowly. Who would dream of instant messages? Samuel Morse, that’s who! Who traveled to France, where the famous telegraph towers relayed 10,000 possible codes for messages depending on the signal arm positions—only if the weather was clear? Who imagined a system that would use electric pulses to instantly carry coded messages between two machines, rain or shine? Long before the first telephone, who changed communication forever? Samuel Morse, that’s who! This dynamic and subtsantive biography celebrates an early technology pioneer. Perfect for fans of Gene Barretta's popular inventor series.
Crocodali book
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Portrait of an Artist: Claude Monet: Discover the Artist Behind the Masterpieces book
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A Paintbrush for Paco book
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Isabella, Artist Extraordinaire book
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  • 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.

  • Portrait of an Artist: Claude Monet: Discover the Artist Behind the Masterpieces - A beautifully told art story for children, looking at Claude Monet’s life through his masterpieces. Accompanied by stunning original illustrations from Caroline Bonne-Muller.  â??â??â??â??â?? - The Portrait of an Artist series is an excellent introduction to art and its importance to our world. Claude Monet is one of the best loved artists of all time. Find out how this special young painter strove to capture light and feeling in his paintings and how together with a group of talented friends, he came to start the most famous art movement of all time, Impressionism. In his long life he experienced war and heartbreak, love and the joy of family. See how his life shaped each piece of art he made and that throughout it all he never stopped trying to paint the ever changing light and glimmering water. In the end he built himself a garden filled with both, with waterlilies floating on dappled ponds setting the scene for his last, infamous masterpieces.  A Monet masterpiece is featured on every spread. This art story also includes a closer look at 10 of Monet’s masterpieces at the back.

  • A Paintbrush for Paco - 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!

  • 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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The Colors of History
Written & illustrated by Clive Gifford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
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.
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Dancing Through Fields of Color
Written by Elizabeth Brown & illustrated by Aimee Sicuro
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
They said only men could paint powerful pictures, but Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) splashed her way through the modern art world. Channeling deep emotion, Helen poured paint onto her canvas and danced with the colors to make art unlike anything anyone had ever seen. She used unique tools like mops and squeegees to push the paint around, to dazzling effects. Frankenthaler became an originator of the influential "Color Field" style of abstract expressionist painting with her "soak stain" technique, and her artwork continues to electrify new generations of artists today. Dancing Through Fields of Color discusses Frankenthaler's early life, how she used colors to express emotion, and how she overcame the male-dominated art world of the 1950s.
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An Artist
Written by M. B. Goffstein
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6
Briefly explains how the artist tries to recreate God's world using his paints.
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Carmine: A Little More Red
Written & illustrated by Melissa Sweet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
And, as Carmine takes off on her bicycle with Rufus, that is just what she intends to do. But Carmine is a dreamy painter, always in search of capturing just the right hue in her drawings, and this drawing—the one she begins in a lovely forest clearing just off the path to Granny’s—must be her best yet. Here is a new, lively retelling of a timeless tale with enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the very end.
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Viva Frida
Written by Yuyi Morales & 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.
Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood book
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Rosa's Animals book
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Li'l Sis & Uncle Willie book
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Yasmin the Painter book
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  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Li'l Sis & Uncle Willie - Surveys the life of African-American artist William H. Johnson as his young niece might have told it. The artist’s paintings provide the illustrations.

  • Yasmin the Painter - Unsure about her artistic skills, second-grader Yasmin is not looking forward to the art competition at school—but with the support and encouragement of her family she produces a prize-winning painting.

