As a parent and art teacher, I’ve grown to love children’s literature. I’ve spent many, MANY hours cozied up on the couch reading picture books with my son, and I also love to connect art projects to books. We take weekly trips to the library, and I’m always finding new treasures. Today, I’m going to share with you a few picture books that I find particularly inspiring for art-making. Reading them aloud encourages my own artistic soul, and I hope my students feel inspired as well.
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Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzber
This book holds a special place in my heart. I first encountered it when I was student teaching back in 2011. My mentor teacher would always read it to her elementary aged students at the beginning of the school year.I think it sets such a great tone for the art room — and for life! Any oops can turn be turned into something beautiful. I love being able to use that vocabulary with my students — and myself — “Let’s turn it into a beautiful oops!”
It’s Okay by Shiow-Miin Thai
This book is a similar theme to Beautiful Oops. In it, a child’s drawing keeps turning out in ways the little artist doesn’t intend, but his mom encourages him that it’s okay, and the art takes new directions. Our artworks rarely turn out just like we imagine, but it’s ok, it can become something we new!
How to Spot and Artist by Danielle Krysa
This book is one of my new favorites. I recently found it at the library and just loved the message and charming illustrations. It’s emphasizes how artists can come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. And speaks to how all artists deal with “art bullies”, or discouraging thoughts and words about their artwork. And the solution? Make even more art! Which reminds me of one of my favorites quotes: “Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” -Andy Warhol
Ish by Peter H Reynolds
This picture book is one of many that Peter Reynolds has written that speak to the creative process. It’s about a young artist who discovers the freedom to live “ishfully.” In other words, to ditch striving for perfection and just make stuff! We’re not robots, we’re artists. I honestly have to remind myself of this a lot when drawing.
I love discovering new picture books. If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them!
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