Big M is very artistically inclined. She has great imagination and loves to create. And, as I’ve discovered, she loves learning about real world topics, beyond just the usual preschool nursery rhymes, ABCs and dinosaurs (though we do plenty of that as well!). We recently decided to undertake an exploration of Art History, studying the great artists, their techniques, mediums and taking a shot at reproducing their famous works in our own, preschool fashion. Since I have ZERO official background in art, we started our study at the library, checking out books perfect for introducing the topic to early learners.
40+ Books to Study Great Artists with Preschoolers
Great works of art are inspiring to grown-ups and children alike. To teach Big M a little more about Art History and the great artists, we began a search at both our local library and bookstore. The good news? There are a plethora of authors out there who write about art, famous works of art and the masters. The great news? There are even authors who write about it in a context intended for early learners.
What is Art?
This first group of books serve as great introduction to the concept of art, broadly. Everything from color mixing to inspiration and encouragement for your preschool artist, who may still just be mastering using pencils, brushes and crayons. Many also convey lessons of being unique, standing out in the crowd, self-confidence, and that anyone can be an artist. I especially love the latter message for Big M because she is quite the perfectionist. She often won’t try something new because she’s afraid she won’t get it quite right.
Who are the Great Artists?
There are countless books covering the lives and works of the great masters. But I have narrowed this list to ones specifically written for preschoolers, emphasizing famous works and life highlights, while glossing over some of the masters’ more colorful life experiences!
Anholt’s Artists Books for Children:
VanGogh and the Sunflowers
The Magical Garden of Claude Monet
Degas and the Little Dancer
Picasso and the Girl with the Ponytail
Matisse the King of Color
Cezanne and the Apple Boy
Books by James Mayhew:
Katie books, exploring artists from the Italian Renaissance to Post-Impressionism
Katie’s Picture Show
Katie and the Starry Night
Katie Meets the Impressionists
Katie and the Waterlily Pond
Katie and the Spanish Princess
Katie and the Mona Lisa
Katie and the Sunflowers
Katie and the British Artists
Katie’s Sunday Afternoon
Great Parent Reference Books
There are so many great books out there, it can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to even begin! I have found the Prestel books to be a great reference for me in planning where we would begin on this adventure, as well as to enhance my own background. There are several other books in the series, but these three have served as my starting point with Big M.
Having done lots of reading, we are ready to start our adventure exploring all these great artists and their techniques. We hope you will join us on this journey. Stay tuned for our first preschool interpretations of famous works of art, as well as a great list of supplies to stock your craft closet with in preparation! Who is your favorite artist? Do you have a great book about the masters we missed on our list?
You can find this post, as well as others on the topic from around the web on our Art for Kids board on Pinterest.