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Start with a Book

Ricky Rocket

Books and activities for summer reading and learning from Reading Rockets

Start With a Book: Books and activities for summer reading and summer learning

Children's books and activities

Art and Artists

Do you know any kids who love to draw, paint, make prints, and build things out of clay and paper? We've gathered up a great collection of books, activities, apps, and websites for learning all about art and some of the famous artists who create it.

Try pairing fiction with nonfiction books and exploring different genres (like poetry and biographies) and formats (like graphic novels and audio books). You'll be creating your own "text sets" — collections of texts focused on a specific topic, such as art and artists. Reading widely in this way helps children build background knowledge, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

Art and Artists

Great Fiction & Nonfiction Books

Age Level: 3-6 years old

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1 2 3: I Can Make Prints!

By: Irene Luxbacher

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Clearly organized instructions provide not only the know-how but ideas on how to make prints from...

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1-2-3 I Can Collage!

By: Irene Luxbacher

Age Level: 3-6 years old

A brief explanation of what collage is and a list of readily available materials begins a can-do...

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A World of Colors: Seeing Colors in a New Way

By: Marie Houblon

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Crisp, color photographs of people and places from around the world are used to introduce and...

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Animals: A First Art Book

By: Lucy Micklethwait

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Young children will delight in seeing familiar animals in their natural habitats, portrayed in the...

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Art

By: Patrick McDonnell

Age Level: 3-6 years old

A young artist named Art lives up to his name and takes the reader on a vibrant journey where...

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Begin at the Beginning: A Little Artist Learns About Life

By: Amy Schwartz

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Sara has initial hesitations when she is asked to create a painting for the class art show. But...

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Brush of the Gods

By: Lenore Look

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Inspired by an actual artist, Wu Daozi's brush created images that seemed to come alive. Travel...

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Colores de la Vida

By: Cynthia Weill

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Animal sculptures on carefully composed pages with the color words provide a fine introduction...

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Colorful Dreamer: The Story of Artist Henri Matisse

By: Marjorie Blain Parker

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Long ago, a bespectacled boy dreamed of color in his drab industrial French town. Henri's world...

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Cooking Art: Easy Edible Art for Young Children

By: Mary Ann Kohl, Jean Potter

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Art is meant to be enjoyed, and sometimes even eaten! Create, then consume, the attractive,...

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Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes

By: Hena Khan

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Handsomely illustrated, shapes both simple (square, rectangle) and complex (cone, hexagon) are...

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Drawn Together

By: Mihn Lê

Age Level: 3-6 years old

A child visits his grandfather but has trouble communicating; they literally don’t speak the...

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Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors

By: Hena Khan

Age Level: 3-6 years old

This picture book celebrates Islam's beauty and traditions. From a red prayer rug to a blue...

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Josefina

By: Jeanette Winter

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Count along in English and Spanish with a Mexican folk artist as she sculpts her world from clay...

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Lily Brown's Paintings

By: Angela Johnson

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Lily Brown loves her family and the world they share, but she also loves to paint and travel the...

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Magritte's Marvelous Hat

By: D.B. Johnson

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Meet Magritte who "One bright day in the dark of the night," saw a "marvelous hat" that became his...

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Maybe Something Beautiful

By: F. Isabel Campoy, Theresa Howell

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Mira brings color and builds community through her beautiful art which she first gives to...

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Mix It Up!

By: Herve Tullet

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Are you ready to shake and mix to make new colors? “Tap the gray spot…to see what happens.”...

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Monsters Love Colors

By: Mike Austin

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Benign-looking, cheerful creatures love playing with color as they lend red, blue and yellow to...

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Painting the Wind

By: Paticia MacLachlan, Emily MacLachlan

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Summer has finally arrived to the young narrator’s island home. With it come four different...

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The Dot

By: Peter Reynolds

Age Level: 3-6 years old

This clever tale follows two child artists, Vashti and Ramon, through the creative process. Though...

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The Pot that Juan Built

By: Nancy Andrews-Goebel

Age Level: 3-6 years old

A cumulative poem (in the cadence of "The House that Jack Built") chronicles the work and life...

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Visiting the Art Museum

By: Laurene Krasny Brown

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Enjoy Van Gogh, Picasso, primitive and contemporary art, sculpture, and more with a boy, a girl...

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Age Level: 6-9 years old

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The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon: The True Story of Alan Bean

By: Dean Robbins

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Alan Bean was not the first but the fourth man to walk on the moon. However, he was the first...

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A Book About Design: Complicated Doesn’t Make It Good

By: Mark Gonyea

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Attractive, bold and crisp visuals, and a limited text in ten short chapters introduce art and...

