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Celebrate Art in All Its Forms 10 Books to Inspire Children’s Interest in the Arts

Learn about the value of creative expression with this month’s selections.

Board Books

‘Nature’

‘Nature: Early Learning at the Museum’
by Nosy Crow, illustrated by the Trustees of The British Museum
Toddlers will love learning with this beautiful and engaging book that uses items contained in The British Museum. Each page focuses on a different museum item representing items found in nature. The text and illustrations encourage little ones to develop early learning concepts. Not only is this work a wonderful learning tool, but it’s also a wonderful book to give as a gift or serve as a great coffee-table book for little ones too.


‘Hello, World!’

‘Hello, World! Ocean Life’
by Jill McDonald
This colorful counting book is almost as much fun as a day at the beach. The text counts to 10 and back down again with bright, bold illustrations. The story is also teeming with fun facts about ocean life. Readers will learn how many hearts an octopus has and that sea turtles have existed since prehistoric times. The text is simple enough to engage readers ages 15 months through kindergarten.

Picture Books

‘Love by Sophia’

‘Love by Sophia’
by Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail
This book tells the story of Sophia and how she wants to draw what she loves. With each attempt, Sophia feels that she could be better but isn’t sure how. She learns from family and teachers a variety of art techniques which inspire her to create her masterpiece. The end of the book includes a glossary that defines the art terms for those who want to learn more.

‘We Don’t Eat Our Classmates’

‘We Don’t Eat Our Classmates’
by Ryan T. Higgins
Penelope Rex is so excited about her first day of school. But it’s so difficult, especially when your classmates are so delicious! Penelope keeps eating her classmates and then spitting them out—not your usual first day of school. But then Penelope gets a taste of her own medicine when someone unexpected tries to eat her. This funny children’s story is about how to be a good classmate using a dinosaur as an example. The illustrations make it an excellent lap book, and the children’s expressions and conversations are all slyly funny.

Young Readers

‘What a Masterpiece!’

‘What a Masterpiece!’
by Riccardo Guasco
This book paints a picture of a little boy’s journey from his house to the community art tree. Each page features an art style ranging from Picasso to Van Gogh and Banksy. This book wants the readers to appreciate the different art styles, rather than having to be told everything in words. It’s a beautiful book that celebrates art history.

‘If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t!’

‘If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t!’
by Elise Parsley
This clever and very funny book details the problems one child encounters when bringing an alligator to school for show and tell. Magnolia has brought her alligator to school for show and tell. Unfortunately, she didn’t plan on some of the issues she might encounter when bringing her friend to school. Show and tell will never be the same in this classroom! Great expressive drawings and engaging silliness make this book a winner for early elementary readers, plus alligator facts are included.

Middle Readers

‘The Harlem Charade’

‘The Harlem Charade’
by Natasha Tarpley
This terrific book combines mystery, the power of art, friendship and the culture of Harlem all in one place. Jīn, Alexandra and Elvin live in Harlem. Elvin is new to the area and finds himself struggling to survive while living on the streets, all while following an attack on his grandfather. The friends join up to figure out who attacked Elvin’s grandfather. Before they know it, they’re caught up in a mystery involving a mysterious artist whose recently unearthed painting may be the key to saving the community. Meet diverse characters and enjoy vivid descriptions of the culture, history and art of Harlem.

‘Hey, Kiddo!’

‘Hey, Kiddo!’
by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s graphic novel memoir details growing up in a dysfunctional family. Jarrett grew up without a father and mostly without his mother, who was a heroin addict. He was raised by his grandparents, who are stiff drinkers, chain smokers, profane and loving. Having raised their own children who are mostly grown, they step in to raise Jarrett, sacrificing what might have been their retirement. They are loving and caring but overwhelming. Dealing with his grandparents, his mother who appears in his life sporadically, and meeting the father he never knew, Jarrett finds refuge in his art.

Teens

‘You’re Welcome, Universe!’

‘You’re Welcome, Universe’
by Whitney Gardner
After covering a slur about her best friend with graffiti art, Julia gets kicked out of her School for the Deaf and must attend a public school. Frustrated, and feeling misunderstood, Julia starts tagging signs around her school with graffiti until someone else begins enhancing her art with graffiti of their own. This activity begins a tagging war, with Julia trying to outdo the mysterious artist, while also trying to evaluate her feelings about her ex-best friend and new people she is meeting at school.

‘The Poet X’

‘The Poet X’
by Elizabeth Acevedo
This story, written in verse, is about a teenager navigating the complexities of a high-school social life, her love for poetry and her fanatically religious mother. Readers will find the story gripping and highly relatable. The way Xiomara finds her voice and confidence through her poetry is so electrifying that it makes readers want to discover their own love for writing.

About Conni Strittmatter

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