Picture Books for the Arts Integrated Classroom

3 Min Read  •  Arts Integration

This year, I’ve been sharing plenty of reading recommendations on topics of personal and professional growth. Today, though, I’m turning the focus back to those books on the shelves of your classroom libraries, as I share seven children’s titles picture books that you might want to add to your bookshelves!

Artful Reading (Bob Raczka): This picture books features images of readers in works of art. Featured works include Antonello Da Messina’s “St Jerome in His Study,” Jacob Lawrence’s “The Library,” Rossetti’s “The Day Dream,” and Picasso’s “Two Girls Reading.” This book would provide a great writing prompt for students, or inspiration for students to create and/or curate a themed collection of artwork.

Can You Hear It? (William Lach): In this picture books, young readers are introduced to great music through great works of art. Works including “The Flight of the Bumblebee,” “The Four Seasons,” and “Night on Bald Mountain” are illustrated by great works of art, and the text and accompanying CD urge young readers to listen for certain instruments. This book is a great prompt for aural and visual observation, as well as guided listening to introduce students to instruments of the orchestra.

Sky Tree: Seeing Science Through Art (Thomas Locker): In this picture books by Thomas Locker, paintings and text are paired with questions about nature and science. This is a great prompt for observation and inquiry and could serve as inspiration for creating an artistic field journal in the science classroom.

Sing Me a Story: The Metropolitan Opera’s Book of Opera Stories for Children (Jane Rosenberg): This collection of picture books includes retellings for children of the great operas. Art and text combine to give a clear understanding of plot, scene, and character. These stories can stand alone as fairy tales for children or can help marry the magic of music, drama, and literature in performance.

Museum Shapes (NY Metropolitan Museum of Art): The connection between visual art and geometry is clear, and this is a great resource to add to your STEAM library to foster this connection. This book can be used for independent exploration by your students, or pieces can be incorporated into any lesson on geometry (our lesson seeds on geometry, Character Shapes, and Mondrian Geometry, can be adapted for different geometric concepts or to include various pieces of visual art).

Lesson Flashback

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices (Paul Fleischman): This collection of poems about the insect world writes to be read aloud by two voices. What a natural way to bring theatre into your literacy classroom! To extend your students’ experience with poems for two voices, have them write and perform a two-voice poem about a specified topic. See the lesson HERE.

Grandfather Tang’s Story (Ann Tompert): Give each student a set of tangrams. Give them time to explore and have them put the seven pieces in a perfect square. Read Grandfather Tang’s Story. As you read the story, students can try to figure out the next animal by using the clues given in the reading. Have students create a new tangram animal and draw this tangram animal, then write a new page for the story to introduce their animal. See the lesson HERE.

What are your favorite picture books for the arts integrated classroom?