Children and Young Adult Books  image

 

Young Readers Biography Fiction Reference
Middle School and High School Biography Fiction Reference

 

YOUNG READERS

BIOGRAPHY
 
Art From Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter
Kathy Whitehead
illustrated by Shane Evans
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2008
This is a biography of folk artist Clementine Hunter. Her paintings went from hanging on her clothesline to hanging in museums, yet because of the color of her skin, a friend had to sneak her in when the gallery was closed." (Publisher note)
Grades 4-7
Beatrix: Various Episodes From the Life of Beatrix Potter
Jeanette Winter
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003
This simple biography of Beatrix Potter, best known for writing The Tale of Peter Rabbit, includes excerpts from her published letters and journals and reveals why she drew and wrote about animals.
Grades K-3
Come Look With Me:
Discovering Women Artists for Children

Jennifer Tarr Coyne
Lickle, 2005
This book introduces twelve women artists, including Faith Ringgold, Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, and Grandma Moses. Each artist is discussed through a short biography, a full-page color plate, a description of the image, and a set of discussion questions.
Grades 3-5


Dorthea Lange (Portraits of Women Artists for Children)
Robyn Turner
Little Brown & Co, 1994

This is a very readable photo-essay of Lange's life and her work in establishing documentary photography as an art. In simple terms Turner talks about particular pictures, pointing out how Lange took them and why they work, how she focused on particular images, and how she used lighting, angle, perspective, and background. The black-and-white photos are well reproduced, and the clear, precise captions make you look closely and think about why the images have enduring power. (Booklist)
Grades 3-6
Faith Ringgold
Mike Venezia
Children's Press, 2008
This book examines the work and life of Faith Ringgold, an African American artist who works in a variety of mediums including textiles, paintings, and prints, and is best known for her story quilts.
Grades 3-5
Four Pictures by Emily Carr
Nicolas Debon
Douglas & McIntyre, 2003
"Debon has distilled four periods in the Canadian artist's life (1871-1945) into enticing vignettes that illuminate her passions, determination, health problems, relationships with fellow Group of Seven artists, and, most of all, and her dramatic progression as a painter. . . . Engaging artwork and brisk storytelling make this a consideration for most libraries." (SLJ)
Grades 4-7
Frida
by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Ana Juan
Levine Bks., 2002
This "illustrated short biography argues that the seeds of iconic painter Frida Kahlo's genius were planted during her childhood. . . . Winter consistently manages to convey much with a few well-chosen words, and the illustrations are appropriately awash with traditional Mexican folk art motifs and characters." (Horn Book)
Grades K-3
Frida Kahlo
Jill A. Laidlaw
Watts, 2003
"The text is clear, concise, and written with vigor. . . . The large, full-color reproductions of [Kahlo's] paintings are excellent, and numerous archival photographs and quotes add a personal and immediate connection to the artist's life." (SLJ)
Grades 5-8
Frida Kahlo: The Artist Who Painted Herself
Margaret Frith and illustrated by Tomie De Paola
Grosset & Dunlap, 2003
This is a biography of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, written as a child's school report.
Grades 2-4
Georgia O’Keefe
(Portraits of Women Artists for Children)

