By Stephanie Sandoval
Growing up, not only was I the artsy little girl in class, I was also a huge book worm. Reading books was (and still is!) my favorite after school activity because it became a way for me to look at art that was related to my interests. If I wanted to take an adventure with Winnie the Pooh, I could pick up one of A.A. Milne's works and start my journey with my favorite little bear. Or if I felt like getting lost in Paris with my favorite school girl, I would dive into Ludwig Bemelmans's Madeline series. Every story transformed out of the words and phrases on each page and into another world where anything was possible. Though I certainly was unaware of it at the time, this type of engagement was made possible by a book's illustrations. The images on the pages guided my reading, made me excited to turn the page, and even stuck with me as I grew older. To this day, I can't explain in full detail the different journeys that Madeline embarked on, but I can talk about the different yellows and greens (my two favorite colors as a kid) the illustrator/author used in each drawing. I can even describe how each image seemed like a fast-paced sketch that the artist seemed to spew out in minutes, an art technique that I am still inspired by today. So to say that my interest in art first began to peak during my childhood all because of reading is a total understatement!
With the end of the school year just around the corner, your mini-artists may be interested in a summer read that takes them on a new journey, as my favorite children's books did for me. Be sure to take a look at some of my favorite works and help fuel your kiddo's interest in art with their beautiful illustrations and amazing story lines.
1. "Eating the Alphabet" - Lois Ehlert
Perfect for pre-schoolers, this book introduces the alphabet by using different foods. Not only will the vibrantly-colored illustrations make you hungry for a watermelon, but it also introduces the world of culinary arts to your mini-chef! This book may also appeal to the mini-artist who is also interested in participating in our Artistic Foodie summer series at Patricia's Table!
2. "Go Away, Big Green Monster!" - Ed Emberley
Let's be honest, who isn't afraid of scary green monsters? This book encourages kiddos to face their fears and chase away their nightmares as they turn each page to watch this green monster grow and then POOF, disappear! The designs featured in the book will also leave your kiddo feeling eager to turn the page as they watch the monster transform.
3. "Amos & Boris" - William Steig
This classic tale is a story about an unlikely friendship between a whale and a mouse and the adventures they go on together. Awarded in 1971 as New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year, the illustrations will help your child learn about friendship and caring for others.
4. "Leo the Late Bloomer" - Robert Kraus
This tale features a shy tiger who isn't ready to bloom just yet. Take a journey with Leo and discover how this fierce feline tackles on life's problems. If you're looking for a book with colorful illustrations that mimic a summertime vacation on every inch of the page then this is your child's new summer read!
5. "Flotsam" - David Wiesner
Do you have a mini-artist who is also interested in science? This is the perfect story, to not only get your kiddo excited about summer vacation, but to also discover life under the sea in brilliantly colored illustrations.
Don't forget to sign up for Monet & Me's summer art camp sessions where your child can channel their artistic skills and create with us! Mini-Masters Art Camp takes place on June 15th - June 19th and Contemporary Kids Art Camp takes place July 13th - July 17th.
Let's create and learn together this summer!