As an art teacher, I’m also always on the lookout for great books about art history, and I LOVE artist biographies. These are one of my favorite ways to introduce students to artists, and to begin a project based off of an artist’s work. I try to find a good range of artists from different points in time & from different areas & various cultures. We really want our kids to see the diversity in arts history, learning from people who look, talk, and paint different from them, and also to find artists with whom they can relate culturally. Here are some of the books we use to help us come together and appreciate one another through art– all while learning history & learning to look at artist’s contexts and not just their artworks.

Jake Makes a World

Jake Makes a World: The story of Jacob Lawrence, a Young Artist in Harlem
Written by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts
Illustrated by Christopher Myers


Story Painter

Story Painter, The Life of Jacob Lawrence
 Written by Jacob Duggleby

A Splash of Red, the Life and Art of Horace Pippin

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin
Written by Jen Bryant
Illusrated by Melissa Sweet


Written by Jonah Winter
Illustrated by Ana Juan

*Available in English or Spanish!

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave
Written by Laban Carrick Hill
Illustrated by Bryan Collier

The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art
Written by Barb Rosenstock
Illustrated by Mary Grandpre

Diego Rivera: His World and Ours
by Duncan Tonatium

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse
Written by Patricia MacLachlan
Illustrated by Hadley Hooper

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