I love combing through bookshelves looking for new picture book releases that would make great transitions into an art lesson. Some titles are recommended by readers (love this!) but most often it requires a flip through to determine whether or not a book has too many words, too few words, engaging illustrations and a story worthy enough of my students.
I get giddy when I discover a title that introduces an artist other than Van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso–there are a ton of books based on these amazing artists, but Kandinsky and Calder? Until this year, there wasn’t much.
I also love books that have nothing to do with an artist but instead tell a illustrated story of an art concept, like a square or a spiral. These are rare finds that aren’t always located in the art section of a bookstore but instead are usually titles that are recommended.
Here are 5 great titles that I have used in art lessons or plan to this year:
1. Perfect Square by Michael Hall is indeed a perfect book. The common square has unlimited artistic forms: torn, divided, re-arranged, etc. I can imagine making lots of squares using various mediums and turning the squares into art either by collage or stand-alone pieces.
2. Get Into Art Animals by Susie Brookes is such a find. I haven’t purchased her other books in the Get Into Art series (people and places) but they are on my Amazon wish list. Brookes takes famous animal paintings and creates an art lesson based on the painting. Some of the paintings I have not seen before and are amazing art inspirations. Love this book!
3. The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by Mary Grandpré (of Harry Potter fame) does an incredible job of illustrating how Kandinsky saw music in his art work. This book has inspired me to go beyond Concentric Circle sand delve deeper into his other abstracts.
4. Sandy’s Circus: A Story About Alexander Calder by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Boris Kulikov is another beautifully illustrated book taking a reader on a journey through Alexander Calder’s work. I’ve been doing a few Calder-inspired lessons this year and this book tells Calder’s story far better than I can.
5. The Museum by Susan Verdé and illustrated by Peter Reynolds has the possibility to tie in with the new visual art standards by explaining what a museum is and how and why some works of art are displayed. Popular works of art are featured in the illustrations which makes it fun for kids to notice. Perhaps kids can create their own museum in their classroom?
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I have a few art lessons based on these books in the lesson line-up and can’t wait to release them in the upcoming months. Have you done an art lesson based on any of these books?
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Thank you Patty – wonderful tips and information.
Where best to buy books if not in local store. Can the ones you feature be purchased through your website? And/or lesson plans?
Love all you do.
I often link to Amazon when talking about books. I think I got lazy with this post. I’ll go back and put in some Amazon links as that is where I buy over half my books!