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Books for the First Day of Art Class

I like to start the first art class of the year with a children’s book about art and something quick and easy to get the kids making art.  Here are some of the books I have used over the years on the first day of school or throughout the year.  I like to read general books about art & creativity on the first day.  I save the books about specific artists or topics for when we study those.

Here are my top 8 books to read on the first day of art class.

Books for the First Day of Art Class

1.  Art Is… (Bob Raczka’s Art Adventures) Bob Raczka has some great books about art!  From the School Library Journal review.. “Raczka introduces more than two dozen famous artworks from various time periods and mediums through quality photographs. His selections are as diverse as a Greek vase, a Bridget Riley Op Art painting, an African mask, a Romare Bearden collage, a Louis Comfort Tiffany lamp, and a Pablo Picasso sculpture, allowing children to compare and contrast these famous pieces and broaden their definition of art.”  This is a book I read every year to at least one class!

Art Is Book

2.  Regina’s Big Mistake  This book is a simple story about a girl named Regina in art class.  She worries about making mistakes on her jungle picture.  The story has a nice message about using your mistakes to create a beautiful picture.


3.  The Art Box This is a very basic, simple book showing pictures of and naming the many types of art supplies in art class.  I think this book is good for Pre-K and Kindergarten.  Nice, easy and simple for the first day of kindergarten art.

4.  M is for Masterpiece: An Art Alphabet Another ABC book about art… From the Amazon description: “From ancient cave paintings to Christo’s Running Fence, a wide variety of art forms and styles are discussed in details that children will understand and adults will appreciate. M is for Masterpiece not only teaches about the great artists and techniques that originated in various parts of the world, but also discusses the elements of painting, art media, and landscapes of the American West.”  There is a lot of text in this book, so you will probably need to shorten what you read.


5. No One Saw:  Ordinary Things Through the Eyes of an Artist

Artists see differently.  “No one saw flowers.. like Georgia O’Keeffe.”  Simple text paired with pictures of how artists have their own unique visions.

6. A is for Art Museum Come in to the art museum and you will a B- bridge by Monet, C- cage from the Qing Dynasty, D- dancer by Degas, E- eye miniature paintings from England, F- fish by Paul Klee and much more!

7. A Little Bit of Oomph!

This is another marvelous book by the author of Beautiful Oops!.  Fold-outs, pop-ups and other interactive parts teaches kids to put their heart into their art and try a little bit harder.  The extra oomph will turn the ordinary into something EXTRAORDINARY!


8. An ABC of What Art Can Be

This is a creative and lovely book.

“A is for ARTIST, creator of art, making all sorts of things with the hands and the heart.”


These were some of my favorite books to read on the first day of art class.  What are yours?


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About Marcia Beckett

Marcia is an elementary art teacher and loves painting, drawing, sculpture, art journaling and clay. Her blog, Art is Basic, features many exciting art projects for kids.
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