We’ve put together a list of the top ten books recommended by art teachers relating to creativity. Whether you need to inspire little artists in your life, teach them how to embrace mistakes, or even encourage them to use supplies sparingly, we’ve got you covered. In fact, we think everything on the list is so good we’re filling our own shelves with them!
Is your favorite book missing? Please let us know in the comments below!
1. What do you do with an idea? – Kobi Yamada
This is a story for anyone, of any age, who’s ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd or too difficult. An ‘Independent Publishers Gold Award’ winning book it tells the story of how one idea can change the world. With beautiful illustrations it’s perfect for anyone that needs to nurture creativity or inspire people to let their ideas grow. Appealing on a visual, emotional and creative level, it’s a real treasure!
2. Mix it up – Herve Tullet
This New York Times bestseller teaches kids about mixing color – but without all the mess! Follow the artists simple instructions and you’ll be taken on an extraordinary interactive journey where colors appear, mix, splatter, and vanish in a world powered only by the reader’s imagination. Voted Amazon’s Best Books of 2015 so far. For kids aged 3-5.
3. I ain’t gonna paint no more – Karen Beaumont
Funny, engaging and a bit goofy, this beautifully illustrated and colourful book is great to read to younger kids around K2 level. Find out how a cheeky young mischief maker reacts after being caught painting walls, floors, doors and ceilings by his mom. The rhyming style invites audience participation and the illustrations are great for starting discussions about shapes, colours and images.
4. The day the crayons quit – Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
Crayons have feelings too! Have you ever imagined what would happen if they all went on strike? Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun. But poor young Duncan just wants to color! How can he appease his crayons and get them back in the box? Great for 3-7 year olds.
5. Beautiful oops – Barney Saltzberg
This one-of-a-kind interactive book that shows young readers how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion “telescope”―each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder. A joy for all ages!
6. Ish – Peter Reynolds
Part of a creative trilogy, Ish tells the story of a happy and passionate artist Ramon who loves to draw. But a single reckless remark by Ramon’s older brother turns his carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Ramon eventually learns that doing something ‘Ishly’ is far more fun than ‘doing things right’. Good for kindergarten through to grade 12.
7. Too much glue – Jason Lefebvre
Although Matty’s art teacher has warned him that too much glue never dries, Matty loves glue. After all, he and his dad make oodles of glue projects at home. One day during art class, Matty finds the fullest bottles of glue, and the fun begins. Great for pre-kindergarten and second graders who might be learning how to self-monitor their own glue usage.
8. The dot – Peter Reynolds
With a simple, witty story and free-spirited illustrations, The Dot tells the story of frustrated grade school artist, Vashti, found slumped over her blank piece of paper at the end of art class. “I just CAN’T draw!” she tells her teacher.
His advice will make even the most stubbornly uncreative reach for a pencil, make a mark, and see where it takes them. Suitable for up to grade 12.
9. Regina’s big mistake – Marissa Moss
When asked to draw a rain forest during art class, Regina is afraid of trying and failing. After finding inspiration her perfect jungle is suddenly ruined by the slip of a crayon. A great book for children that might struggle with perfection and anxiety, it gives examples of how to make the most of what you have. Great for kids aged 4-7. Free lesson plans available online.
10. Iggy Peck Architect – Andrea Beaty and David Roberts
Iggy has one passion: building. His parents are proud of his fabulous creations, though they’re sometimes surprised by his materials—who could ever forget the tower he built of dirty diapers? When his second-grade teacher declares her dislike of architecture, Iggy faces a challenge. Can he ever stop doing the thing that he loves?
A hilarious, irreverent book about doing your own thing, suitable for children aged between 4-8.
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