I love pairing children’s books with art projects. I have quite the collection of books that I use in my classes for kids. The books I collect are all art related books, and there are so many to choose from. Below you will find a list of 10 of my all time favorites that I use frequently. Next to each post I will discuss some fun projects that could be presented with the book. If I have a related post about the project I will link it as well. At the end of the post I will have a video of me reading one of the books with a project tutorial. I will also link to a few other such videos.
“Swatch, The Girl Who Loved Color” by Julia Denos is one of my favorite books to use in my classes. This book is a beautiful story about a little girl who loves color so much she decides to capture them and collect them, only to find out that colors are meant to be free.
I have paired this book with several different projects in the past. Any color play project pairs nicely, I love exploring paint swatches from the home improvement store and learning values and tints by mixing white or black to change the base color to match the paint swatch.
“How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow” by Monica Sweeney is a fun little story about what happened one time when the sun and the rain cloud had a little fight and stopped working together. The world became a very dull and gray place until a little box of crayons helped them to see that they were better as a team.
This book works well with any rainbow type project or color play. It is also great for exploring wax resist with crayons and watercolor paints.
“Ish” by Peter H. Reynolds is a great book for young artists who maybe have a bit of a hard time when their art does not look exactly as they thought it should. In this story Ramon discovers that it is OK to create art that ish-like, or that looks similar to his idea if not exactly like it.
This is a great book to use if you are going to do any sort of observational art. I love to bring in flowers for the kids to draw or paint with this book.
“Let’s Make Faces” by Hanoch Piven is a fun little book about finding faces in everyday objects all around us. It takes the reader through lots of different items from food to tools and asks us to find the faces.
This is a great book to pair with found object assemblage collages. I love to provide the kids with a piece of cardboard cut into a silly face shape and then let them build the face on it. They can collect items from around their homes, schools, or outside to build their faces. Hot glue works well for attaching the pieces to the cardboard (a little adult help is a good idea). Once kids learn to safely use a low temp glue gun it quickly becomes a favorite supply! My daughter started using them around 5 with only a little guidance form me for safety.
“Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed A Neighborhood” by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell is the story of artist Rafael Lopez and his beautiful community based art project in the East Village near downtown San Diego, CA. In the story a little girl, Mira, who loved art meets an artist, Lopez. Together they bring their community together creating beautiful murals.
This book is great for any type of mural project, temporary or more perminate. I love to use this book with group projects as well. Perhaps a family art night?
“Not A box” by Antoinette Portis is a fun little story about a bunny who finds a box and imagines all sorts of wonderful things his box could be.
All of us have boxes around, and kids love to play with them. Why not provide a few paints or other art supplies and let their imaginations run wild!
“Mixed: A Colorful Story” by Arree Chung is a really fun little book about about “color, tolerance and embracing differences.” In the story there are reds, blues, and yellows who each think their color is the best. They end up fighting about their differences and separating from each other. One day two colors find each other and begin to discover that they are great together! Soon all the colors begin to come together in harmony.
This book uses primary colors as the three original colors but after they come together they begin to mix forming many secondary, and tertiary colors of different tints and shades. This book is perfect for early color theory lessons!
“Extra Yarn” by Mac Barnett is a sweet little story about a girl , Annabelle who finds a box of yarn, but she soon discovers it is no ordinary box of yarn. The more she knits the more yarn she has. She make so many gifts from her yarn that she soon gets some unwanted attention form an archduke who plots to take the yarn box for himself.
I love to pair this book with any type fiber arts project. My kids have always enjoyed finger knitting!
“Too Much Glue” by Jason Lefebvre is a silly little story about a boy, Matty, who LOVES glue. He gets himself in quite a pickle that is friends try to help him out of while the poor teacher looks on distraught.
Kids love glue and often squeeze the bottle so hard that all the glue comes flooding out. This book is great for opening up a discussion on how to best use the glue. I love to pair this book with any kind of collage project.
“Sticks” by Diane Alber is fun little story about a Popsicle stick that is trying to find his place in the world after the hot sun melts his Popsicle away. He meets lots of friends along the way before finally finding his new purpose.
This is a great book to pair with any type of Popsicle construction activity. Let your kids imagination run wild as they build. It can be fun to add paint or color the sticks with marker too.
Art & Storytime Video
“How The Crayons Saved The Rainbow” by Monica Sweeney Illustrated by Feronia Parker Thomas. Read by Jennifer MacIsaac. This is from a little series of art and storytime videos I made for my students to watch during the covid distance learning a the end of 2020 school year. If you want to see the others here is a link to the youtube channel they are published on. The channel is from my business, Creating Mindfulness. Read more about the scrape painting project in this post.
I would love to hear from you. Have you used any of these books with your kiddos? If so what did you think? Did you pair any projects? Feel free to comment.