9 Art Books for Children

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Recently I did a little research for an Instagram feature and in the process I came across a lot of beautiful picture books all related to art. Everything from artist biographies, to alphabet books, to imaginative stories championing creativity in many formats. Most of the books I immediately wanted to add to our personal collection! Which, for me, is the mark of a good book. Next time you are stumped for something to read may I suggest grabbing a stack of children's books related to a single topic. Guaranteed you'll be amazed to discover something new.
  1. Get Into Art: Animals (People, Places and Telling Stories) - I imagine many art teachers use these books in the classroom, as they feature renowned works of art from various genres and artists (Degas, Warhol, Seurat, Matisse, etc). Plus the corresponding fold-out activities are a terrific way to get kids excited about making their own creations.
  2. Mary Cassatt: Extraordinary Impressionist Painter - Growing up we had a red book of nursery rhymes and in that book I remember this image most vividly. Which means Mary Cassatt's work was imprinted on my brain at a young age. Plus I love that this book is about a woman artist. 
  3. Let's Paint - With a firm but playful beginning There are no mistakes in painting, this book is a celebration of ideas, that with care and execution can become art. This is an especially good reminder that there are no right or wrong ways to create. 
  4. A is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet - This is unlike any alphabet book I've ever encountered. One artist constructs art instillations of various materials (tires, metal, collage, paint) and then describes them with alliterative accuracy. Kids will also appreciate some of the hide-n-seek aspects within the text and art. 
  5. The Museum - Creating art is only part of the process, experiencing it on an emotional level is another part. Which makes the young girl in this story such a charming character. Follow along her antics as she is literally moved by the art she sees at the museum one morning. 
  6. Art - Meet Art, an imaginative young boy, who coincidently likes to make art. The familiar cartoon illustrations will draw in readers of all ages, while the plastered fridge and appreciative mother make this a sweet story.
  7. Andrew Drew and Drew - A little reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon, Andrew believes that making a drawing is a bit like magic— what he needs always appears at the right moment. With fold-out flaps this book is especially fun for kids that like to doodle.
  8. Beautiful Oops! - This is a terrific book about how mistakes are really opportunities for creativity. Finding shapes in spills and animals in bent corners is all part of the process. This is a must-read for any mini perfectionist. 
  9. Matisse's Garden - If you've ever seen a Matisse canvas you know how color and form play prominent in his art; where every piece seems to dance with movement and light. This book is a beautiful depiction of how Matisse created collage, inspired by nature. 
Ps. These art board books are also great for little fingers. See more children's book recommendations here

Soda Bread You'll Actually Love

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day is part of my heritage, which means we host a gathering every year to share a traditional Irish meal with friends. One of the best parts of our feast is a flavorful round of soda bread. I've made it for the past four years. Now I know what you are thinking. Soda bread? Isn't that dry and chalky and something you usually choke down as a polite dinner guest? Normally you'd be correct. But this, oh this, is something entirely different—delicious and crusty, sweet and moist, a caraway infused bread that both kids and adults devour! Slathered with Irish butter it's almost like eating dessert. Plus it doesn't require any rise time, which means total prep from start to finish is a little over an hour. Perfect to serve alongside corned beef and cabbage.

Irish Soda Bread
(serves 10-15)

1/2 cups white sugar
4 cups all purpose flour 
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 cups raisins (I use half golden and half dark)
1 TBS caraway seeds
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup sour cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper on a cookie sheet. In a mixing bowl combine flour (reserving one Tablespoon), sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, raisins and caraway seeds. In a small bowl, blend eggs, buttermilk, and sour cream. Stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture just until the flour is moistened. Kneed into a round 4-5 times. Dough will be very sticky. Place the dough on the prepared pan and pat down. Cut a 3/4 inch deep 'X' slit in the top of the bread and dust with reserved flour. 

Bake for 55-65 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Best served 3-4 hours after cooling. 

See more recipes here

Currently | 3.2.2016

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

READING: A fascinating compilation set that contains both an atlas of facts and intricate illustrations about Holland. It's almost like visiting, minus the wooden shoe souvenirs. Also, this book.

WATCHING: The witty and completely addicting Better Call Saul. Which, yes, I think works as a stand alone series.

EATING: Last weekend I made kouign-amann. Which was ridiculously AMAZING. Also, my husband made chicken tikka masala for dinner last nights. So good!

DRINKING: Water and more water. I've given up nearly all sugared beverages, except for an occasional ginger ale when I'm sick.

ENJOYING: Creative side projects. Stay tuned to see my #littlelitbookseries contribution on Friday.

FEELING: Incredibly grateful that I get to watch a little girl only two-months younger than Amelia on a somewhat regular basis. It's been almost a year since we met her and it's been so fun to see the two grow and interact together.

LISTENING TO: Podcast interviews. Working my way through this list.

MAKING: Little favors for our annual St. Patrick's day dinner party. Hooray for two holidays in one month!

EXCITED FOR: Having my mom and aunt visit in a couple weeks.

Mural located in Indianapolis, IN. 

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