Recommended children's booklists sorted by age or topic

Home > Curriculum Topic Booklists > Arts & Sport > Books About Art and Artists

Books About Art and Artists

best childrens books about art and artists

Best Children’s Books About Art and Artists

From The First Drawing to A World of Art, creativity and colour burst out of this list of the best children’s books about art and artists!

Younger children will delight in vibrant picturebooks like Luna Loves Art and Beautiful Oops!, while intrigue and adventure await older readers in Portraits and Poison and How to Steal the Mona Lisa. For fact-lovers there are fascinating life stories of artists such as Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe and Frida Kahlo.

SAVE 20% with Peters

Visit our booklists on Amazon

Support independent bookshops

Children's Books about Famous Artists

Fausto Gilberti
Non-fiction

I love the title of this biography of artist Yayoi Kusama. It reflects the beautifully simple way that Kusama’s story is told in this lovely book. Unusually, it is written from Kusama’s point of view: ‘I painted hundreds and hundreds of dots onto large canvases. The dots often came off the pictures and ended up on my dress, tables and wall! But I wasn’t sorry.’

The bold illustrations are pared down but full of character and wit – like the prose.

This is the third title in a series of books introducing younger children to the lives and works of contemporary artists who broke the mould, and ‘weren’t sorry’. Jackson Pollack and Yves Klein are the other two – whole series is wonderful.

Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Gee Fan Eng
Non-fiction
In this international bestseller from the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Frida Kahlo, the world-renowned painter.When Frida was a teenager, a terrible road accident changed her life forever. Unable to walk, she began painting from her bed. Her self-portraits, which show her pain and grief, but also her passion for life and instinct for survival, have made her one of the most famous artists of the twentieth century. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back , including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the artist's life.
Sharna Jackson
 & Andrea Pippins
Non-fiction

A combination of biography and art history, this brilliant non-fiction book is a celebration of Faith Ringold – her storytelling, art and creativity – but does not shy away from the important context of racism, sexism and poverty she experienced in her life that is reflected in her art.

The text has a brilliant balance of biography, the development of Faith’s art (from painting, to mask making and then textiles) and the political and social history of the time, and is a fantastic model to introduce the idea that ‘art reflects life’ and that art and history are intrinsically linked.

This is a fantastic book for art leaders to add to the school library and Faith would make an amazing artist to study in KS2. However, as well as incorporating Faith Ringold into the Art curriculum, this book could equally be used in UKS2 to inspire writing, including biography and storytelling from images; or used as a supporting text alongside Faith’s children’s book, Tar Beach.

We really liked the reflection questions interspersed within the text, encouraging the reader to stop and pause and to think about the link between their own creativity and activism. Sharna Jackson and Andrea Pippins have created a visually stunning and incredibly informative text, distilling and clearly communicating complex themes.

Tim Hopgood
 & Sam Boughton
Picturebook
A beautiful, colourful and bold picture book that encourages children to notice the small things, think big, and express themselves! Matisse is a young snail who loves to create beautiful drawings with his trail. The trouble is most of the time people are far too busy to even notice them. It's only when a child notices Matisse's beautiful trails that his art is finally celebrated - and they inspire a whole class of children to get creative too!
Laurence Anholt
Picturebook
Part of the highly-successful Anholt's Artists series about great painters, which tells the stories of real meetings between world-famous artists and the children who knew them. When Julie's dog disappears into a mysterious garden, Julie follows him - and finds herself in a beautiful garden-within-a-garden where the roses grow like splashes of paint and a Japanese bridge bows over a silent pool. There she finds not only her dog, but also Claude Monet. The famous artist introduces her to his work and his garden, giving her encouragement that the young would-be artist will never forget. Set against the romantic, world-famous backdrop of Monet's garden at Giverny, the story is accompanied by reproductions of the artist's most celebrated paintings and a biographical note on Monet.

Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Timothy Hunt
Non-fiction
In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Andy Warhol, the ground-breaking pop artist.Little Andy was the tiniest and palest child of the Warholas, a humble couple from Slovakia who lived in Pittsburgh. Sketchbook glued to his hand, he loved every minute of drawing, but he was too shy to show his work to others, even to his family!As an adult he got a chance to publish his first illustration for a glamorous magazine. He turned his attention to the ordinary, like soup cans he ate from for lunch every day. He showed the world that the ordinary objects could POP, and founded a cultural movement, becoming one of the most famous artists of the 20th Century. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the inspiring artist’s life.
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Erica Salcedo
Non-fiction
Part of the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the incredible life of Georgia O'Keeffe, one of America's greatest artists, in this true story of a talented painter who broke boundaries.As a child, little Georgia viewed the world differently from other people. She roamed outdoors with her sketch book, while other girls played. As an adult, she painted all day. From New York City to New Mexico, she was influenced by the landscapes of her environment.As her paintings became more popular, she became one of the most succesful artists of her generation, and an inspiring role model for young girls everywhere who wanted to express themselves creatively.This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the artist's life.

