Creating art projects based on children’s books is a great way to engage children in both reading and creating.
Some picture books just naturally seem to lead to art projects. The stories and images work together to inspire children to create something of their own. They not only create something fun, but they also get to reflect more on the story and gain a deeper understanding of the characters, story line, and the overall message.
by David McKee
If you don’t already know Elmer, he’s a vibrant elephant covered in bright patchwork colors. He’s a little insecure about how different he looks from the other grey elephants, but in the end he learns to appreciate his distinction.
The end of the book shows elephants covered in all types of colors and patterns. What child wouldn’t want to create their own colorful elephant after reading the story of Elmer?
At our house, we ended up with an entire mural of Elmer’s friends in a jungle along with bright pink cats and other animals.
by Ian Falconer
The fabulously spirited Olivia can be a bit overzealous and easily wears out her mother, who enriches her childhood with trips to the beach and the art museum. Olivia heads home from the art museum determined to create her own Jackson Pollack style painting on the walls of her home—which she believes she can do “in about five minutes.”
While the walls may not be the best place to try out Jackson Pollack’s method, children will definitely enjoy giving the method a try on large paper spread across the floor.
My Name Is Georgia
by Jeanette Winter
This serene story gives an overview of Georgia O’Keeffe’s life, starting as a child when she enjoyed spending time alone and going on through the years of her education and life as an artist in the city and in the tranquil West. It illustrates her inspiration and the subject matter she painted. While the illustrations mimic O’Keeffe’s style somewhat, they are not her works. After reading the book children may want to see some pictures of her actual work.
Of course, the natural next step is to create their own version of O’Keeffe’s work, whether the iconic large flowers or perhaps a landscape with bright white clouds.
by Jeanette Winter
By the same author as My Name Is Georgia, Henri’s Scissors follows Henri Matisse throughout his life explaining how his art evolved and how he began his cutout artwork after becoming sick and unable to move around easily. The pages are colorful and capture Matisse’s style.
Naturally, children can pick up a pair of scissors, find a pile of construction paper and set to work creating their own cutout compositions in the style of this iconic artist.
by Emily Gravett
Old Hat is a sweet and colorful story about a dog who can’t seem to keep pace with the other dogs and their hat trends. As soon as he picks up the trend, they’re on to the next and laughing at him in his “old hat.” Of course, there’s a happy ending and a lesson learned.
The silly hats throughout the book provide great inspiration for children to draw or even make their own crazy hat—a hat that is unique and unlike any trendy or “old hats” anyone else has.