Robyn Turner
Little Brown & Co, 1993
In this biography of the great artist Georgia O'Keeffe "Turner offers the best selection of full-color reproductions and a text that, while brief, engaging, and accessible to all readers, gives insight into the woman as artist. (SLJ)
Grades 3-6
Georgia's Bones
Jennifer Bryant and illustrated by Bethanne Anderson
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2005
Artist Georgia O'Keeffe was interested in the shapes she saw around her, from her childhood on a Wisconsin farm to her adult life in New York City and New Mexico.
Grades K-3
Grandma Moses Alexandra Wallner
Holiday House, 2004
This is a brief biography of Anna Mary Robertson, the artist who was known as Grandma Moses, describing the inspiration behind and development of her paintings.
Grades K-3
Inspirations: Stories About Women Artists
Leslie Sills
Albert Whitman and Co, 1993
This intriguing introduction to contemporary women artists features details on the life and work of four artists: Georgia O'Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, Alice Neel, and Faith Ringgold.
Grades 3-6
Just Like Me: Stories and Self-portraits By Fourteen Artists
Tomie Arai, Harriet Rohmer, editor
Children's Bk. Press, 1997
Fourteen artists and picture book illustrators present self-portraits and brief descriptions that explore their varied ethnic origins, their work, and their feelings about themselves. Mira Reisberg, and Carmen Lomas Garza are among the artists included.
Grades 1-5
Mary Cassatt
Ernestine Giesecke
Heinemann Library, 2006
This book looks at the life and work of artist Mary Cassatt, in simple text with illustrations, providing information about her childhood, her education, and her accomplishments in art.
Grades 1-3
Mary Cassatt: Family Pictures
Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Jennifer Kalis
Grosset & Dunlap, 2003
This book discusses the life and the work of the Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt in the form of a child's school report.
Grades 2-4
Mary Cassatt: Impressionist Painter
Lois V. Harris
Pelican, 2007
"With large, crisply reproduced, color artwork on nearly every page, this picture-book biography of American Impressionist Mary Cassatt will appeal to a broad age-range of readers." (Booklist)
Grades 2-4
Mary Cassatt: The Life of An Artist
Carolyn Casey
Enslow Publishers, 2004.
This book discusses the life and the work of the Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt.
Grades 2-4
My Name is Georgia: A Portrait
Jeanette Winter
Harcourt Brace & Co., 1998
This book presents, in brief text and illustrations, the life of the painter who drew much of her inspiration from nature.
Grades K-3
Patience Wright: America's First Sculptor, and Revolutionary Spy
Pegi Deitz Shea and illustrated by Bethanne Andersen
Henry Holt, 2007
This is a biography of Patience Wright, born in 1725, who became a sculptor and a spy for the American colonies.
Grades 4-6
Talking With Tebe: Clementine Hunter, Memory Artist
Clementine Hunter, Mary E. Lyons, editor
Houghton Mifflin, 1998
"Clementine Hunter was an African-American primitive painter who lived all of her 101 years in Louisiana as a manual laborer. . . . The story of her life and art is fascinating, and Lyons has let Tebe, as she was called, tell it in her own words. . . . Hunter's bright, colorful, childlike paintings and a handful of black-and-white photographs decorate the book and illuminate her words." (SLJ)
Grades 4-6
Through Georgia's Eyes
Rachel Rodriguez, illustrated by Julie Paschkis
H. Holt and Co., 2006
"Rodriguez gently tells this inspirational artist's story . . . with quiet simplicity. . . . Using short, strong sentences and phrases, the author emphasizes the artist's creative force. Paschkis extends the words with the visual simplicity of colorful, cut-paper collages." (SLJ)
Grades K-3
Vinnie and Abraham
Dawn Fitzgerald and illustrated by Catherine Stock
Charlesbridge, 2007
"This picture-book biography presents Vinnie Ream as a young woman who transcended the conventions of her time through determination and a remarkable talent for sculpture. . . . After Lincoln's assassination, Congress commissioned her to sculpt a marble statue of the late president, which is still on display in the Capitol rotunda. Fitzgerald's clearly written narrative portrays Vinnie as a hardworking, resolute person who succeeded through her own gifts and the help of others who believed in her. Stock's watercolor paintings light up the pages." (Booklist)
Grades 2-4
FICTION  
A Day with No Crayons
Elizabeth Rusch
Rising Moon, 2007
When Liza's mother takes away her beloved crayons, her world suddenly goes gray. How does the budding artist repond? She squirts her toothpaste angrily and stomps through mud puddles. Through these acts, Liza inadvertently creates art-and eventually discovers color in the world around her.
Grades Pre-K – 2
The Dot
Peter Reynolds
Candlewick, 2003
Convinced she's no good at art, a girl named Vashti angrily draws a single black dot, which her teacher frames, goading Vashti to outdo herself by creating a whole series of dot paintings in a myriad of colors and styles. (Horn Book)
Grades Pre-K -4
Elena's Serenade
Campbell Geeslin, illustrated by Ana Juan
Atheneum, 2004
