If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, ARTNews may receive an affiliate commission.
A visit to the museum is a tried and true diversion for children, but this first visit does not guarantee unparalleled success. You are likely to experience one of three possible outcomes: 1) the child hates it and wants to leave immediately; 2) the child is often indifferent but sees some things he thinks are cool, and that – plus a trip to the museum cafeteria for an expensive burger – saves the effort; or 3) the child loves it and doesn’t want to go when it’s time to leave. The latter is clearly the most preferred scenario, and most likely to suggest a budding lover of art. But what better way to keep kids engaged and wanting to come back for more—or better yet, to convince rebellious youth to try art again? The answer is easy: get them an art history book written for children. There are a lot of things that target every age group from toddlers to teens. We have compiled a list of the best bets in order to develop a taste for art.
Joanne Holub and Danielle Rudd, This Little Artist: An Introductory Art History Book
If you want to spark an interest in art from the start, this brightly colored introduction to the topic is perfect for children ages one to five. Part of a series of books that focus on important historical figures such as presidents, explorers, scientists, This little artist It features art history icons, presented as children themselves. It’s a group of history-altering figures, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Frida Kahlo, Michelangelo, Picasso, and Andy Warhol, among others, all rendered by painter Daniel Rudd in crisp mid-century-style drawings. Each artist gets a spread with short overlapping texts and captions by Joanne Holub, author of more than 180 children’s books. The large writing design makes it easy and fun to follow for kids who are just starting to read.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, ABC Museum
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York contains more than two million works spanning 5,000 years of global culture, so there were plenty of treasures to choose from for this book, which uses objects found in The Met’s vast holdings to teach the alphabet to young children. A word is assigned to each letter illustrated on a opposing page detailing four different artistic and historical masterpieces. “A is for Apple,” for example, is accompanied by Roy Lichtenstein red apple (1983) and Paul Cézanne An apple (1878-1879), while “N stands for nose” matches a prominent Giorgio de Chirico portrait of a schnoz in profile. Also found here are works by stars such as Chagall, Degas, Hiroshige, and Monet, along with antiquities and historical pieces from China, Egypt, Greece, India, Persia, and more. entirely, ABC MuseumUp to 60 pages packed in 104 color copies.
Sharna Jackson Black artists are shaping the world
Only in the past several decades did artists of color receive due serious notice. In this 2021 book, award-winning children’s author Sharna Jackson provides a brief introduction to 26 contemporary artists from Africa and the African diaspora working in painting, ceramics, installation art, painting, performance, photography, and sculpture. Featured Artists represent some of the important names for the past 50 years. Selected by Jackson with the assistance of Zoé Whitley of the Tate Modern (co-curator of the historical exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963–1983”), the list includes black artists from Britain and America, such as Turner Prize winner Chris Ofili, Kerry James Marshall, Faith Reingold, along with artists from Africa such as South African photographer Zanelli Moholi. Their stories are told in easy-to-follow images and text laid out in a brightly colored layout. For ages nine to twelve.
Stephen Farthing (Editor), Art: the full story
This book offers a beginner’s introduction to art history for anyone interested, but it makes our list because it also provides a great introduction to the subject for older children. It weighs 576 pages with over 1,100 color copies, Art: the full story It takes a period-by-period approach to art history with a brief analysis of individual objects, providing details of technique, subject matter, and artist (where it is known). The text covers every genre, from painting and sculpture to conceptual and performance art and includes a timeline that provides historical context. Compiled with the help of leading scholars and curators in the field, the book serves as a reference guide that can be used without reading the cover for the cover. lively and accessible, Art: the full story It will become the transition volume to art for your child.
Jackie Klein and Susie Klein, What is contemporary art? guide for kids
MMA’s collection of work from the past 60 years provides a summary of this commentary, intended for ages eight and up. Organized by theme with child-friendly subject titles such as “Light Fantastic,” “Black Holes and Moon Rocks,” and “Play Games,” the book ranges across all media and genres (including painting, sculpture, film, photography, performance, and installation) and follows An eclectic approach to understanding a field that regularly leaves adults confused, betting that kids will get it. John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, Jeff Koons, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol are just some of the artists whose work (about 70 in total) has been reproduced in full color in this beautifully designed, oversized format. It was co-authored by a former curator at the Hayward Gallery, London, What is contemporary art? Stuffed with more than enough information to answer the titular question.
Vereen Gibson, Ultimate Art Museum
This children’s introduction to art history from Phaidon is organized as a fictional museum complete with a floor plan that young readers can navigate to learn about art from prehistoric times to the present. The book divides its fictional establishment into three pavilions, 18 galleries, and 129 rooms, through which readers can “walk” to find objects spanning 40,000 years. The numbered map is also used as a table of contents, with titles such as “Postmodern and Contemporary Art” divided into subsections such as “Girl Power” covering feminist art, and “Hall of Selfies” reproducing self-portraits of Frida Kahlo and Cindy Sherman as cell phone images . While this imagined museum is not meant to resemble any real-world institution, author Vereen Gibson, an American living in London who wrote the book during the Covid lockdown, was inspired by previous trips to The Met in New York, and the Louvre in Paris. and other great museums. For ages 8 to 12 years old.
Anthony F. Janson, Art history for young people
Usually found in the backpacks of college freshmen on their way to Art History 101, HW Janson’s art history It was first published in 1962 and quickly became the introductory text on the topic. In 1987 Janson’s son, Anthony, reworked his capable father’s volume for young readers. Now in its seventh edition, the book takes the same encyclopedic approach as the original, covering achievements in art from cave murals to performance art. Masterpieces from Ancient Egypt, Classical Greece, and the Italian Renaissance are just some of the works that make up the more than 600 illustrations affixed to the pages of the book, which encompasses all mediums, including architecture, painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture. Like his father, the author takes a European view of art history. But despite this bias, Art history for young people Serves as a vital and highly accessible reference volume for beginners.