Feed the Need to Read

Photo by Melody Weintraub

Photo by
Melody Weintraub

When was the last time you introduced a new art lesson by reading a children’s book to your students? They are never too old to listen. Some of them even miss that no one reads to them anymore. When I taught Art Ed. at the university, I often began or ended a lesson by reading one of my favorite children’s books. One of my students told me it was her favorite part of the class. It was mine too. Listening to stories helps us relax and visualize. It feeds our imagination and imagination feeds creativity. Find a book that matches your unit of study. Begin the unit with a book. Read the book aloud to yourself several times before reading it to the children. Don’t skip pages. Show them the pictures. Point out how it relates to something you have already taught them. For my middle school students, I read to them sometimes while they are drawing. I know that you may have already started building a library of art books in your classroom, but here are some of my favorites. You can find most of them on used and out of print book websites. Enjoy!

Tar Beach, Faith Ringgold (1991) Crown Publishers

The Little Engine that Could, Watty Piper (1930) Platt and Munk, Publishers

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, Tomie dePaola, Penguin Putnam Books

I Aint Gonna Paint No More!, Karen Beaumont /Illustrated by David Catrow (2005) Harcourt, Inc.
Degas and the Little Dancer-A story about Edgar Degas, Laurence Anholt (1996) Barrons
Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail-A story about Pablo Picasso, Laurence Anholt (1998) Barrons
Camille and the Sunflowers-A story about Vincent Van Gogh, Laurence Anholt (?) Barrons
Art, Patrick McDonnell (2006) Little, Brown and Company

Not a Stick, Antoinette Portis (2008) Harper Collins Publishers

Not a Box, Antoinette Portis (2007) Harper Collins Publishers

The Dot, Peter H. Reynolds (2003) Candlewick Press

Ish, Peter H. Reynolds (2004) Candlewick Press
What Do You Do With an Idea? Kobi Yamada, Mae Besom (2014) Compendium, Incorporated, Publishing & Communications

The Day the Crayons Quit, Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers (2013) Penguin Young Readers Group

Drawing Lessons from a Bear, David McPhail (2000) Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

When Clay Sings, Byrd Baylor (1987) Aladdin Publishers

The Wonderful Little Boy, Helen Elizabeth Buckley (1970) William Morrow

The Little Bluebird, Melody Weintraub (2001) LeBonheur Club.