If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, ARTNews may receive an affiliate commission.
Visiting a museum is a tried and true practice for kids, but that first visit isn’t guaranteed to be an unexpected success. You will probably face one of three possible outcomes: 1) The child hates you and wants to leave immediately; 2) The kid usually doesn’t care but sees a few things he thinks are fun, and that—along with a trip to the museum cafeteria for an overpriced burger—saves the effort; or 3) the child loves it and doesn’t want to leave when it’s time to go. Obviously, the latter is the most desirable position, and it may give the impression of a person who likes pictures. But what’s the best way to keep kids engaged and wanting to come back for more—or better yet, to convince reluctant teens to give art another go? Simple answer: Get them an art history book written for children. There are loads, aimed at every age group from child to teenager. We have compiled a list of the best beds with an eye to developing an artistic taste.
Joan Holub and Daniel Roode, This Young Artist: An Art History Board Book
If you want to spark an interest in art from an early age, this colorful introduction to the subject is perfect for tykes aged one to five. Part of a series of board books focusing on important historical figures such as presidents, explorers and scientists, This Little Artist it contains art history images, presented as children themselves. It’s a star-studded group of stars, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Frida Kahlo, Michelangelo, Picasso, and Andy Warhol, among others, all rendered by artist Daniel Roode in mid-century classics. Each artist is introduced with short rhyming verses and explanatory notes by Joan Holub, author of more than 180 children’s books. The large-format format makes it easy and fun for young readers to follow.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, The ABC Museum
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has over two million works spanning 5,000 years of world culture, so there were many treasures to choose from for this book, which uses objects found in The Met’s holdings to teach the alphabet to young children. . Each letter is assigned a word displayed on a page opposite to information from four different historical works of art. “A is for Apple,” for example, parallels Roy Lichtenstein’s The apple is red (1983) and Paul Cézanne’s Apples (1878-79), while “N is for Nose” is accompanied by Giorgio de Chirico’s prominent schnoz painting in profile. Works by luminaries such as Chagall, Degas, Hiroshige, and Monet are also here, along with antiques and historical pieces from China, Egypt, Greece, India, Persia, and more. In general, The ABC Museumit goes to 60 pages with 104 color pictures.
Sharna Jackson, Black Artists Shape the World
Only in the last few decades have artists of color received the serious notice they deserve. In this book from 2021, award-winning children’s author, Sharna Jackson, provides a brief introduction to 26 contemporary African and non-African artists working in painting, ceramics, art installation, painting, performance, photography and sculpture. The featured artists represent a who’s who of the most important names of the past 50 years. Selected by Jackson with the help of Tate Modern’s Zoé Whitley (co-curator of the landmark exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983”), the list includes Black artists who from Britain and America, such as Turner Prize winner Chris Ofili, Kerry James Marshall, and Faith Ringgold, as well as artists from Africa such as South African photographer Zanele Muholi. Their stories are told through easy-to-follow pictures and text set in a brightly colored format. For ages nine to twelve.
Stephen Farthing (editor), Art: The Whole Story
This book provides a beginner’s introduction to art history for anyone interested, but it makes our list because it also provides a good introduction to the subject for older children. It has 576 pages with more than 1,100 colors, Art: The Whole Story takes a periodical approach to art history with a brief analysis of individual objects, providing information on style, subject and artist (where known). The text covers every genre, from painting and sculpture to conceptual art and performance art and includes a timeline that provides historical context. Compiled with the help of leading experts and curators in the field, this book serves as a reference guide that can be used without reading cover to cover. It is airy and accessible, Art: The Whole Story it will become your child’s voice in art.
Jacky Klein and Suzy Klein, What is Contemporary Art? Children’s Guide
The Museum of Modern Art’s collection of works from the past 60 years provides grist for this commentator, who is intended for ages eight and up. Organized thematically under child-friendly themes such as “Light Fantastic,” “Black Holes and Moon Rocks,” and “Playing Games,” the book covers all mediums and genres (including painting, sculpture, film, photography, performance, and installation) and takes a unique approach to making sense of a field that often leaves adults confused, betting that kids will get it. John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, Jeff Koons, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol are among the artists whose works (about 70 in all) are reproduced in full color in this oversized volume. and beautifully crafted. Written by the former curator of London’s Hayward Gallery, What is Contemporary Art? it is full of enough information to answer the main question.
Ferren Gipson, The Ultimate Art Museum
This introduction to art history from Phaidon is organized like a fantasy museum with a floor plan that young readers can navigate to learn about art from antiquity to the present. The book divides its imaginary center into three wings, 18 galleries and 129 rooms, which readers can “walk through” to discover objects spanning 40,000 years. The numbered map also serves as a table of contents, with topics like “Postmodern and Contemporary Art” divided into sections like “Girl Power,” which covers women’s art, and “Hall of Selfies,” which presenting your paintings of Frida Kahlo and. Cindy Sherman as cell phone pictures. Although the envisioned museum is not meant to be like any other global institution, author Ferren Gipson, an American living in London who wrote a book during the Covid lockdown, was inspired by previous trips to The Met New York, the Louvre in Paris. , and other major museums. For ages 8 to 12.
Anthony F. Johnson, Art History for Young People
It is often found in the backpacks of college freshmen on their way to Art History 101, HW Janson’s. History of Art it was first published in 1962, and soon became the first book on the subject. In 1987 Janson’s son Anthony adapted his father’s magisterial tome for younger readers. Now in its seventh edition, the book takes the same encyclopedic approach as the first, covering artistic achievements from cave paintings to performance art. Masterpieces from ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and Renaissance Italy are among the more than 600 works of art listed in the pages of this book, which covers all media, including architecture, drawing, painting, photography and sculpture. Like his father, the author takes a Eurocentric view of art history. But despite this bias, Art History for Young People serves as a valuable and accessible reference volume for beginners.