“123s of Art” by Sabrina Hahn
Pairing famous artworks and numbers 1 to 20, this book offers opportunities to practice counting and introduces readers to art from around the world. The book is laid out with one page of text per number; the following page offers a corresponding art piece. The short text highlights an element of the artwork that readers can find on the page and count. A cute, cartoon palette guide named Artie pops up next to each artwork with different questions encouraging readers to further engage with the art and exercise their observation skills.
“Anna at the Art Museum” by Hazel Hutchins and Gail Herbert, illustrated by Lil Crump
In this tale, Anna and her mother go to an art museum for the day. Anna thinks everything is old and dull and is having a tough time staying out of trouble at the museum. She finds herself intrigued by an off-limits room and starts to wander in. Rather than scolding her, the museum guard lets her in, and Anna sees a restorer working on a painting of a bored, grumpy little girl. Anna immediately lights up at seeing someone like herself represented in a piece of art. After finally finding something to connect to, Anna leaves with a new perspective and promises to come back to the museum. The book includes reproductions of real-life artwork and has fun illustrations with the positioning of background characters mimicking the art on the walls. The end of the book includes an “About the Art” section.
“Shaped By Her Hands: Potter Maria Martinez” by Anna Harber Freeman and Barbara Gonzales, illustrated by Aphelandra
Readers will learn about Maria Povika Martinez, a potter and ceramicist who grew up in the pueblo of San Ildefonso in New Mexico and became known for her black-on-black pottery. As a child, Maria learned the centuries-old ways of making traditional Tewa pottery from her aunt Nicholasa. Later in life, Maria and her husband worked to recreate the process used to make the black pottery of her ancestors. Maria became renowned for her particular style of pottery, gaining international recognition that brought Tewa pottery to a wider audience outside of Pueblo communities.
“Téo’s Tutu” by Maryann Jacob Macias, illustrated by Alea Marley
Téo, his mom, and his dad love to dance cumbia and bhangra together, but the prospect of his first ballet class makes Téo nervous. Learning more each week, Téo becomes confident in his dance skills. When it’s finally time for the recital, the class is given the option of picking either a sparkly lavender leotard with tutu or a silver shirt and black pants as the recital costume. Téo is drawn to the sparkly tutu but also grabs the shirt and pants, wary that he might draw negative attention to himself by wearing the tutu. With the support and encouragement of his parents, Téo wears his tutu to the recital. This sweet story explores the importance of being true to oneself and learning how to overcome fears.
“Polly Diamond and the Magic Book” by Alice Kuipers, illustrated by Diana Toledano
Polly Diamond is the type of person who has favorite types of words. She especially likes words that have several meanings. It’s no surprise that she’s a writer too. One day a mysterious notebook arrives at her door. After Polly writes in the notebook, she realizes that the notebook magically writes back. The magic notebook takes anything Polly writes and makes it happen in real life. This power leads to some interesting situations when the book interprets Polly’s words in ways she didn’t intend.
“Crafting Calm: Art and Activities for Mindful Kids” by Megan Borgert-Spaniol and Lauren Kukla,
illustrated by Aruna Rangarajan
With its combination of creativity-based activities and breathing and movement exercises, this book aims to teach readers to be mindful and engage with their thoughts and emotions. The authors do a good job breaking down actions and ways of thinking into steps that guide readers through the process of reflection.
The colorful graphics and illustrations will appeal to readers.
“Many Points of Me” by Caroline Gertler
Georgia’s father was a famous artist, known for creating paintings of asterisms, or star patterns. Georgia’s father dies before finishing his series, but her mother and best friend Theo assure her that his last asterism would have been dedicated to her. One day, Georgia finds one of her father’s sketches and starts exploring the art world of New York City to try to prove the theory that her father’s last sketch was meant for her.
“Any Day with You” by Mae Respicio
Kaia and her friends in California love making movies. Kaia is particularly talented at special effects makeup and loves expressing her creativity through film. At a creative arts camp, Kaia and her friends decide to make a film inspired by the Filipino folk tales they have heard from her great-grandfather Tatang. When Tatang decides he wants to return to the Philippines, Kaia wants to use their film to convince him not to go.
“Big Boned” by Jo Watson
Lori transfers from an art-focused school to Bay Water High, where appearances are everything. Lori’s art takes a completely new direction when she happens to befriend Jake, one of the popular kids at her school. Lori starts to find her voice as an artist, which puts a strain on her relationship with her mother. Lori realizes that sometimes making a statement can be uncomfortable.
“Happily Ever Afters” by Elise Bryant
Sixteen-year-old Tessa loves romance stories, but she realizes that she does not see herself reflected in them. She is accepted to a prestigious writing program at an arts school, but suddenly her inspiration is gone. Tessa’s best friend and biggest fan Caroline suggests that to get inspired again, Tessa may have to find a real-life love story of her own.
Recommendations by Conni L. Strittmatter/Baltimore County Public Library Youth & Family Engagement Manager