Introducing children to the fine arts through literature is a meaningful way to connect them to the artistic world. Through beautiful, vibrant illustrations, woven in with music and cultural references, the world of visual arts, music, and dance can be opened to children and can help to get their own creativity flowing.
Below we have compiled a list of books that evoke an understanding and appreciation of beauty and culture through their rich story lines, illustrations and references to music. Art can have a positive impact on a community. Everyone benefits by creating beautiful places and things and that is an important message for children.
Little Chickies/Los Pollitos, written & illustrated by Susie Jaramillo, Infant/Toddler: This charming children’s book is based on a popular Spanish children’s song. Mama hen feeds and warms her chicks until they are ready to sleep. The rhyming and “lift the flap pages” make it an irresistible read. If you don’t know the song “Los Pollitos” yet, you will be singing along by the end of the book.
Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood, written by F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael López, Preschool: Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California, this book explores the power of art in the community. Mira, the main character, uses her love of art to spread joy in her neighborhood and inspire others to add color to the world around them. This delightful story brings out the artist in all of us!
Ada’s Violin, written by Susan Hood, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport, School-Age: This is a true story about a community built around a landfill. Favio Chavez wants to teach the children to play instruments. He and the town folk have little money; however, they do have discarded items in the landfill. Thus is born the recycled orchestra. A town, whose existence is built upon trash, becomes an inspiration for hope around the world.
Blue and Other Colors: With Henri Matisse, published by First Concepts, Infant & Toddler: This book teaches young readers about colors while exposing them to fine arts on each page. The book title may have the word “blue” in it, but readers will be anything but sad while experiencing this artistic book.
Itsy Bitsy Spider, written & illustrated by Emily Bannister, Infant & Toddler: A new spin on an old classic that tiny hands will revel in. Children can touch and trace shapes on each page as they enjoy the traditional nursery rhymes including Itsy Bitsy Spider, Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Six Little Ducks and others!