Art and Literature: Have You Made the Connection?


In a few weeks I will be giving a talk to my local SCBWI group (The Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators). I belonged to this group for ten years while pursuing my dream of publishing my middle grade novel. I LOVE this group. They are the most giving of people and the encouragement I received from countless writers was nothing less than extraordinary.

Deep Space Sparkle has been my biggest love recently so my book writing days are behind me. So when Alexis called me and asked if I would give a talk on how authors and illustrators could market their books to appeal to teachers, I jumped at the opportunity.

Next to art, children’s books are my biggest love and as most of you know, my biggest source for art lesson inspiration. I combine art and literature all the time and have a page on this site devoted to art and literature connections. Occasionally, I will do an author/illustrator interview and create a lesson based on the book. Some of my favorites are:

  • Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli by Barbara Jean Hicks. Art lesson here. Author page here.
  • Trucks, illustrated by Megan Halsey. Art lesson here and interview with Megan here.
  • Arlo Needs Glasses by Barney Saltzberg. Art Lesson here.
  • Pantone Colors. Art lesson here.

Would you like to help out? 

In order to help the authors and illustrators market their books, they need some help. If you have a blog and develop your own lessons, would you be willing to answer a few questions? If so, jot down some answers in the comment section of this post and I’ll be in contact with you.

  1. If you create your own lessons, how often do you use children’s picture books to inspire your lessons?
  2. Would you be willing to link your lesson to an author/illustrator’s website as a cross promotional tool?
  3. Would you be willing to do author interviews?
  4. Can I include your blog in a resource list for authors/illustrators? Please provide your name and blog URL and your blog name (if different).

Thanks for helping out these wonderful authors and illustrators. I’m sure many of them wold love to send you a free book to give to your readers or for lesson development.



  1. Laura Dodson says:

    This is my first year teaching Elem art. I have used 4 or 5 books this year as inspiration for lessons. Four are from DSS and one I made myself–yay, me!

    Next year, I am planning on using literature far more than I did this year. I am super excited!

    I would not mind linking my lesson to an author/illustrator’s website as a promo tool.

    I would love to do interviews with an author/illustrator.

    Here’s the link to my very newish, first year teacher art blog. I plan to improve upon it next year.

    You’ll see LOTS of DSS lessons. ;o)

  2. Melissa says:

    1. I have been teaching art for 5 years and have built my curriculum around children’s literature, so I incorporate books whenever possible! Here is a link to all of my art + literature lessons:

    2. That would be awesome! I just started my blog in February so it is still tiny, not sure if that matters.

    3. This would be an amazing project to do with my students, maybe have them come up with some of the questions.

    4. I would love to have my blog included in such a list because I am so passionate about connecting art and literature!
    Melissa LaCour
    The Colors of My Day

    Hope this helps!

  3. Lori Amer says:

    1. There are so many incredibly inspirational books for teaching art. I often read a book as motivation before we get started doing art. I love the Anholt’s Artists Books for Children Series and Mike Venezia. I LOVE The Big Orange Splot, Kevin Henkes’ My Garden, The Big Mistake, Roberto the Insect Architect and Iggy Peck Architect, Tar Beach, everything Eric Carle and Lois Ehlert. I could go on and on. I love your website for inspiration too! I’m going to look up your books listed above, thanks.
    2. yes
    3. not sure what that entails
    4. sure

  4. Janis says:

    1. I have several favorite children’s stories that I have used used throughout my teaching career.
    I may go for month’s without doing a literature based lesson. However, there are times when my lessons flow from one story to another and cover several lessons at a time. For example the many Eric Carle stories.
    2.Yes I would be willing to link my lesson as a cross promotional tool.
    3. Yes I would be willing to do author interviews.
    4. Yes you may include my blog,

    Thank you for the opportunity.

  5. Elaine says:

    If you create your own lessons, how often do you use children’s picture books to inspire your lessons? I used more children’s picture books the first year, although I did use four books this year. My students really like reading a book and then creating images of their own inspired by the book, or learning more about art through children’s books.

    Would you be willing to link your lesson to an author/illustrator’s website as a cross promotional tool? Yes, absolutely!

    Would you be willing to do author interviews? Yes, that would be fun! The students would probably also like to interview the authors.

    Can I include your blog in a resource list for authors/illustrators? Yes,

  6. Courtney says:

    I have made the connection and you have really helped this year! Not only in my classroom but in my after school enrichment class. Your site provides great ideas and also inspiration for some wonderful projects. Thank you so much!

  7. Family First says:

    Your great ideas can inspiring everyone with your wonderful projects. Thank you!

  8. Tracy Zerwas says:

    I would love to help out and answer questions. I just found your website and I love love love it!!!!
    I supplement my art lessons with children’s books almost all the time to teach the elements of art to my kindergarten and first grade student and occasionally to second and third. I have created many art lessons based on children’s books. In fact I love books and when I began as an elementary art teacher It was very natural to incorporate literature with art.
    I do not have a blog but I do have an email address with the district I teach in. I would love to participate and look forward to hearing from you.

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About Patty

I teach art to 400 school children in Goleta, California. My art library contains hundreds of free art lesson ideas. My shop has art lesson plans, videos and resources to help you teach art to kids. It's a whole lot easier with Deep Space Sparkle.

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