Looking for art appreciation books to read with your kids? These book series are our go-to reads for all of our homeschool art adventures.
*This post contains affiliate links; see disclosure for more information.*
We love turning to children’s books to teach art appreciation and artist study in our homeschool. In particular, we have several series that we rely on time and time again when exploring art or digging into the repertoire of a master artist. This list contains our favorites.
10 Awesome Art Appreciation Book Series for Your Homeschool
Before we jump into the book series, note that the links below all lead to Amazon, but you can also find most of these titles at Bookshop.org if you’d prefer to shop through independent booksellers.
1. Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists
I nearly always start with this artist book series from Mike Venezia when I’m rounding up books for our next artist study. There are more than 20 books in the series. That means we rarely study an artist in our homeschool that Mike Venezia hasn’t featured!
As for the books themselves, each one contains a kid-friendly biography on the artist, photographs of the artist’s work (and sometimes the artists themselves), fun illustrations, and a glossary to define any unfamiliar terms that come up in the book.
2. Anholt’s Artist Books for Children
When we’re learning about a new artist, we work Laurence Anholt’s picture books about artists into our studies whenever possible. These books all share a true story about the featured artist along with lovely illustrations and a short biography.
This isn’t a huge series of artist books, but it’s a series worth visiting if you’re covering one of the following artists:
- Pablo Picasso
- Vincent van Gogh
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Marc Chagall
- Paul Cezanne
- Edgar Degas
- Frida Kahlo
- Henri Matisse
- Claude Monet
3. Can You Find It?
These Can You Find It? books are my favorite homeschool hack for making art happen when things get busy. What’s even better is that they’re also a great way to study a variety of works and develop observation skills.
Each one contains 15-20 paintings and a corresponding list of details or objects to look for within each painting. It may not sound like much, but we’ve found it to be a wonderful way to become familiar with specific works and genres in our time using them.
Here are the titles available through this art appreciation series:
- Can You Find It?
- Can You Find It, Too?
- Can You Find It: America?
- Can You Find It Inside?
- Can You Find It Outside?
Also worth noting, the Come Look with Me series has a similar premise and contains several themed collections like Exploring Landscape Art with Children, Latin American Art, Asian Art, and American Indian Art.
4. Smart About Art
The books in the Smart About Art series are all written from the perspective of a child sharing a report for school. That, along with photos of the artist and artwork, makes them a good choice for kiddos who may not enjoy other approaches to artist study.
- Edgar Degas: Paintings That Dance
- Smart About Art: Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Paintings That Smile
- Vincent van Gogh: Sunflowers and Swirly Stars
- Pablo Picasso: Breaking All the Rules
- Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors
- Claude Monet: Sunshine and Waterlilies
- Frida Kahlo: The Artists Who Painted Herself
5. Art Masterclass
The Art Masterclass series is a newer one on this list, but I LOVE these books. We own the Kandinsky book and have been so pleased with it. It looks at Kandinsky’s works through twelve different lessons and provides exercises and inspiration for creating like Kandinsky.
It also includes custom Kandinskyish stickers for the projects and a large pull-out poster featuring the artwork featured in the Art Masterclass book. Along with Kandinsky, the series currently has books featuring Gustav Klimt, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh.
6. Mini Masters
Your little learners don’t have to be left out of artist study! Instead, introduce them to the master artists through the Mini Masters series. With books on Picasso, Monet, Cassatt, Renoir, and more, these board books are perfect for babies and tots. 🙂
Worth noting, you can buy the Mini Masters books individually or in boxed sets.
7. 13 Artists
The 13 Artists series covers a variety of art topics and focuses on, ahem, 13 artists or specific works within each book. Here’s a look at some of the available titles:
- 13 Artists Children Should Know
- 13 Paintings Children Should Know
- 13 Art Movements Children Should Know
- 13 Art Techniques Children Should Know
- 13 Art Mysteries Children Should Know
- 13 Women Artists Children Should Know
- 13 Sculptures Children Should Know
8. For Kids
While not exclusively an art appreciation series, there are several art-themed books that fall under the For Kids umbrella. In our experience, these books are great for covering biographical elements and artistic distinctions along with other factors that may have influenced the artists themselves.
The activities included in each volume, however, are what sets these apart from other art appreciation books in this list. We’ve never come close to doing them all, but I appreciate having a nice selection of ideas to use while covering these artists.
- Leonardo da Vinci for Kids
- Monet and the Impressionists for Kids
- Van Gogh and the Post-Impressionists for Kids
- Michelangelo for Kids
- Salvador Dali and the Surrealists for Kids
- Frida Kahlo and Deigo Rivera for Kids
9. Katie books
All of James Mayhew’s Katie books aren’t about art, but the majority of them are and that’s why I’m happy to include them here.
These sweet picture books feature a curious girl named Katie and follow her as she explores famous works of art through various museum visits.
10. What Makes a ….?
This series explores twelve works from a specific artist and digs into style, composition, and color usage to help children identify the common characteristics between them all.
Here are a few of the What Makes a …? titles you can find:
- What Makes a Raphael a Raphael?
- What Makes a Goya a Goya?
- What Makes a Picasso a Picasso?
- What Makes a Rembrandt a Rembrandt?
- What Makes a van Gogh a van Gogh?
- What Makes a Leonardo a Leonardo?
Keep in mind that this art appreciation series is out of print. That means your best bet is to borrow them from your local library or buy used copies of the books when possible.
What about you? Do you have a favorite series of art appreciation books that I haven’t mentioned here? If so, I’d love to hear from you.
Need more help teaching art appreciation in your homeschool? Take a look at these: