Discover your inner artist with picture books that encourage creativity. Curated by Bonita Bignar.
The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle
Every child has an artist inside them, and this vibrant picture book from Eric Carle will help let it out. The artist in this book paints the world as he sees it, just like a child. There’s a red crocodile, an orange elephant, a purple fox and a polka-dotted donkey. More than anything, there’s imagination. Filled with some of the most magnificently colorful animals of Eric Carle’s career, this tribute to the creative life celebrates the power of art.
The Dot by Peter Reynolds
Hoopla Spanish eAudiobook
With a simple, witty story and free-spirited illustrations, Peter H. Reynolds entices even the stubbornly uncreative among us to make a mark — and follow where it takes us.
Her teacher smiled. “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.”
Art class is over, but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper. The words of her teacher are a gentle invitation to express herself. But Vashti can’t draw – she’s no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. “There!” she says.
That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti’s journey of surprise and self-discovery. That special moment is the core of Peter H. Reynolds’s delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us.
Fancy Nancy, Aspiring Artist by Jane O’Conor
Collages: Très fancy.
Splatter paintings: Très, très fancy!
It’s spring vacation, and Nancy is feeling glum because her best friend, Bree, is out of town. Luckily, it’s Nancy’s mom to the rescue! When she brings home a brand-new set of glitter markers, Nancy puts her trademark flair to très creative use and devotes herself to becoming a serious artist (or artiste, as the French say). After all, everything about being an artist is fancy, fancy, fancy—especially when inspiration strikes!
Georgia in Hawaii by Amy Novesky
Georgia O’Keeffe’s Hawaiian tour celebrates natural beauty and powerful artistic convictions. Georgia O’Keeffe was famous for painting exactly what she wanted, whether flowers or skulls. Who would ever dare to tell her what to paint? The Hawaiian Pineapple Company tried. Luckily for them, Georgia fell in love with Hawaii. There she painted the beloved green islands, vibrant flowers, feathered fishhooks, and the blue, blue sea. But did she paint what the pineapple company wanted most of all? Amy Novesky’s lyrical telling of this little-known story and Yuyi Morales’s gorgeous paintings perfectly capture Georgia’s strong artistic spirit.
Go to Bed, Monster by Natasha Wing
Lucy DOES NOT want to go to bed. She wants to draw. But as she’s working on her masterpiece, Lucy creates . . . Monster! Monster just wants to play. And play. And play some more–until even Lucy is exhausted. It’s going to take some quick thinking (and drawing) to get this tireless monster to bed. . . .
Natasha Wing and Sylvie Kantorovitz have created a sweet and hilarious bedtime tale reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. It’s a story about friendship, imagination, and turning the tables on those little monsters who just won’t go to bed!
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Harold decides to go for a walk one evening and as he goes, he fills in the scene using his purple crayon. Adventure goes hand in hand with imagination to create this charming classic story.
I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont
When the child gets caught painting everything from the ceiling to the floor, Mama says “Ya ain’t a-gonna paint no more!” But nothing will keep this artist from painting! Written to the familiar tune “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More,” the text bounces alongside vibrant stylized pen-and-ink drawings, while page-turns offer up a fun read-aloud guessing game in which kids will delightfully participate. What will the child paint next? “So I take some red and I paint my . . . HEAD!” Silliness paired with the ruckus read-aloud appeal will have every reader begging for repeat reads.
Journey by Aaron Becker
Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship.
A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.
The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg
“One day that little pencil made a move, shivered slightly, quivered somewhat . . . and began to draw.”
Welcome back Banjo, the boy from THE RUNAWAY DINNER! Once a pencil draws him, there’s no telling what will come next — a dog, a cat, a chase (of course), and a paintbrush to color in an ever-expanding group of family and friends. But it’s not long before the complaints begin — “This hat looks silly!” “My ears are too big!” — until the poor pencil has no choice but to draw . . . an eraser. Oh no! In the hands of Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman, can anything but havoc and hilarity ensue?
Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail by Laurence Anholt
A lovely book about artist, Pablo Picasso from the series, Anholt’s Artists Books for Children. Sylvette is a shy little girl, but her neighbor happens to be the artist, Pablo Picasso. His drawings, paintings, and sculptures soon become world famous. Sylvette soon overcomes her shyness and begins a career as a fine artist.
*All summaries courtesy of the publisher unless otherwise noted.