Vasya Kandinsky was a proper little boy: he studied math and history, he practiced the piano, he sat up straight and was perfectly polite. And when his family sent him to art classes, they expected him to paint pretty houses and flowers — like a proper artist.
As Vasya opened his paint box and began mixing the reds, the yellows, the blues, he heard a strange sound — the swirling colors trilled like an orchestra tuning up for a symphony!
And as he grew older, he continued to hear brilliant colors singing and see vibrant sounds dancing. But was Vasya brave enough to put aside his proper still lifes and portraits and paint . . . music?
In a small weaving town in France, a young boy named Henri-Emile Matisse drew pictures everywhere, and when he grew up, he moved to Paris and became a famous artist who created paintings that were adored around the world.
Late in life a serious illness confined him to a wheelchair, and amazingly, it was from there that he created among his most beloved works — enormous and breathtaking paper cutouts.
Based on the life of Henri Matisse, this moving and inspirational picture book biography includes a note from the author, dynamic quotes from Matisse himself, and an illuminating look at a little-known part of a great artist’s creative process.
Jean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocketed to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen.
Before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City.
Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message that art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean — and definitely not inside the lines — to be beautiful.
Sibert Honor Book * New York Times Best Book of the Year, * Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
One late spring morning the American artist Jackson Pollock began work on the canvas that would ultimately come to be known as Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist).
Award-winning authors Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan use this moment as the departure point for a unique picture book about a great painter and the way in which he worked.
Their lyrical text, drawn from Pollock’s own comments and those made by members of his immediate circle, is perfectly complemented by vibrant watercolors by Robert Andrew Parker that honor his spirit of the artist without imitating his paintings.
Henri Rousseau wanted to be an artist. But he had no formal training. Instead, he taught himself to paint.
He painted until the jungles and animals and distant lands in his head came alive on the space of his canvases.
Henri Rousseau endured the harsh critics of his day and created the brilliant paintings that now hang in museums around the world.
Michelle Markel’s vivid text, complemented by the vibrant illustrations of Amanda Hall, artfully introduces young readers to the beloved painter and encourages all readers to persevere despite all odds.
After a childhood bout of polio left her with a limp, all Dorothea Lange wanted to do was disappear. But this desire not to be seen helped her learn how to blend into the background and observe others acutely.
With a passion for the artistic life, and in spite of her family’s disapproval, Dorothea pursued her dream to become a photographer and focused her lens on the previously unseen victims of the Great Depression.
This poetic biography tells the emotional story of Lange’s evolution as one of the founders of documentary photography.
This charming book introduces one of the most popular artists of the twentieth century, Diego Rivera, to young readers.
It tells the story of Diego as a young, mischievous boy who demonstrated a clear passion for art and then went on to become one of the most famous painters in the world.
Duncan Tonatiuh also prompts readers to think about what Diego would paint today.
Just as Diego’s murals depicted great historical events in Mexican culture or celebrated native peoples, if Diego were painting today, what would his artwork depict? How would his paintings reflect today’s culture?
This heavily illustrated book featuring the world’s greatest painters is an excellent introduction for young readers to artists and their works.
Whether it’s Leonardo da Vinci’s mysterious Mona Lisa, Vermeer’s vibrant depictions of light, Van Gogh’s mesmerizing brush strokes, or Matisse’s playful cutouts, the art featured here is introduced in a format and style that will appeal to children.
The book proceeds chronologically, accompanied by a timeline to offer helpful historical context.
Each artist’s entry includes a concise biography, beautiful reproductions of major works, and lively texts that speak directly to young readers.
Games, quizzes and other activities help readers learn about the significant contributions of each artist in a way that is both fun and inspiring.
If you were a boy named Henri Matisse who lived in a dreary town in northern France, what would your life be like?
Would it be full of color and art? Full of lines and dancing figures?
Find out in this beautiful, unusual picture book about one of the world’s most famous and influential artists by acclaimed author and Newbery Medal-winning Patricia MacLachlan and innovative illustrator Hadley Hooper.
Art Unit Study
In addition to offering books about artists for kids, I’ve teamed up with some fellow bloggers to offer you homeschool and classroom unit study ideas to teach kids seven and under about Art. Some resource links may contain affiliate links.