Picturebooks about Art

Ed Vere
Picturebook

Looking at the fun, exuberantly coloured monster on the front cover of The Artist, it’s easy to recall countless children concentrating intently on their artwork. That fearless, limitless creativity which can be witnessed in classrooms around the world certainly must have inspired Ed Vere to write his wonderful book!

The book is written about ‘an artist’ and how artists can see the world differently from other people because they take time to really ‘look’. As the story continues, it unpicks how artists work with different materials and media, using their imagination to take them to faraway places or bring them closer to the ones they love.

The artist in this book paints a blank canvas of a town but makes a mistake and loses some of the bravery and creativity it has had; taking advice from a young child to get it back.

As a text to share to support children in regaining some of their bravery around art, it’s a brilliant resource. It also works well as a book for younger readers who are looking at how to use different materials creatively. The illustrations are amazing and would be a brilliant inspiration for class or whole school art projects which focus on creativity and imagination.

Mordicai Gerstein
Picturebook

A story set in the Stone Age that explores how the first drawing could have come to be, based on real discoveries made in the Cave of Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc in France, which contains some of the oldest known cave drawings made 30,000 years ago. A free educator’s guide is also available.

Barney Salzberg
Picturebook
We love this engaging picture book, filled with interactive pop-ups and flaps. The story is about the tapping into the potential of things that appear to be mistakes, showing how torn paper or spilt paint can be approached with a positive attitude when you know that mistakes can be transformed to become something beautiful. We highly recommend this book for all primary classrooms!
James Mayhew
Picturebook
Katie likes helping Grandad in the garden and she really wants to grow her own sunflowers. When she looks at Van Gogh's famous painting of sunflowers, Katie reaches in to grab some seeds, not realising how it might have a knock-on effect on lots of different paintings in the gallery!
Fiona Robinson
Picturebook

Anna Atkins is acknowledged to be one of the first women in the world to take a photograph, and one of the first people to publish a book of photographic images. In the book, the author’s own drawings and cyanotypes are combined with reproductions of Anna Atkins’ original work. This beautifully presented picturebook makes a great choice for KS2 children looking Victorian inventions and it makes a perfect illustration of the importance of the role that woman have played in the development of science and art, which is in this case nothing short of inspirational.


Andrea Beaty
 & David Roberts
Picturebook

This story follows Aaron, a boy who loves stories but struggles with writing due to his difficulty in deciphering letters. But when his turn to write a story for the class comes around, inspiration strikes, and he finds another way to share his tale through the pictures he draws.

This book is part of a larger series that has gained popularity in schools, and for good reason. The other titles, such as “Rosie Revere, Engineer” and “Iggy Peck, Architect” are also engaging and give validity to the talents and strengths of each individual.

We love Aaron Slater, Illustrator as an empowering storytime read that can also lead to discussions about helping individuals find ways to personally thrive as well as touching on themes of dyslexia and the power of art.

James Mayhew
Picturebook
Join Katie as she steps into some of the most famous paintings in the world for an exciting art adventure!The stars in Vincent van Gogh's painting are so beautiful that Katie can't resist reaching in and taking one. But what will she do when all the other stars come tumbling out of the painting, too? Will Katie be able to catch the stars before the gallery guard notices they've floated away?'A wonderful way to engage children with art. A brilliant combination of education and storytelling' - Parents in Touch (Katie's Picture Show)This first introduction to Van Gogh features five of his most brilliant paintings: The Starry Night, Noon, Vincent's Chair, Fishing Boats on the Beach and The Olive Grove.
Joseph Coelho
 & Fiona Lumbers
Picturebook
At the gallery, Luna is transfixed by the famous art, but her classmate Finn doesn't seem to want to be there at all. Finn's family doesn't look like the one in Henry Moore's 'Family Group' sculpture, but then neither does Luna's. Maybe all Finn needs is a friend. Join Luna and Finn at the Art Gallery and step inside famous works of art by Van Gogh, Damien Hirst, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol and many more! Can you spot all the art? Created by award-winning poet Joseph Coelho, this book follows Luna Loves Library Day as an introduction to different types of family.
Isabelle Marinov
 & Olga Shtonda
Picturebook

This simple picture book tackles one of the most complicated questions: What’s the point of art?

