What to Read: 11 Children’s Books About Henri Matisse

Do you have plans to study Henri Matisse in your homeschool this year? Today I’m sharing some great children’s books to help you learn about this master artist. 

11 Children’s Books About Henri Matisse

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This list of children’s books about Henri Matisse has good reading options for big kids, little ones, and everyone in between.

Some are nonfiction, but several are picture books that introduce children to the life and art of Henri Matisse. Let’s take a look:

11 Children’s Books About Henri Matisse

1. Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Henri Matisse

A part of Mike Venezia’s Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists series, this one is a great choice if you’re looking for a nonfiction approach to Matisse. Henri Matisse presents Matisse’s life and artistic styles through fun illustrations, reproductions of Matisse’s work, and interesting facts.

11 Children’s Books About Henri Matisse

2. Matisse: The King of Color

My kiddos and I loved learning about Henri Matisse’s incredible role in the design of the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence, France. We have Laurence Anholt’s Matisse: The King of Color to thank for that. It’s a delightful picture book that introduces children to Henri Matisse through the story of the Chapel of the Rosary and lovely reproductions of Matisse’s work.

11 Children’s Books About Henri Matisse

3. A Bird or Two: A Story About Henri Matisse

A Bird or Two is one of my favorite children’s books about Henri Matisse. Through delightful watercolor illustrations and poetic text, author and illustrator Bijou Le Tord tells Matisse’s story in an unforgettable way.

11 Children’s Books About Henri Matisse

4. Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors

Drawing with Scissors from the Smart About Art series is another great nonfiction book about Henri Matisse. The fun thing about this one is that all of the information is presented report-style. Presenting Matisse’s life and art through the eyes of a child goes a long way in keeping kids engaged while they meet Matisse.

11 Children’s Books About Henri Matisse

5. Henri’s Scissors

In Henri’s Scissors, Jeanette Winter uses quotes from Henri Matisse himself and folk-style illustrations to share Matisse’s background and how his famous cutout art came to be.   11 Children’s Books About Henri Matisse

6. A Magical Day with Matisse

Your littlest learners don’t have to be left out when learning about Henri Matisse. A Magical Day with Matisse is a great reading match for little hands and little attention spans because it’s a board book with short, lyrical text and some of Matisse’s most recognized pieces. Hey, that rhymes. 😉

11 Children’s Books About Henri Matisse

7. Colorful Dreamer: The Story of Artist Henri Matisse

This picture book is biographical in nature and thoughtfully illustrated. What I love the most about Colorful Dreamer is the contrast between Henri Matisse’s reality and his imagination in his formative years.

11 Children’s Books About Henri Matisse

8. Matisse Dance for Joy

Would you believe I found two board books about Henri Matisse? As I mentioned above, A Magical Day with Matisse is perfect reading choice for little ones, but Matisse Dance for Joy is worth considering also. Each page is a color-filled experience that little ones are sure to love.

11 Children’s Books About Henri Matisse

9. The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse

Patricia MacLachlan’s The Iridescence of Birds focuses on Henri Matisse’s childhood and early inspirations. The simple, but beautiful text and unique illustrations make this book an especially nice option younger kids learning about Matisse.

11 Children’s Books About Henri Matisse

10. Matisse’s Garden

Matisse’s Garden is another picture book that focuses on how Henri Matisse transformed his walls with some help from lots of paper and scissors. While this one has a similar focus to other titles on this list of children’s books about Matisse, the illustrations and foldout pages set it apart.

11 Children’s Books About Henri Matisse

11. A Weekend with Matisse

Imagine what it would be like to spend time with Henri Matisse and hear about his life and art firsthand. That’s the premise of A Weekend with Matisse. It’s written as if Matisse himself is hosting the reader for a few days.

Be sure to check your local library for this one. It can be difficult to find copies for purchase.

11 Children’s Books About Henri Matisse

Have you studied Henri Matisse with your kids? If so, do you have books you’d add to this list? Let me know in the comments so I can check into them!

Looking for more children’s books about the master artists? Here are some other reading lists I’ve compiled:

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