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A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

By: Jen Bryant

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Horace Pippin was born in Pennsylvania in the late 19th century to become a talented — and...

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Action Jackson

By: Jan Greenberg, Sandra Jordan

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Illustrations and text bring to life the work and impact of Jackson Pollack in this riveting...

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An Eye for Color: The Story of Josef Albers

By: Natasha Wing

Age Level: 6-9 years old

As a child, "Josef Albers saw art in the simplest things…" His interest in color and the way...

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Art from Her Heart

By: Kathy Whitehead, Shane Evans

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Self-taught artist Clementine Hunter used paint and canvas to record life in the rural south....

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Building on Nature: The Life of Antoni Gaudí

By: Rachel Rodriguez

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Short sentences tell of the architect's boyhood in Catalonia, his love of nature, and his early...

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Chasing Vermeer

By: Blue Balliett

Age Level: 6-9 years old

As mysterious things happen in and around their Chicago school, Petra and Calder use their...

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Creative Crafts for Kids

By: Gill Dickinson

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Crisp color photographs with numbered instructions and recommended ages make this extensive...

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Diego

By: Jonah Winter

Age Level: 6-9 years old

The early life of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera is presented in simple, yet revealing language...

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Dreamer from the Village: The Story of Marc Chagall

By: Michelle Markel

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Artist Marc Chagall’s early life is represented through engaging narrative and illustrations that...

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Easy-to-Make Pop-Ups

By: Joan Irvine

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Make a special card or gift that really stands out — or pops up, literally! Easy to follow...

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Edward Hopper Paints His World

By: Robert Burleigh

Age Level: 6-9 years old

In an afterword, the author asks if an artist can be a hero or an explorer. The answer is sure...

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Faith Ringgold

By: Mike Venezia

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A biography of the artist Faith Ringgold (Tar Beach) for young readers. Cartoon-style...

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Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos book cover

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos

By: Monica Brown

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Featuring charming visuals and lively, often lyrical prose, this picture book introduces Mexican...

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Gugu's House

By: Catherine Stock

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Set in Zimbabwe, Kukamba leaves the city to visit her grandmother, Gugu, in her small village....

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Hand Art

By: Rachel Tandy

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Create bugs, birds, and more, starting with a pattern of your hand. Easy directions provide...

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I Spy Colors in Art

By: Lucy Micklethwait

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A familiar game focuses the reader's eye on fine art, ranging from Picasso to Velaszquez — with...

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In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage

By: Alan Schroeder

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Augusta Savage was a born artist, making clay figures even as a child. She pursued her passion,...

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It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw

By: Don Tate

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A former slave and sharecropper Bill Traylor moved to the city after his wife's death. Though he...

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Jacob Lawrence

By: Mike Venezia

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A brief, conversational biography of the contemporary African-American artist Lawrence (The...

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Let's Make It Pop-Up

By: David Carter, James Diaz

Age Level: 6-9 years old

All of the supplies are provided, along with explicit directions to make a variety of pop-ups...

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Look! Body Language in Art

By: Gillian Wolfe

Age Level: 6-9 years old

How does classical art relate to contemporary children? By recognizing that there are universal...

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Magical Life of Mr. Renny

By: Leo Timmers

Age Level: 6-9 years old

With the help of a little bit of magic, Mr. Renny's paintings come to life, literally. But when...

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Masterpiece Mix

By: Roxie Munro

Age Level: 6-9 years old

As an artist lays out tools needed to paint, she seeks inspiration from the masters. Along the...

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Museum Trip

By: Barbara Lehman

Age Level: 6-9 years old

When a boy in a red sweatshirt lags behind his classmates on a field trip to an art museum, he...

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My Name is Georgia: A Portrait

By: Jeannette Winter

Age Level: 6-9 years old

"When I was twelve years old, I knew what I wanted — to be an artist." So begins this lovely...

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My Pen

By: Christopher Myers

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A boy in a fedora uses his pen to travel, grow, “make giants of old men/who have seen better...

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Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci

By: Gene Baretta

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Even though Leonardo da Vinci lived a long time ago (born in 15th century Florence), his ideas...

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Piñata Maker/el piñatero

By: George Ancona

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Fiestas often involve puppets, masks, and piñatas. Meet Tio Rico, the elderly piñata maker in a...

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Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

By: Javaka Steptoe

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Jean-Michel Basquiat, an American artist born of a Haitian father and a Brooklyn born mother of...

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Ralph Masiello's Ancient Egypt Drawing Book

By: Ralph Masiello

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Information about the symbols, emblems, and gods from Ancient Egypt is included with step-by-step...

