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Natascha Biebow, author of The Crayon Man: The True Story Of The Invention Of Crayola Crayons, has picked her top five recommended children's books about the love of art.


 Natascha Biebow’s favourite crayon color is periwinkle blue because it makes her heart sing.  She loves to draw and make stuff, just like the inventor of the Crayola crayons. She lives in London, where she writes, edits, coaches and mentors children’s book authors and illustrators at Blue Elephant Storyshaping, and is the long-time Regional Advisor of SCBWI British Isles. In 2018, she was awarded an MBE for her services to children's writers and illustrators. The Crayon Man: The True Story Of The Invention Of Crayola Crayons, is the winner of the Irma Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature, voted for by children, and a NSTA Best STEM book 2020.

Read on for Natascha's favourite children's books that promote creativity and a love of art....

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Tiz And Ott’s Big Draw 
Bridget Marzo

Tizz and Ott are drawing themselves an adventure! They doodle, splodge, scribble and zig-zag their way through a scary storm and safely home again. This an ideal book to explore all kinds of mark making with young children. The bright, appealing pictures, created in different mediums – from paint to crayon to coloured pencil –inspire readers to create their own visual stories alongside Tizz and Ott. A step-by-step drawing lesson at the back of the book shows how to draw the characters and make a big mess too!

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Beautiful Oops
 Barney Saltzberg

A torn piece of paper, a spill, a smudge can all be transformed into something beautiful. Every oops mistake is worth exploring – you never know what you will create. This inventive, brightly-coloured novelty book is perfect for discussing the value of mistakes as part of a growth mindset and encouraging creativity and perseverance. 

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The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse 
Eric Carle

In this sparse text, Eric Carle empowers every budding artist to find joy in their creations and use their imaginations without the constraints of the ‘right’ colours for objects or other artistic conventions. The young artist in the story is joyful in his creations – a blue horse, a green lion or a purple fox? Why not! Carle’s fictional story is inspired by artist Franz Marc, who painted animals in bright and unusual colours.

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The Usborne First Book Of Art
Rosie Dickens, Philip Hopman & Nicola Butler

This well-designed, practical book offers hands-on, step-by-step ideas for art children can make at home, inspired by famous paintings and sculptures in a variety of different styles. Themes such as family, animals, faces, stories, places and patterns guide young creatives to look closely at art, ask questions and then create. A fabulous introduction and springboard for discussing and making art with young children!

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The Iridescence Of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse 
Patricia MacLachlan & Hadley Hooper

The author and illustrator beautifully capture the story of artist Henri Matisse and explore the question: “Why do painters paint what they do? Do they paint what they see or what they remember?” The story explores Matisse’s boyhood influences through vibrant colours and artwork that evokes the painter he became, inspired by colour and light and movement.  This book is a delight to read and pore over and will certainly nurture an appreciation of observation of the everyday world around us as an inspiration for art.

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The Crayon Man: The True Story Of The Invention Of Crayola Crayons
Natascha Biebow & Steven Salerno

Natascha Biebow’s book The Crayon Man: The True Story Of The Invention Of Crayola Crayons is the true story of inventor Edwin Binney, who was so inspired by nature and its vibrant colours that he created one of the world’s most iconic toys – Crayola crayons. Informational pages at the back of the book show how the crayons are manufactured today.

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Children's books about art