A delightfully fresh take on the "anything you can do, I can do better" theme, Elena's Serenade follows a feisty little Mexican girl on a quest to prove to her father--and herself--that she can be a glassblower, even if she is a girl. Magic realism abounds as Elena journeys (dressed as a boy) to Monterrey to learn from the great glassblowers. (Amazon Review)
Grades K-4
Josefina
Jeanette Winter
Harcourt Brace & Co., 1996
"Throughout her life--from her childhood through the deaths of her parents, her marriage to Jose, and the birth of their nine children, Josefina works the soft clay into figures .. . . Inspired by the painted clay figures decorating Josefina Aguilar's patio in Ocotlan, Mexico, Winter has crafted a picture-book vision of the folk artist's life that cleverly turns into a bilingual counting story. . . . Paired with a simple prose narrative, the artwork creates an effect that is both elegant and soothing." (Booklist)
Grades Pre-K- 2
Little Dog
Lisa Jahn-Clough
Houghton Mifflin, 2006
Scruffy, scrappy Little Dog has a rough life on the street until he is befriended by Rosa the artist. Rosa's paintings are sad and dark--until Little Dog leads her from the gloomy city to the bright and colorful countryside. Thus begins the tale of a mutually beneficial relationship that portrays the power of friendship. The minimal text is accompanied by simple, childlike artwork, framed in and accented by heavy, black brush strokes. The thickly painted colors change as the story progresses, from dark and somber to dazzling, which illustrates the transformation in the characters' lives. (Booklist)
Grades Pre-K- 2
A Place Where Sunflowers Grow
Amy Lee-Tai
Children's Book Press, 2006
Mari's art class has begun. But it's hard to draw in a place where nothing beautiful grows -- a place like Topaz, the internment camp where Mari's family and thousands of other Japanese Americans have been sent to live during World War II. Glimmers of hope begin to surface -- in the eyes of a kindly art teacher, in the tender words of Mari's parents, and in the smile of a new friend. Amy Lee-Tai's sensitive prose and Felicia Hoshino's stunning mixed-media images show that hope can survive even the harshest injustice.
Grades 1-4
Sofie and the City
Karima Grant
Boyd’s Mills Press, 2006
When Sofie calls her grandmother in Senegal each week, she complains that her new home in the United States is ugly and crowded. Mame advises her to make it pretty. The harshness of the city as seen through Sofie eyes is conveyed in the firm lines of dark, towering buildings. Brighter hues reflect the noise and congestion of busy streets. Then,  Sofie meets Kenya, a girl who is decorating the sidewalk with colorful pictures of the neighborhood. Sharing Kenya chalk, Sofie draws Senegal shore with its warm sand and fishing boats. Told in simple language, with dialogue matching that of a child learning English, the text and art show how upsetting any move can be and how it feels to be small in a large and unfamiliar place. (SLJ)
Grades Pre-K to 2
 Willow by Denise Brennan-Nelson
Sleeping Bear Press, 2008
All of the students in Miss Hawthorn's art class draw trees that are alike, except for Willow, a rosy-cheeked little girl who paints what she sees when she closes her eyes. When the rigid, unimaginative teacher tells her that blue apples do not exist, Willow brings her one the next day. "Horrid little girl," Miss Hawthorn says. Yet at Christmas the only gift Miss Hawthorn receives is from Willow. The child presents her with her beloved art book, which begins a transformation in the dour, unhappy woman. Miss Hawthorn begins to doodle and then to paint. Pictures are everywhere. When the children come back to school in January, they discover an inspired teacher in paint-smeared jeans and smock who invites them to help her change their room into a work of art. (SLJ) – Grades K-3
REFERENCE  
Visions: Stories about Women Artists by Leslie Sills
Albert Whitman and Co, 1993
This is a collection of essays about women artists' lives. Neither stereotypes nor clichés enter into the author's straightforward discussion of her four subjects, whether approaching impressionist Mary Cassatt's struggle to gain acceptance as a woman painter or African American Betye Saar's use of political and ethnic themes in her collages and sculptures. Surrealist Leonora Carrington's tumultuous personal life gets the same even-handed treatment as do her hallucinatory paintings, and Mary Frank's lyrical, fractured sculpture seems to grow organically out of Sills's description of her and the losses she has survived. Photographs of the artists as children and as adults add to the book's intimate atmosphere. (Publishers Weekly) – Grades 3-6
Women of the Harlem Renaissance by Lisa McKissack
Compass Point books, 2006
In the 1920s and 1930s, New York City's community of Harlem was filled with Creative work in literature, art, and music. At the heart of this cultural explosion were talented women who took their experiences of being black females and shaped them into meaningful careers as writers, artists, and musicians. Having been fortunate enough to pursue educational and career opportunities, the women of the Harlem Renaissance moved beyond more typical female roles of the time. Today, they are remembered and respected not only for their work but also for their ability to inspire.--Grades 3-6

MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL

 
BIOGRAPHY  
Astonishing Women Artists by Heather Ball
Second Story Press, 2008
Discover the lives of women artists from the 16th century to the present day, such as the early feminist Artemisia Gentileschi, the adventurous Emily Carr, the flamboyant Frida Kahlo and the brilliant Georgia O'Keeffe. These ten biographies are written in an accessible engaging style and will inspire and inform young readers. – Grades 5-8
Becoming Judy Chicago by Gail Levin
Random House,  2007
In Becoming Judy Chicago, Gail Levin gives us a biography of uncommon intimacy and depth, revealing the artist as a person and a woman of extraordinary energy and purpose. Drawing upon Chicago's personal letters and diaries, her published and unpublished writings, and more than 250 new interviews with her friends, family, admirers, and critics, Becoming Judy Chicago is a richly detailed and moving chronicle of the artist's unique journey from obscurity to fame, including the story of how she found her audience outside the art establishment. – Grades 11-12
Chrysalis : Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis by Kim Todd
Harvest Books, 2007
In 1699, this artist-naturalist's lifelong passion for studying metamorphosis took her from Amsterdam to the rainforest of Surinam. Merian accomplished this as a single working woman in her 50s more than a century before Darwin's expedition. Despite initial recognition for accurate renditions of the life cycle of insects, Merian's observations were later devalued by male scientists. In prose as elegant as Merian's watercolor illustrations highlighting this reconstruction of her fascinating life and times, an award- winning nature writer (for Tinkering with Eden) gives her deserved due for her pioneering ecological approach. – Grades 9-12
Dorothea Lange--a visual life
Elizabeth Patridge, editor
Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994
This is a "collection of photos and insightful essays about the photographer whose work captured more than four decades of American history. Interwoven with Lange's personal story are the photographic records of the '30s, '40s, and '50s so dramatically captured by her insightful choices." (SLJ) – Grades 11-12
Frida Kahlo: painter by Laurie Hillstrom
Lucent Books, 2008
Kahlo's life is chronicled as are the influences of her marriage to Rivera and her physical pain on on her art. The layout draws the eye with colorful chapter headings and highlighted quotes." (Lib Media Connect) -- Grades 6-10
Jackie Ormes: the First African American Woman Cartoonist by Nancy Goldstein
University of Michigan Press, 2008
This book covers the life and career of Jackie Ormes, who was the first African American woman cartoonist. She wrote and drew comic strips that ran in Black newspapers such as the Pittsburgh Courier and the Chicago Defender. She was part of the Black elite in Chicago and knew other luminaries such as singer Eartha Kitt and musician/composer/conductor Duke Ellington. She was also investigated by the FBI because of her Leftist political ideas and activities. – Grades 10-12
The Red Rose girls: an uncommon story of art and love by Alice A. Carter
Abrams, 2000
Three of the first American women artists to achieve fame and fortune in the Victorian era--Jessie Willcox Smith, Elizabeth Shippen Green and Violet Oakley--lived unconventional lives marked by a remarkable degree of collaboration. – Grades 9-12
Women artists of the West: five portraits in creativity and courage by Julie Danneberg
Fulcrum, 2002
This narrative profiles of five notable women artists who influenced the art of the American West. -- Grades 7-12
FICTION  
The Blood of Flowers: a novel by Anita Amirrezvani
Little, Brown and Co., 2007
