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25 Amazing Books for Teaching about Art

Missy left on comment on a previous post: ” LOVE that you’ve included some of your favorite kids books! Any other books you’d recommend to the mom for reference for trying to teach her kids basic art principles?”

I use children’s books all the time in the art classroom.  It is a great way to tie in literature and inspire the kids through stories and illustrations.

Art Books for Kids

Here is MY list of favorite books for teaching about art.  I highly recommend checking them out through the library first to see if they are going to be useful for your curriculum and particular teaching situation. And, of course, you don’t need to get them all at once.  I’ve slowly built up my collection over the course of 11 years or so.


1. Art by Patrick McDonell

2. The Dot lesson about dots here

3. No One Saw

Making “Mistakes” in Art

4. Regina’s Big Mistake (Sandpiper paperbacks)

5. Beautiful Oops! lesson plan here

What is art?

6. M is for Masterpiece: An Art Alphabet (Alphabet Books)

7. Art Is… (Bob Raczka’s Art Adventures)  In response, students can make a poster about what they think art is.

Color, Shapes and Lines

8. Mouse Paint

9. Lines That Wiggle Students can create line drawings, line paintings or sculptures.

10. When a Line Bends . . . A Shape Begins   Make a shape collage!

11. Perfect Square

12. The Shape of Things

13. The Shape of Me and Other Stuff (silhouettes)

14. The Shape of My Heart (perfect for Valentine’s Day)

Art History

15. The Boy Who Drew Birds:  about John James Audubon

16. Linnea in Monet’s Garden I love the video of this book

17.  Any of the books in the Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists series

18. Keith Haring: I Wish I Didn’t Have to Sleep   I love Keith Haring’s artwork.

19. Can You Spot the Leopard?  About African masks


20. The Weaving Adventures of Edgar and Rita See some of my weaving lessons here.

21. The Goat in the Rug

22. Weaving the Rainbow

Recycled Art

23. Snowballs

24. My Best Friend Is As Sharp As a Pencil: And Other Funny Classroom Portraits  You can make some found object faces.


25. Books by Eric Carle

There are plenty more wonderful art books out there and there are some I use that I have left off this list.  What MUST-HAVE art books would you recommend?

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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.

4 Responses to 25 Amazing Books for Teaching about Art

  1. Eira says:

    Great list! I can’t wait to work my way through it with my little girl!

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  4. Kathy Zwahl says:

    There are so many new (to me) books here! I immediately went to my local online library site and found several to look through before back to school. Fun! I will have to order a couple now!
    Thanks for the great ideas!