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Edward Hopper Paints His World
Written by Robert Burleigh & illustrated by Wendell Minor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9
As a boy, Edward Hopper knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up: on the cover of his pencil box, he wrote the words EDWARD HOPPER, WOULD-BE ARTIST. He traveled to New York and to Paris to hone his craft. And even though no one wanted to buy his paintings for a long time, he never stopped believing in his dream to be an artist. He was fascinated with painting light and shadow and his works explore this challenge.
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Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos
Written by Monica Brown & illustrated by John Parra
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra, is based on the life of one of the world's most influential painters, Frida Kahlo, and the animals that inspired her art and life. The fascinating Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is remembered for her self-portraits, her dramatic works featuring bold and vibrant colors. Her work brought attention to Mexican and indigenous culture and she is also renowned for her works celebrating the female form. Brown's story recounts Frida's beloved pets—two monkeys, a parrot, three dogs, two turkeys, an eagle, a black cat, and a fawn—and playfully considers how Frida embodied many wonderful characteristics of each animal.
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Out of This World
Written by Michelle Markel & illustrated by Amanda Hall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A gorgeously illustrated picture book biography about the fascinating life of surrealist artist Leonora Carrington, from Michelle Markel and Amanda Hall, the acclaimed team behind The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau. Ever since she was a little girl, Leonora Carrington loved to draw on walls, in books, on paper—and she loved the fantastic tales her grandmother told that took her to worlds that shimmered beyond this one, where legends became real. Leonora’s parents wanted her to become a proper English lady, but there was only one thing she wanted, even if it was unsuitable: to be an artist. In London, she discovered a group of artists called surrealists, who were stunning the world with their mysterious creations. This was the kind of art she had to make. This was the kind of person she had to be. From life in Paris creating art alongside Max Ernst, to Mexico where she met Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Leonora’s life became intertwined with powerful events and people that shaped the twentieth century. Out of This World is the powerful, stunningly told story of Leonora Carrington, a girl who made art out of her imagination and created some of the most enigmatic and startling works of the last eighty years.
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Stanley's Paint Box
Written & illustrated by William Bee
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
It’s another busy day with Stanley and friends! Stanley brings his paint box to paint a colorful castle with Little Woo, Sophie, and Benjamin. There’s red paint and blue paint and yellow paint and white paint. But what about the other colors? An early introduction to painting tools and art media, this board book is great for teaching primary and secondary colors.
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Princess Arabella Mixes Colors
Written & illustrated by Mylo Freeman
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
The latest book about the popular little Princess Arabella, with fun information about mixing colors.
One Boy book
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John James Audubon Painted Birds book
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Isabella book
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  • One Boy - This die-cut book explores two (!) concepts: counting and words-within-words, while also telling a satisfying story about the power of art and imagination in one child’s life. ONE boy all alONE two SEAls in the SEA three APEs no escAPE four monKEYs hold the KEY A boy appears on the scene surrounded by empty chairs and looking awfully lonely. He’s got a backpack with a few splattered brushes hanging out. Suddenly, the pages of this book are filled with seals, apes, monkeys, and more. Brilliantly simple, and simply brilliant. T One Boy is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year. This title has Common Core connections.

  • John James Audubon Painted Birds - Introduce your baby to the stunning artwork of famous naturalist John James Audubon. John James Audubon was an ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He is known for his stunning illustrations and paintings of North American birds in their natural habitats, painting over 700 species discovering 25 new kinds of birds during his lifetime. John James Audubon Painted Birds shares his legacy and his love of nature with budding bird-watchers through a clever poem and gorgeous illustrations. As Audubon said, “the world is not given by [our] fathers, but borrowed from [our] children.” Kate Coombs has written several books for children, including the award winning poetry collection Water Sings Blue and most recently Goodnight Mr. Darcy. A former teacher of every grade from kindergarten through college, Kate makes her home in Utah. Seth Lucas is an illustrator and designer with a BFA in graphic design. He is the co-creator of Ello There Outdoors selling prints and accessories supporting the National Parks and outdoors. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with his wife and daughter.

  • Isabella - The purple-haired star of the New York Times bestselling picture book series is back, and her imagination is turning her life into a wondrous work of art! 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 Degas’ Dancers in Blue 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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