A little boy called Henri (Matisse? Rousseau, perhaps?) has been taken on a school trip to a modern art gallery and he’s not happy about it. He’d much rather be on a beach or swimming. He is also baffled by the supposed ‘art’, questioning the odd colours, faces and soup cans! He eventually finds a piece he likes before entering a room with just a chair and a strange-looking contraption. But is it art?

I won’t spoil the answer, but do feel that Henri speaks for both children and adults alike when encountering modern art: “I just don’t get it,” is a phrase I’ve heard many a time – and who amongst us hasn’t looked at a light feature or a rubbish bin at an art gallery and wondered if this was actually an inspiring piece trying to depict the tragedy of war?

This is a delightful story, with lovely illustrations. Eagle-eyed art lovers will recognise works by Magritte, Picasso, Dali, Mondrian, Warhol and Klein, as well as hints towards chairs in art and Ceci n’est pas une pipe. The story would make a brilliant start to an assembly, a ‘Big Thinking’ question or an art lesson, where it could ‘unleash an explosion of creativity.

Anthony Browne
Picturebook
Hugely entertaining and informative – a unique art history lesson given by internationally acclaimed children’s book illustrator.Willy’s pictures look like great works of art, but not quite … for Willy has added himself and his friends to famous paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Vermeer, Manet and many more. Delight in his dazzling portfolio then open the fold-out pages to see the original pictures and learn about the artists who painted them. As Willy knows, every picture tells a story…

James Mayhew
Picturebook
Join Katie as she steps into some of the most famous paintings in the world for an exciting art adventure.Katie would love to give Grandma a bunch of flowers for her birthday - but just where will she find the perfect bouquet? If only she were able to gather some flowers from the beautiful paintings in the gallery...'A wonderful way to engage children with art. A brilliant combination of education and storytelling' - Parents in Touch (Katie's Picture Show)This first introduction to Impressionism features five great masterpieces: The Luncheon and The Field With Poppies by Claude Monet, A Girl With a Watering Can and Her First Evening Out by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Blue Dancers by Edgar Degas.
Kertu Sillaste
Picturebook
Translated from the original Estonian, I am an Artist presents the everyday life of John, informed by the author’s own experiences as a practicing artist.During the story, John explores a range of different mediums, including drawing, sculpture, painting, photography and more, introducing children to various art forms and inspiring them to think creatively. The book is also a perfect way to open up discussions about how different people find and develop their creative process.By examining the various challenges and worries John faces, as well as his successes, from always seeking approval to the joys of seeing works of art come to life, I am an Artist sensitively balances the different aspects of the profession to present it as an exciting and varied career option for children, as well as encouraging conversations about their own goals.

Chapter Books about Art

J. T. Williams
 & Simone Douglas
Chapter book

The second book in the ‘Lizzie and Belle Mysteries’ series sees the young best friends and amateur detectives use their skills to investigate the theft of a historic portrait which in turn reveals further mysteries and crimes which they must solve. Through this investigation the reader will learn some of the critical thinking skills used when looking at art, and how we can learn from historical artworks in the context of our knowledge of the time.

Set in Georgian London, this book illuminates the multiracial history of Britain, and the struggles and injustices faced by Black people in a place where many powerful people thrived on keeping slavery alive. It also demonstrates that White people had an important role, as well as responsibility, to offer support to Black anti-slavery activists and to challenge the White slave owners of the time. Many of the characters and events in this book are based on real people and things that happened, and there is a lot of scope to research the story of the real Dido Elizabeth Belle, including the painting of her and her cousin from the 1770s. This is a fantastic mystery story, which could also lead to discussions about race, art, and friendship and families.

Author JT Williams also visited our blog to discuss the role of fiction in bringing history to life for children.

Olaf Falafel
Chapter book

Trixie Pickle is an arty ‘sort-of-superhero’ and this is her second adventure (the first being Trixie Pickle, Art Avenger). Trixie and her best friend, Beeks, have a lot going on in their lives. First, there is the latest edition of their comic, Blammo, to work on. Then there are the ‘mean girls’ to avoid or they will cause all sorts of trouble for Trixie and Beeks. There is also a new mystery illness doing the rounds; nicknamed ‘Wormwood fever’, it makes the patient very ill and can be briefly summed up by the words ‘it’s coming out both ends’. Could the mystery illness have anything to do with someone Trixie sees dumping toxic waste in the local reservoir? Who is it and can they be stopped? Trixie has a comic to finish, a mystery to solve and enemies to get revenge on . . . but all in an artistic way of course and with plenty of scope for mishap.