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Sandy's Circus: A Story about Alexander Calder

By: Tanya Lee Stone

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Alexander Calder — Sandy — had a vivid imagination and a fascination with the circus; his...

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The Bluest of Blues: Anna Atkins and the First Book of Photographs

By: Fiona Robinson

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Born in England in the early 19th century, Anna was encouraged by her father to observe, study,...

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The Book of Mistakes

By: Corinna Luyken

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A mistake: a splat of ink. In fact, “it started with one mistake.” That mistake became a...

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The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons

By: Natashcha Biebow

Age Level: 6-9 years old

You may not have heard of Edwin Binney but chances are you’ve used his invention: Crayola...

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The First Drawing

By: Mordicai Gerstein

Age Level: 6-9 years old

An illustration of a contemporary boy with pencil in hand stands in front of a blank piece of...

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The Great Art Caper

By: Victoria Jamieson

Age Level: 6-9 years old

GW, the hamster enjoys his evenings with his animal friends and is even beginning to like the...

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The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane

By: C.M. Millen

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Brother Theophane is unlike the other monks in the mountains of Mourne (Ireland). While most...

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The Jumbo Book of Outdoor Art

By: Irene Luxbacher

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Full-color illustrations combine with clear instructions organized into four sections drawn from...

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The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art

By: Barb Rosenstock

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Vasya Kandinsky's creative life was profoundly shaped by his ability to experience colors as sounds...

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The Secret Cave: Discovering Lascaux

By: Emily Arnold McCully

Age Level: 6-9 years old

While looking for gold, four French boys accidentally discovered what was to be considered the...

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The Sound of Colors

By: Jimmy Liao

Age Level: 6-9 years old

As a girl's sight is slipping away, she realizes that color and images continue to live in her...

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Vincent Can't Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky

By: Barb Rosenstock

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Vincent Van Gogh often had trouble sleeping. As a child, his parents fussed but Vincent...

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Viva Frida

By: Yuyi Morales

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Examine Frida Kahlo’s artistic process and her life filled with laughter, love, and tragedy....

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Wanda Gag, the Girl Who Lived to Draw

By: Deborah Ray

Age Level: 6-9 years old

The author/illustrator of much-loved picture books is introduced here from her Minnesota...

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What Can You Do With a Paper Bag?

By: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Age Level: 6-9 years old

With a paper bag and a few other supplies, kids can make history come to life, travel to far-off...

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Words with Wings: A Treasury of African-American Poetry and Art

By: Belinda Rochelle

Age Level: 6-9 years old

African-American poetry and art take wing and soar in this collection compiled by Belinda...

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World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from the Metropolitan Museum

By: Lee Bennett Hopkins

Age Level: 6-9 years old

What does a piece of art make you feel? This is what the poet/editor, Lee Bennett Hopkins, asked...

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Yellowstone Moran: Painting the American West

By: Lita Judge

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Tom Moran dreamed of seeing the western United States, painting places that were unknown to most...

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Age Level: 9-12 years old

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Andy Warhol : Prince of Pop

By: Jan Greenberg, Sandra Jordan

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Andy Warhol became well-known as an artist whose impact on pop culture continues to be felt....

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Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Through the Gates and Beyond

By: Jan Greenberg, Sandra Jordan

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Orange fabric created The Gates which unfurled in New York’s Central Park to temporarily...

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Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph

By: Roxanne Orgill

Age Level: 9-12 years old

In 1958, photographer Art Kane gathered up a who’s who of jazz musicians on a New York City...

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Lives of the Artists: Masterpieces, Messes (and What the Neighbors Thought)

By: Kathleen Krull

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Short, clever, sometimes irreverent snapshots introduce a range of artists and their...

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Meet Matisse

By: Jean-Vincent Senac

Age Level: 9-12 years old

An unnamed narrator dreams he has visited the studio of artist Henri Matisse where he meets the...

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Murals: Walls That Sing

By: George Ancona

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Ancona takes a look at Latino and Hispanic murals within the United States in this fascinating...

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Stone Giant: Michelangelo’s David and How He Came to Be

By: Jane Sutcliffe

Age Level: 9-12 years old

In Renaissance Florence, Michelangelo transforms a block of marble that no one knew what to do with...

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The Inker’s Shadow

By: Allen Say

Age Level: 9-12 years old

The author/illustrator’s look back at his early years started in...

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The Secret World of Walter Anderson

By: Hester Bass

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Walter Anderson "may be the most famous American artist you've never heard of." But he and his...

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You Call That Art?!

By: David Carter

Age Level: 9-12 years old

In an attractive, sturdy package, readers are invited to learn about the history of sculpture...

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