I'll admit, I'm a little bit obsessed with books...
...and art books are my favorites! Whether I'm looking for myself or for the kids, there's a soft spot in my heart for all things art and books.
When choosing books for the kids, I look for a few key factors:
1. Great illustrations. This is subjective, I realize. But you have to like the visual style.
2. Not too long (my kids won't sit for a super long book).
3. A fun story.
4. Historical accuracy, and some kind of educational information (even just a little).
5. It portray the artist as just a regular person, who happened to make art.
Number 5 is key.
I LOVE books that introduce the artist as they lived, what they loved, funny personality traits, anecdotes from their childhood... anything that gets children to relate to the artist as a person (and not some abstract historical figure).
Then the dialogue begins. I don't need my kids to know everything the artist ever did, and it's importance in the world of art history. I want them to become curious, ask questions, remember one small detail about the artist. That's enough for now. We're building a foundation here, and the right books can draw children into the world of art history without them even knowing they are "learning."
So here are a few of my favs, I'll be adding a LOT more posts like this one in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned...
Uncle Andy's Cats (about Andy Warhol)
Action Jackson (about Jackson Pollock)
Suzette & the Puppy (about Mary Cassatt)