Full of fantastic, detailed fact files of the real artists who inspire Trixie and fully illustrated by the author, it was great to discover some artists I hadn’t been aware of before. This is a fast-paced, funny, fact-filled book which will appeal to art lovers, adventure lovers and humour lovers. It would also lend itself extremely well to a variety of art projects based on the artists featured.

Bethany Walker
 & Jack Noel
Chapter book

A funny art heist mystery from the duo behind Chocolate Milk, X-Ray Specs and Me. One day, the Royal Family announces a £25 million reward for a painting that has been missing for about 200 years – a second version of The Mona Lisa. As the hunt is on for the missing painting, criminals start to think that it might be hidden at Mia and Jake’s school.

The layout of the book is fun and really appealing with different size fonts and small illustrations around the writing. The story is mainly told through emails between Mia and her granny but there is occasionally a newspaper article, blog, or notes between the characters.  A great medium-length book for Year 4 and up, and one that will appeal to fans of Liz Pichon, Danny Wallace or Sam Copeland.

Frank Cottrell Boyce
Chapter book
The perfect crime – it's a work of art, in Frank Cottrell Boyce's ingenious story, Framed.Dylan is the only boy living in the tiny Welsh town of Manod. His parents run the Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel garage – and when he's not trying to persuade his sisters to play football, Dylan is in charge of the petrol log. And that means he gets to keep track of everyone coming in and out of Manod – what car they drive, what they're called, even their favourite flavour of crisps. But when a mysterious convoy of lorries trundles up the misty mountainside towards an old, disused mine, even Dylan is confounded. Who are these people – and what have they got to hide?A story inspired by a press cutting describing how, during World War II, the treasured contents of London's National Gallery were stored in Welsh slate mines. Once a month, a morale-boosting masterpiece would be unveiled in the village and then returned to London for viewing. This is a funny and touching exploration of how art – its beauty and its value – touches the life of one little boy and his big family in a very small town.This edition of Framed includes bonus material and discussion questions from Frank Cottrell Boyce, and illustrations by Steven Lenton.
Rob Biddulph
Chapter book

National treasure Rob Biddulph, whose record-breaking illustration events during lockdown gained an army of fans young and old, publishes his first illustrated chapter book this month. Peanut Jones is a wonderfully imaginative story with likeable characters and plenty of action and adventure.

Pernilla Jones (Peanut to her friends) isn’t having the best time. Her dad suddenly disappeared over a year ago, her mum is moving on and dating someone Peanut can’t stand and she has been made to move schools, leaving her beloved Melody High behind in favour of St Hubert’s School for the Seriously Scientific and Terminally Mathematic. Peanut is paired with Rockwell Riley as part of a study buddy scheme to help new students settle and she couldn’t be more disinterested.

One day, when she finds a magic pencil which has the power to make drawings a reality, Peanut sets out to find out what really happened to her dad. She takes Rockwell and her little sister, Little Bit, along for the ride in this alternate dimension where there is always danger and surprise around the corner. The story follows her journey into a hidden world where she must think quickly and use her drawing powers to save herself, her friends and the people she meets from those who wish to destroy all creativity – all the while, searching for the truth about her dad.

Throughout the book, there are superb, detailed drawings which are in black, white and orange, giving the book a unique style. This is the first in a trilogy about friendship and creativity. The short chapters make it easy to read and I look forward to the next instalment.

A triumphant entry into the chapter book world from Rob Biddulph.


Katherine Woodfine
 & Rebecca Cobb
Chapter book
Elisabeth loves to paint, just like her papa. She spends hours making her own pictures of everything she sees - and the more colourful, the better!But when she goes away to school, she finds herself in a world of grey: grey buildings, grey uniforms, grey rooms. She misses Papa and all the colours of home. And one winter morning, she gets some terrible news that makes her days darker than ever before. Will Elisabeth be able to find the colour and joy in her life again?A touching tale about friendship, family and finding joy in the darkest of times. Inspired by the childhood of French portrait artist Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun.
Robin Stevens,Siobhan Dowd
Chapter book
My name is Ted Spark. Three months ago, I solved the mystery of how my cousin Salim disappeared from a pod on the London Eye. This is the story of my second mystery.This summer, I went on holiday to New York, to visit Aunt Gloria and Salim. While I was there, a painting was stolen from the Guggenheim Museum, where Aunt Gloria works. Then Aunt Gloria was blamed for the theft, and I realised just how important it was to find the painting, and discover who really had taken it.

