Early Elementary Books

Theme: An Artist's Style

Black and White - (ISBN: 978-0618636877)

by David Macauley

The author uses seemingly unrelated black and white images to tell a series of stories. The story is different each time you look at it, and the story is different for each person who takes up the book. Author Macauley is trying to teach readers and viewers how important your interaction is with art objects. Enjoy telling the story aloud as you experience the pages with your family members. Each of you may have a different tale. Are the four “stories” related?

Ish - (ISBN: 978-0763623449)

by Peter Reynolds

Readers learn that drawings do not really have to look like what they represent. The vase can be “vase-ish,” and the sky, “afternoon-ish.” Ramon loves to draw, and he loves learning that his own vision and attempts at creative expression are just as valid as realistic or photographic re-creation of an object. Have each person in your family draw the same object. How does each person’s vision differ?

Me, Frida - (ISBN: 978-0810989696)

by Amy Novesky

During the year painter Frida Kahlo spends with her artist husband Diego Rivera in San Francisco, she turns her homesickness for the sights and sounds of Mexico into reflecting her new setting in her art. Kahlo’s powerful personality rivals that of her physically overwhelming and famous husband; her artistic creation express her Mexican roots and pride as well as incorporating, in her own style, the city she is visiting. Try to find the tiny pink bird on nearly every page. It symbolizes Frida’s size and artistic wholeness compared to that of her oversized husband.

Painting the Wind - (ISBN: 978-0060297985)

by Patricia MacLachlan

The interactions of a young male artist with the summer painters on his island reveal a lot about how each one’s character influences his or her painting style, choice of subject matter, and world view. The illustrations mirror choices of brushes, color, techniques, and subject matter. The narrator fulfills his wish to “paint the wind” in his own style, influenced by those around him. Take your paints or markers and create your own version of how you “see” the wind.

The Sound of Colors - (ISBN: 978-0316939928)

by Jimmy Liao

A young Chinese girl who is losing her vision uses her imagination to create “paintings” of things she can no longer see. She relies on her sense of sound to help her create the pictures. She explores the world by combining her sensory reactions with her fertile imaginings. Try closing your eyes and sitting for a few minutes. What type of “painting” can you see from what you hear? Try putting it on paper.

Action Jackson - (ISBN: 978-0312367510)

by Jan Greenberg

Dave the Potter - (ISBN: 978-0316107310)

by Laban Carrick Hill

Here's Looking at Me: How Artists See Themselves - (ISBN: 9780761334040)

by Bob Raczka

Picture This: How Pictures Work - (ISBN: 978-1587170300)

by Molly Bang

Activities for this Theme

Try a variety of fun painting projects


Read what writer artist Chris Van Allsberg has to say about developing his artistic style


Make a photo collage of members of your family