3 playful and interactive art books for the young artist or an art teacher’s classroom library.

Beautiful Books for the Young Artist

3 playful and interactive art books for the young artist or an art teacher’s classroom library.

The Meet The Artist series features playful and interactive pop-up books that showcase three of my favorite art masters: Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder and Henri Matisse.

I purchased the Picasso and Calder books at the National Art Education Conference in San Diego last spring and at first I wondered how the books could be used in my classroom. Turns out they aren’t the best books for reading out loud as there is no specific story for children to follow. Instead, the books are meant for a child to place in his lap, open the flaps, cut the papers and play with the pop-ups.

And this is exactly what I let my students do.

After a lesson on Calder, my second graders were told that when they finish their project, they could come to the front of the classroom and play with the book. At first I was a bit nervous because these are beautiful, hard cover, beautifully illustrated and photographed books with lots of little pieces to tear and break.

The kids were gentle.

And interested.

And engaged.

Go figure.

3 playful and interactive art books for the young artist or an art teacher’s classroom library. Meet the Artist Series: Picasso

Pablo Picasso: Meet the Artist walks children through Picasso’s early life (lift the flaps to reveal paintings created when the artists was 7, 14, 15, 16 and 17 years old). This part is actually rather depressing as the paintings are really phenomenal.

The book moves through his emotional state (blue period) to his creation of cubism.

Papers are included for a child  to create his own cubist collage.

3 playful and interactive art books for the young artist or an art teacher’s classroom library. Meet the Artist Series: Calder

Alexander Calder: Meet the Artist begins the same way, introducing the reader to Calder’s early years and his general likes and dislikes to his development of sculpture, mobiles and finally, painting. Creative photography displays images of his early sculptures influence of toys and the circus. Kids really love the circus pop-up in this book. In the back of the book there is a sheet of removable circus pop-ups to play with which are very cute and somewhat irresistible for adults.

3 playful and interactive art books for the young artist or an art teacher’s classroom library. Meet the Artist Series: Matisse

Henri Matisse: Meet the Artist 

Wild beasts, dance, drawing with scissors, painting with light…all the topics you would expect in a Matisse biography accompanied by beautiful paintings and pop-ups. Perfect!

These books are beautiful and like I said before, dainty. There’s a lot to be said for treating books with reverence and being very careful, but these books are meant for tears, rips and fingerprints. As I was watching my students flip through the Calder book, I was surprised to see how gentle they were with the pages. And most of these readers were boys. My guess is that the girls were still working on their art projects.

I hope you pick up one or all of these titles.

The author has many other art books, too. You can visit Patricia Geis’s website here.

Have you had the opportunity to flip through on elf these amazing books? How do you use them in your classroom?

What do you think?

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  • Brooke

    Just in time for our Christmas lists! Thanks for the recommendation. I have gotten several great ideas for art books from some of your previous posts. I love collecting books!

    Do me a favor? Keep us shopping moms in mind in the next few weeks in case you have other good suggestions as we prepare our lists. 🙂

    Also….I’m NOT a big fan of “copying” art, in general. I love to “copy” certain skills or techniques, but I love the personal spin kids always find to place on their work. However, I hear rave reviews about Master Kitz. Any personal experience with those?? Just curious.

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