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12 Children’s Books that Spark Creativity

From teaching basic shapes and colors to learning about famous artists and self-expression, these children’s books will encourage your child to think outside the box.

“Little Artist Board Book” by Mudpuppy & Emily Kleinman

Ages: Baby-3. This board book set is comprised of colorfully illustrated portraits of visual and performing artists who have made historical impacts on the world. It introduces children to these inspiring artists throughout history with four pull-out sections: painters, sculptors, musicians and performers.

“My First Shapes with Frank Lloyd Wright” by Mudpuppy

Ages: Baby-3. Frank Lloyd Wright used basic geometric shapes as the foundation for his modern architecture. This book teaches basic shapes alongside this famous architect with each chapter tab focusing on one of three basics shapes: circle, square or triangle.

“Splatter” by Diane Alber

Ages: 3-6. Red, Yellow and Blue have a hard time working together and realize that teamwork can be pretty tricky to figure out. They have to overcome several obstacles, but learn that with a willingness to try and a little perseverance, they are able to work as a team and appreciate each other’s differences too!

“Bello the Cello” by Dennis Mathew

Ages: 3-6. What’s my song? Will I fit in? These are the questions a young Cello named Bello asks himself as he tries to navigate the novelties of his first day at school. When inspiration from the magical sounds of his new classmates mixes with the encouragement and the gentle nudge of other whimsical characters, Bello arrives at the discovery of his gift, the magic of his song.

“Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire” by Amy Guglielmo & Jacqueline Tourville

Ages 4-8. From her imaginative childhood to her career as an illustrator, designer and animator for Walt Disney Studios, Mary wouldn’t play by the rules. At a time when studios wanted to hire men and think in black and white, Mary painted twinkling emerald skies, peach giraffes with tangerine spots and magenta horses that could fly. This book showcases how Mary painted her world.

“Lola Dutch When I Grow Up” by Kenneth Wright

Ages 4-8. Lola Dutch has many ideas for what she wants to be when she grows up! She could be a magnificent performer, a daring inventor or a brilliant botanist … there are exciting ideas all around! But Lola is too excited, she wants to try everything. How will she ever decide what she is destined to become? In this story, Lola Dutch is inspired to imagine every way to explore the wonder of her world.

“Pete the Cat’s World Tour” by James Dean

Ages 4-8. Pete the Cat and his band have packed up their bags and are ready to perform all over the globe. From Mexico to Iceland, Pete and his friends get a taste of what each country has to offer, broadening their minds and inspiring them to try new things.

“Marianthe’s Story: Painted Words and Spoken Memories”

Ages: 4-8. This picture book follows Marianthe, a Greek girl who doesn’t understand English, as she starts school in the U.S. Marianthe is frustrated about being unable to communicate with her peers. But, her teacher encourages her to paint her words, and little by little she finds ways to share her story with her classmates through a little bit of creativity.

“What If…” by Samantha Berger

Ages: 4-8. This girl is determined to express herself! If she can’t draw her dreams, she’ll sculpt or build, carve or collage. If she can’t do that, she’ll turn her world into a canvas. And if everything around her is taken away, she’ll sing, dance and dream.

“Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects” by Jack Challooner

Ages 8-12. Each step-by-step activity in this book is ranked easy, medium or hard, with an estimated time frame for completion. Requiring only household materials, young makers can build an exploding volcano, race balloon rocket cars, construct a lemon battery, make sticky slime and more.

“The Lego Architect” by Tom Alphin

Ages 10-12. In this book, readers get to travel through the history of architecture. Learn about styles like Art Deco, Modernism and High-Tech and find inspiration in galleries of LEGO models. Then, take a turn at building 12 models in a variety of styles. Snap together some bricks and learn architecture the fun way!

“A History of Pictures for Children: From Cave Paintings to Computer Drawings” by David Hockney & Martin Gayford

Ages 10-12. This book takes young readers on an adventure through art history. From cave paintings to video games, this book shows how and why pictures have been made, linking art to the human experience. Each piece of art in the book is fully explained, helping young minds grasp difficult concepts.

About WF

Washington FAMILY Staff

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