Did you know that Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. was still in college in 1981 when she submitted her design which was chosen out of 1,421 entries.  As a young girl, Maya imaged she would become an architect who created buildings with art, science, and math.  Having just seen the movie At Eternity’s Gate (in theaters) about Vincent van Gogh, I was also fascinated by another picture book about the artist that is beautifully illustrated.  I think you can appreciate and understand an artist’s work much more when you know something about the artist’s life.

Check out these beautifully illustrated and informative picture books from the library! For more recommendations, ask a librarian! 

Maya Lin: Artist of Light and Lines

Maya Lin was just 21 when she her design was selected for the Vietnam War Memorial. Her design captured the complicated feelings of grief. Today, Maya Lin continues her work as an artist and architect. 

Maya Lin: Artist Architect of Light and Lines book (L); Maya Lin (R)

Vincent Can’t Sleep

Vincent Van Gogh’s style is instantly recognizable in Vincent Can’t Sleep, illustrated by Mary Grandpre. The classic swirls, stars, sunflowers, and vibrant blues, yellows, and greens accompany the story of the artist who adored the night sky. (While At Eternity’s Gate is still in theaters, Loving Vincent is another great movie about the life of Vincent Van Gogh available for check out now!)

Vincent Can’t Sleep book (L); Vincent Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait, 1887 (R)

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

Author/Illustrator Vashti Harrison profiles dozens of Black women who have had a great impact in history. In this collection of bite-size biographies paired with gorgeous illustrations, a reader can learn about artists like colorful painter Alma Wodsey Thomas, sculptor Augusta Savage, and photographer Lorna Simpson. 

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History book
Artists Alma Woodsey Thomas, Augusta Savage, and Lorna Simpson illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Artists Alma Woodsey Thomas, Augusta Savage, and Lorna Simpson

Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli

The vibrant and sophisticated illustrations of Elsa Schiaparelli’s girlhood imagination running wild makes this book a delight. 
Bloom book (L); Elsa Schiaparelli (R)

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

Author/Illustrator Javaka Steptoe mimics Jean-Michel Basquiat’s vivid collage-painting aesthetic in this mesmerizing picture book about Basquiat’s creative childhood. Basquiat’s artwork has remained influential beyond his short life. 
Radiant Child book (L); Jean-Michel Basquiat (R)

Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing

Written by the artist’s sister, Kay Haring, this picture book lovingly reanimates the pop artist’s iconic imagery and love of his craft.
The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing book (L); Keith Haring (R)

American Gothic: The Life of Grant Wood

Rural artist Grant Wood painted the iconic American Gothic painting, which is housed at the Art Institute of Chicago. Learn about the beginnings of the Gothic art movement and artist in this picture book biography.
American Gothic: The Life of Grant Wood book (L); Grant Wood (R)

COMING SOON: The Shape of the World: A Portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright

Here’s a special sneak peek of a book that will soon find a home on our shelves! 
The Shape of the World book (L); Frank Lloyd Wright (R)

 Post by Shelley & Allie