One way we can increase our art literacy is through books. Today I'm sharing five ridiculously good art books for toddlers and preschoolers. These are all board books that are engaging, they are simple but sophisticated. Often they introduce one concept at a time such as line, shape or colour. I have listed them in order starting with my favourite, but they are all amazing and I highly recommend them!
The language used in these books is absolutely fantastic for building vocabulary and comprehension. My toddler is 21 months old and is in a sensitive period for language. He loves learning the names of things and this is the perfect time to be introducing these art concepts.
A Line Can Be by Laura Ljungkvist. We know it is important for children to learn about line, it is a key art concept. I love that this teaches line but in a toddler relatable way, at the child's level. The vocabulary building is fantastic using words like hard, soft, simple, complicated, up, down, thick, thin, above, below, easy, tricky, clean, messy, straight, curvy, happy and sad. This has led to us using more words when drawing.
Birds and Other Animals with Pablo Picasso in the First Concepts with Fine Artists Series. This is another excellent and exciting book about line. I love this and find it really inspiring. It's a simple book with Picasso's images which are creative and thought-provoking. It's also about perception, form and shape. We can create so much with our imagination and a pencil! This is a fabulous introduction to Picasso.
My First Shapes with Frank Lloyd Wright by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. This is more than about shapes. It is about architecture and geometry. It is bold, modern and brilliant. This is perfect for the toddler as only three shapes are introduced, the circle, square and triangle, it's just enough. All while introducing the very young child to one of the greatest architects of our time.
Blue and Other Colours with Henri Matisse in the First Concepts with Fine Artists Series. This is a good introduction to Matisse. It is all about colours but in the sophisticated Matisse way. It is visually stimulating and not a standard colours book.
My Art Book of Sleep with words by Shana Gozansky. This is one of the books that may also appeal to a much older age group. It contains images of 34 artworks all related to sleep. The artworks vary greatly and it is a nice way to introduce the child to different types of art from pastel on paper, oil on canvas to sculpture, Vincent van Gogh to Keith Haring. Not all children are going to take to it but it is really good exposure to art and a valuable art experience. This would be an excellent gift especially to children of art-loving parents!
I also want to mention the Mini Masters board book series which we also have and enjoy. These are worthwhile books for toddlers and are well used in Montessori communities.