This novel is "narrated by a nameless teenager whose life in 17th-century Iran is derailed by misfortune following her father's death. With no means of support, she and her mother move to the city of Isfahan to live as servants with relatives. There, despite the obstacle of gender, the young woman learns the art of carpet design. An even greater hurdle is her poverty; dowryless, she is pressured into a sigheh, or temporary marriage, in which the woman offers sexual favors in return for money." (Libr J) – Grades 11-12
Keeping the World Away: a novel by Margaret Forster
Ballantine Books, 2007
"Based on an actual painting, The Corner of the Artist's Room in Paris by Gwen John, Forster's novel recounts the history of how the painting came to be and imagines its effect on the women who have owned it. The story begins with Gwen herself, an independent, intelligent, and spirited artist. She loses herself in a passionate affair with the sculptor Rodin, and as the years pass and his visits become less and less frequent, she does the one thing she knows best--she paints a picture that represents the woman her lover wished Gwen could be: quiet, serene, and content. Gwen gives the painting to a friend and so launches its journey into the hands of several women across different countries and generations. (Booklist) – Grades 11-12
Mexican Coral by Rebecca Longo
Lulu, 2006
Mexican Coral tells the tale of a young woman's journey to independence. Coral is an artist living in Baltimore with her oppressive boyfriend, Fin. She is isolated, miserable and completely falling apart. Coral has run away from her past trying to escape the memories of a lost love. All seems lost in Coral's world as she becomes a prisoner in her life with Fin. A fortuitous act of chance brings Coral to a psychic who inspires a new desire of change. – Grades 9-12
Miss Potter: the Novel by Richard Maltby
Penguin Group, 2006
A novel based on the film on Beatrix Potter’s life, starring Rene Zellweger as Beatrix Potter and Ewan McGregor as the man she loved. Written by the films screenwriter, the novel expands the plotline of his script, blending historical fact and imaginative interpretation to tell a moving story of a Victorian woman who against the odds finds independence, artistic success and romantic love. – Grades 7-12
REFERENCE  
A to Z of American Women in the Visual Arts by Carol Kort and Liz Sonneborn
Facts on File, 2002.
This book profiles 130 American women artists who work in a variety of visual mediums, among them painting, sculpture, printmaking, graphic arts, photography, architecture, and quilting. -- Grades 7-12
Before Victoria: extraordinary women of the British Romantic era by Elizabeth Campbell Denlinger
Columbia University Press, 2005
This book "offers portraits of a group of women who were scientists, artists, writers, poets, philanthropists and reformers during the Romantic Era and details how their accomplishments changed the social and economic landscape for women." (Univ Press Books for Public and Second Sch Libr, 2006) – Grades 11-12
Contemporary Women Artists
Laurie Hillstrom and Kevin Hillstrom, editors
St. James Press, 1999
This work "covers 350 women artists, mostly US painters and sculptors. Entries are helpfully indexed by nationality and medium and include photographers, performance and video artists, ceramicists, filmmakers, textile artists, and weavers from countries in Latin America and western and eastern Europe." (Choice) – Grades 7-12
Creating their own Image: the history of African-American women artists by Lisa E. Farrington
Oxford University Press,  2005
This is a "study of women of color and their works, starting with slavery, moving through the Harlem Renaissance, and continuing to the new millennium." (Libr J) – Grades 11-12
Dictionary of Women Artists
Delia Gaze, editor
Fitzroy Dearborn Pubs., 1997
