Help kids explore the creative process and gain confidence in their own artistic ability with these 10 children’s books.
To find out what it takes to raise creative kids see: How to Raise Creative Kids (even if you’re a not-so-creative adult)
The creative process can often be challenging – even for kids.
Just like adults, kids might find it difficult to know where to start with a project, look for inspiration or think outside of the box.
We think of kids as having unbounded freedom to explore and imagine – and often this is true.
But unfortunately somewhere along the way many kids begin to question their creativity, ability, and the temptation to compare oneself to others creeps in.
While parents can be a listening ear or helpful support, books can be a wonderful way to get lessons across that otherwise kids wouldn’t hear.
10 Children’s Books to Inspire Creativity
The following are 10 stories that demonstrate that the creative process isn’t always easy, isn’t always perfect and that often the best artistic ideas come out of mistakes.
Not all artwork is perfect, and in fact, sometimes mistakes can turn into wonderful designs! Beautiful Oops is a fun, visually appealing book that shows the creative process isn’t always perfect and making mistakes can turn out to be excellent opportunities. The companion book, My Beautiful Oops, is a hands-on journal that’s sole purpose is to be torn up, folded, smudged and otherwise artistically wreaked.
“Look around you – FACES are everywhere,” the book says. Using everyday objects, authors Zoe Miller and David Goodman show that with a little imagination and looking at ordinary objects differently, one can find faces in everything – from blocks, to paint smudges, to gloves. Kids are urged to think-outside-the-box and expand their sense of imagination.
Vashti feels she’s can’t draw, so after art class, her piece of paper is still blank. With a little subtle encouragement from her teacher and a growing desire to improve, Vashti discovers that she can, in fact, draw and even comes to encourage another student to overcome his discouragement.
Ramon loves to draw – anytime and anywhere. But one day his older brother Leon makes fun of Ramon’s work and then all of a sudden drawing is no longer the joy it used to be. Fortunately, Ramon’s little sister Marisol sees things differently and lets Ramon see that sometimes art is more than getting things “just right”. A valuable tale for any child who questions their artistic ability.
These books are a perfect introduction to not only art history but also to teaching kids how to look at art, how to question art and how art isn’t just a pretty (or confusing!) picture but often tells a story. Next to each photo or reproduction of a work of art is an explanation that’s written in a simple style specifically for kids.
Colorful Dreamer is the story of Henri Matisse and how he struggled through life to become a famous artist. As a boy, Henri was considered a dreamer, with no future or potential. And while he continued to paint, his parents held no hope for his future. But as he traveled the world and continued to pursue his passion of painting, more and more people noticed. And when he was ill and no longer able to paint, Henri began creating art from cutouts of colored pieces of paper. This story shows how determination and perseverance pays off.
Hugo, an artist, is no longer inspired – he’s painted everything, he says, and can’t figure out what to paint next. His friend Miles takes him on a trip to visit Paris and it’s many museums and while there Hugo learns that he can find inspiration if he views things from a new perspective. Not only does this book expose the creative process and some of the stumbling blocks artists encounter but also features a few well-known pieces of art.
If you or your kids are looking for what is essentially an intro-to-art history book, Looking at Pictures is it. Written for kids, but dense in information, this book delves deep into many aspects of art such as the hidden meanings in works of art, how artists use color, and the different types of paintings such as portraits, still life and landscapes.
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