SMART List #4: Inspiring books for SmARTy-pants

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It’s astonishing how fast kids get the idea that they are “bad at art.” In my opinion, school has a lot to do with this. It’s a shame that teachers have to grade art in the early elementary years, since I think that this is part of what ends up discouraging kids from experimenting and taking risks in art class. It doesn’t take much for a kid to judge themselves. I do not come from artistically-gifted parents, and in school I was never properly taught how to draw. So, I’ve always believed that I wasn’t good at art, in spite of the fact that I’ve never really tried to practice, and I certainly know from experience in music and writing that practice is at the heart of artistic development. I am intensely jealous and admiring of those with artistic talent, and I can’t help but feel a little miffed that I wasn’t given more encouragement to doodle, paint and play in art-land when I was young.

The long days of summer seem like the right time to help kids explore their hidden artist, and to experience some great works of art for the first time. This list has a sampling of some of the best (aka most fun!) books about making art, and some lovely books on art history, artists and art appreciation. Get messy! Get creative! (and no… this is not for marks…)

Making Art
Scribbles – Taro Gomi
Usborne Book of Art Skills – Fiona Watt
Big Book of Things to Draw – Fiona Watt
Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered – Quentin Blake
Nature’s Art Box – Cain and Laura Martin
Avenue Road Art School’s Jumbo Book of Art – Irene Luxbacher
Usborne Art Treasury: pictures, paintings and projects – Rosie Dickins
Imagine that! Activities and Adventures in Surrealism – Joyce Raimondo (others in this series)
D is for Doodle – Deborah Zemke

Art appreciation, Art history and Art stories
Tell Me a Picture – Quentin Blake
Augustine – Melanie Watt
Art fraud Detective – Anna Nilsen
Art Up Close: from Ancient to Modern – Claire d’Harcourt
Faces, Places and Inner Spaces: a Guide to Looking at Art – Jean Sousa
You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum – Jaqueline Preiss Weitzman
The dot – Peter Reynolds
Linnea in Monet’s Garden – Christina Bjork
Andy Warhol: Pop Art Painter – Susan Goldman Rubin
Seen Art – Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
Dan’s Angel – A Detective’s Guide to the Language of Paintings – Alexander Sturgis and Lauren Child


1 thought on “SMART List #4: Inspiring books for SmARTy-pants

  1. Pingback: usborne book types

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