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.
Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
Peter Reynolds Creatrilogy Box Set
Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
by Herve Tullet
The Big Book of Art
Mix It Up
Lines that Wiggle by Candace Whitman
The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola
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!
The Art Book for Children Book Two
Look! Look! Look! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace with Linda K. Friedlaender
Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter
When Pigasso Met Mootisse by Nina Laden
Vincent’s Colors by Vincent VanGogh
Through Georgia’s Eyes by Rachel Rodriguez
Action Jackson by Jan Greenberg
The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau by Michelle Markel
The Cat and the Bird: A Children’s Book Inspired by Paul Klee by Geraldine Elschner
Journey on a Cloud: A Children’s Book Inspired by Marc Chagall by Veronique Massenot
The Noisy Paintbox: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock
Degas and the Dance by Susan Goldman Rubin
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.
13 Art Techniques Children Should Know
13 Paintings Children Should Know
13 Artists Children Should Know
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.
[…] with the preparation on this one. We examined several of Monet’s Water Lily paintings in our art books and talked about what colors to make the rice. Big M recommended blues and greens. They loved […]
[…] week, I kicked off our Art History for Preschool series. I started by sharing a great list of books to help you and your preschooler get excited about art, and the great artists. You will find many […]
[…] enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the rest of the Art History for Preschool series, including 40+ Books to help you get started. You can find all of these on our Art for Kids board on Pinterest […]
[…] Matisse cutouts. First, we read Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter. This is one of the many books we discovered at the library, perfect for introducing great artists, like Henri Matisse, to […]