I started compiling a top ten list of my favorite children’s literature that has art themes. These books are not linked to any lessons I teach, they are simply great books I’ll pull out near the end of a class and we’ll have a read. As my top ten grew I noticed that these three books stood out way above the others so I thought I’d take a moment to share them first.
1. The number ONE best book EVER is, of course Art Dog, by Thatcher Hurd. By day Author is a mild mannered guard at the Dogopolis Museum of Art, but on nights when the moon is full he turns into… Art Dog! Every year students ask me to read them Art Dog and over the years I’ve gotten good at dramatic voice inflections and pauses. In the big “fight” scene I make the action 3D by making paintbrush swooshing sounds and moving the book towards them, away from them and ultimately turning the page upside down and back again.
2. Regina’s Big Mistake, by Marissa Moss. Regina has to make a picture of a jungle with the rest of her class but struggles throughout the whole process coming up with ideas of her own and making mistakes every step of the way. Read this book early in the school year. It can be calming for the students who are silently struggling through their art lessons and going through the same frustrations as Regina. Walking in her shoes and seeing how she ultimately resolves all her problems celebrates the problem solving process and encourages students to not give up.
3. I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!, by Karen Beaumont. If, at the end of this book, someone doesn’t say, “Read it again!” I’ll say, “Wanna read it again?!” And we do! One beautiful singsong book the students finish the rhyme to every page. Very engaging, and oh, what a naughty, naughty little boy that everyone reading the book, including me, wishes he/she could be!
Note: If I have a really challenging class I’ll occasionally start the class with everyone on the floor and we’ll read a book. It calms everyone down and after the book the students are listening so I can introduce the lesson we will be working on that class. Usually I prefer to read when we’re all cleaned up at the end though… I like the idea of them mulling over the book as they walk out of the art room, a quiet celebration of art in the world, in this case, as seen through the eyes of a dog and two boys.
Your school library might have these books already in your building.
Check them out and see what you think… Enjoy!
Now… what are YOUR all time favorites?