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There is nothing like reading a good book to your students. Books are a great addition to any art room and provide many benefits. They’re a great choice for early finishers, essential for research, and an engaging way to introduce a lesson.
There are many books related to art, artists, creativity, imagination, and art history that can make a positive impact on the students in your art room. If you have not already started building your classroom library, it is time!
Clink, clank, hiss. These are a few of the sounds you will hear when you read, The Noisy Paintbox, by Barb Rosenstock. The author brings the world of Kandinsky to life with sound and color as he paints from his “noisy paint box.” Your students will love saying the sounds along with you as you read.
If you love using books with your students, be sure to check out the Art Ed PRO Learning Pack, Literacy Strategies for the Elementary Art Room! You’ll learn how to set up, organize, and utilize a classroom library, explore ideas for art projects, discussions, and lessons, and more!
Louise Loves Art, written by Kelly Light, is a book about a girl who loves art. But when her little brother decides to add his own touches to her work, Louise must learn to forgive. The lesson doesn’t end there, making this a great choice for the art room.
You can also follow along with Louise in the newest book, Louise and Andie: The Art of Friendship. This book follows Louise and her new neighbor, who happens to love art just as much as she does! It’s a great tale about the importance of differing opinions and collaboration. Learning to work with others is a skill that all students should learn in the art room, and this book can help!
A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison, explores the life of Canadian artist, Ted Harrison, with depictions of the artist’s actual work. Authors Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson, make you feel the love for the Yukon in Harrison’s landscape paintings. This book would be a good reference book to have in your classroom, especially for introducing landscapes.
Renowned Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, has been taught in art classes all around the world. Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales is a collaborative effort with photographer, Tim O’Meara, that was published in 2014. The book celebrates the life of Frida through beautiful illustrations and a simple, yet powerful, storyline.
Raúl Colón’s book, Draw, has no text but is full of beautiful illustrations. The book follows a young boy named Leonardo as he takes an imaginary adventure through his sketchbook. This book will help your students understand the concept of letting their imagination run wild! It’s a great conversation starter on the power of creativity.
If you’re looking for even more information about setting up and using a classroom library, don’t miss the Literacy Strategies for the Elementary Art Room Learning Pack! Not only will you learn how to set up, organize, and use a classroom library, but you’ll discover how to bring literacy and language arts components into all different aspects of your instruction.
Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing, explores the life of Keith Haring through illustrations based on his actual work. Published in 2017, the book was written by his sister, Kay Haring. Among other things, the book shows Keith working with the City Kids Foundation and sheds light on the importance of beautifying your community.
Learning to take care of your community is an important life skill. The book Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, teaches students to be compassionate and respectful of the environment around them. The story follows a young girl named Mira who works with her community to beautify their neighborhood. To accompany the book, your students would love this short video to see the actual community and artists.
The new movie, CoCo, has inspired a book by the same name, adapted by Adrian Molina. The book highlights Día de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead. The illustrations show the beautiful colors, sugar skulls, and papel picado associated with the celebration. It’s a great way to deepen your students’ knowledge about this topic.
Extra Yarn, written by Mac Barnett, is a beautiful story to read as you introduce your students to fibers. The story follows a girl named Annabelle who comes across a box filled with yarn of every color. As she starts to knit things for herself and her surroundings, she helps breathe life into her cold, quiet town. Check out this amazing story with your students. It’s sure to lead to a fun discussion!
A Line Can Be, by Laura Ljungkrist is a simple fun book you can use to explore line. The line in the book continues from page to page making it a great introduction to continuous line drawing. Help your students explore what a line can be!
The next time you are looking for a new book for your classroom library, give one of these a try! Of course, this is just the beginning of many great books you could add to your classroom.
If you’re looking for more ideas, check out these ideas from our archives.
What books of your own would you add to this list?
What is your favorite book to introduce a lesson?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.