Non-Fiction Books about Art

Aleksandra Artymowska
Non-fiction
Dive into this treasure trove of beautifully illustrated artefacts and learn more about the amazing ancient civilisations that created them as you complete puzzles and search for clues.Can you find all the Egyptian gods hidden in the scene? Or can you match these Roman busts to the description of famous emperors? Explore precious jewels, mosaics, statues and ceramics from across history and throughout the world and find out more about the incredible ancient civilisations who made them. This busy activity book on ancient art is jam-packed with stimulating search-and-finds and perplexing puzzles that can be enjoyed time and time again.
DK
Non-fiction
Go on an artistic journey around the world in this children's introduction.Discover the power of art and be inspired by cultures from all over the world with this extensive children's guide. This book is the perfect introduction for young readers to the world of art and celebrates different styles from every continent!Children aged 9+ can enjoy reading about early art right through to present day, and learn about the fascinating lives and achievements of great artists and sculptors, from Leonardo da Vinci to Tracey Emin and Henry Moore. All the essential information about art is covered, including the major movements, artists from around the world and techniques.This art book for children offers:- Chapters which cover a huge range of artistic styles, from the very first cave paintings to contemporary art installations. - Profiles of influential artists from Katsushika Hokusai to Jackson Pollock. - A focus on key techniques and the famous artists who used them. - Fun activities to create frescoes and sculptures for yourself.Children's Book of Art is full of facts and photos highlighting artistic styles from across the globe, from the very earliest cave paintings through to Renaissance art and surrealism, via China's terracotta army and African sculptors.Plus, there are fun activities and projects so children can create their own works of art - making it the perfect gift for budding painters and sculptors.
David Hockney,Martin Gayford
Non-fiction
A History of Pictures for Children takes readers on a journey through art history, from early art drawn on cave walls to the images we make today on our computers and phone cameras. Based on the bestselling book for adults, this children’s edition of A History of Pictures is told through conversations between the artist David Hockney and the author Martin Gayford, who talk about art with inspiring simplicity and clarity. Rose Blake’s illustrations illuminate the narratives of both authors to bring the history of art alive for a young audience.
Helena Hunt
 & James Brown
Non-fiction
A gorgeously illustrated and engaging guide to the world of art. Immerse yourself in the amazing world of art in this beautiful book with text by Helena Hunt, stylishly illustrated by the inimitable print-maker James Brown. What is art, and how have we used it to express ourselves throughout history? From cave painting right up to pop art; the Renaissance to twentieth-century sculpture, discover the stories behind great movements, processes and artists – both the household names and the perhaps not-so-familiar. Covering thirty topics, including printing, pigment, ceramics and pattern and photography, as well as Impressionism, Romanticism and Surrealism, this is a thoughtful and easily digestible approach to a huge subject.

Rachel Ignotofsky
Non-fiction
Women in Art is an EMPOWERING and INSPIRATIONAL celebration of some of the most iconic and fearless women who paved the way for the next generation of artists.From well-known figures such as Frida Kahlo and Dame Vivienne Westwood to lesser-known artists including Harriet Powers (the nineteenth-century African American quilter) and Yoyoi Kusama (a Japenese sculptor), this charmingly illustrated and inspiring book highlights the achievements of 50 notable women in the arts.Covering a wide array of artistic mediums, this fascinating collection also contains infographics about artistic movements throughout history, statistics about women's representation in museums, and notable works by women who have inspired the world from the 11th century to today.This gorgeous gift book with gold foil on the cover, is the perfect present for art-lovers both young and old!
Kate Pankhurst
Non-fiction
Over half of all the visual artists working today are women, but the paintings and sculptures shown in many galleries and museums tell a different story because they're usually the work of men.In this book Kate Pankhurst, descendent of Emmeline Pankhurst, tells the fascinating stories of some of history's most talented female artists.· Express your feelings and find your identity through art with Frida Kahlo · Run away to the circus and paint with Laura Knight · Help bring talented artists into the spotlight with Peggy Guggenheim · Challenge racism and segregation by creating powerful art with Faith RinggoldIncluding comic strips, family trees, maps and more, Fantastically Great Women Artists and Their Stories is a celebration of just some of the women whose creativity and dreams have made a mark on the world. A fantastic gift for girls and boys alike!List of women featured: Amrita Sher-Gil, Elisabeth Le Brun, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Faith Ringgold, Frida Kahlo, Kathe Kollwitz, Dame Laura Knight and Peggy Guggenheim.

SAVE 20% with Peters

Visit our booklists on Amazon

Support independent bookshops

Booklists you might also like...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your Review

Stone Girl Bone Girl

review

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Would you recommend the book for use in primary schools?

yes

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Any other comments

Any other comments