"The chronological coverage extends from 975 A.D. to artists born in 1945. Each of the alphabetically arranged entries includes a brief biography, information about the genre of art produced, and an example of the artist's work. These volumes also present 20 introductory surveys on such topics as 'Court Artists' and 'Training and Professionalism,' and include an overview of women's art in the 19th and 20th centuries by country. Together with their chronological list of artists, the volumes include a range of information not ordinarily found in a resource of this type." (Am Libr) – Grades 7-12
Graffiti Women: street art from five continents by Nicholas Ganz
Abrams, 2006
"More than 1,000 images from prominent female graffiti and street artists show women challenging stereotypes and succeeding in the male-dominated field of tagging." (Booklist) – Grades 9-12
Icons of Art: Women Artists by Elke Linda Buchholz
Prestel Publishing, 2003
This book starts in the sixteenth century, when women were first formally allowed to participate in the period's artistic enlightenment, and continues through today, when artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman and Jenny Holzer have firmly established themselves as critically and commercially important. Icons of Art: Women Artists uses elegantly designed double-paged spreads to examine the life, challenges and accomplishments of its subjects. Written with a scholar as well as the layperson in mind, this attractively designed, wide-ranging volume offers incontrovertible proof of the power and range of women artists. – Grades 9-12
Icons: Women Artists in the 20th & 21st Century
Angelika Taschen 2006
An overview of contemporary women artists.
Grades 11-12
A Museum of their Own: National Museum of Women in the Arts by Wilhelmina Cole Holladay and Philip Kopper
Abbeville Press, 2008
"The National Museum of Women in the Arts  opened in 1987. It changed the status of women artists and the life of its founder, who now tells the museum's fascinating success story in an entertainingly anecdotal, inspiring, and beautifully illustrated. This invaluable work of art history is enlivened by Holladay's encounters with artists and gorgeous reproductions, many of works that will be new to even the most art-expert readers." (Booklist) – Grades 9-12
Notable American Women: a Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century.
Susan Ware and Stacy Lorraine Braukman, editors
Belknap Press, 2004.
This volume includes "stars of the golden ages of radio, film, dance, and television; scientists and scholars; politicians and entrepreneurs; authors and aviators; civil rights activists and religious leaders; Native American craftspeople and world-renowned artists. Women from a broad spectrum of ethnic, class, political, religious, and sexual identities are all acknowledged." (Publisher's note) – Grades 9-12
Women Artists: An Illustrated History by Nancy Heller
Abbeville Press, 2003
Organized in six chapters by century, the survey provides brief biographical information, some critical analysis and context, and at least one color plate of the work of 125 women artists who lived and worked in Europe or North America.  – Grades 7-12
Women of the Renaissance by Melissa Thomson and Ruth Dean
Lucent Books, 2004
This book discusses the roles of women in the Renaissance, as wives, mothers, workers, religious figures, queens, politicians, pirates, scholars and scientists, writers, and artists. – Grades 9-12
You Can Be a Women Animator by Judith Love Cohen
edited by Lee Rathbone
One of a series, this book emphasizes the value of art and non-traditional careers by depicting real women whose careers provide inspiration. DVD and lesson plans included. – Grades 5-7
You Can Be a Women Movie Maker by Judith Love Cohen, Maureen Gosling, Mary McLaglen and Paula Weinstein. Edited by Lee Rathbone
One of a series, this book emphasizes the value of art and non-traditional careers by depicting real women whose careers provide inspiration. DVD and lesson plans included. – Grades 5-7
   


SPECIAL THANKS TO KATIE GELESPIE FOR HER RESEARCH AND CREATION OF THIS LIST.