The Best Books for Back to School | Arty Party Book Club

Updated: Apr 2

If you've been on my Instagram recently (shameless plug @deburiart) you know I've been on a bit of an art book bender at the moment... I don't drink, so I have to have some vices and and going on bookshop crawls is far more my speed than bar crawls!


All the lesson planning for my workshops in the new term has given me an excuse to go on a little bit of a binge, so much so that I have had to invest in a new bookshelf! As such it means I have also been finding the absolute best books for back to school. The ones I will be listing below are my top 5 recommendations from your primary aged peeps, to get them back into the swing of making!




1. Cloth Lullaby - written by Amy Novesky, and images by Isabelle Arsenault

This book is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful, and talks about the life and art of Louise

Bourgeois. Written in a simple yet informative way, it tells you about her childhood, the

death of her mother, and how that inspired her to become the inspiring artist she ended

up as.

Arsenault's illustration style is similar to that of Bourgeois' monotypes and artists books,

and really bring to life the words on the page. If you'd like to encourage your little peeps

to learn about the artist as well as the art, I cannot recommend this enough.



Novesky has also written a book about Frieda Khalo, called Me, Frieda and another about

Georgia O'Keeffe titled Georgia in Hawaii. Both of which are currently making their way

over to me in the post!


Click here to buy.



2. Art Workshops for Children - Herve Tullet

This one is more for parents and teachers than it is for your little ones themselves.

However it is a wonderful ideas book for different arty activities you can do. Not only does

it give a series of different ideas like The Big Traffic Jam, and Personality Portraits but it

also has suggestions of variations and even what you need to say!


Again, this is a beautifully illustrated book, and is so much fun too look through even if

you aren't interested in any of the workshops!



The only caveat I have about this particular one is that it is mainly based around painting,

and is often fairly large scale. So if painting isn't your peep's jam then it may not be one

for you. If it is though, I can highly recommend.


Click here to buy.



3. Little People, Big Dreams: an anthology

Much like Cloth Lullaby, Little People, Big Dreams gives a lovely overview of the lives of

some of our most important artists. All illustrated in a distinct style, if you haven't got any

of these you need to get yourself over to a bookshop!


The beginning of the books talk about

the life and works of the person, before

moving on to a more detailed overview

and timeline toward the end.


My anthology contains the stories of

Emmeline Pankhurst, Amelia Earhart,

Marie Curie, Maya Angelou, Coco

Chanel, and Frieda Khalo. There are

however other individual books about

creatives such as Georgia O'Keeffe,

Vivienne Westwood, Audrey

Audrey Hepburn, and David Bowie;

along with other historically significant

people from various fields.

Book series found here.



4. Bound - Rachel Hazell

Okay, Bound isn't a book aimed directly at children, it is however an amazing book of 15

different bookbinding projects! Yes, as a bookbinder I might be a little bias, but I

absolutely love making sketchbooks at the beginning of courses or clubs. People have

far more ownership over something when they have made it, and I find this true for

littlies too!


Although the latter section might be a little too complex, the book begins with simple folded or sewn techniques like concertina books, and saddle bound books; ones that even the most inexperienced little ones could conquer with confidence!


It also includes an in

depth write up on what supplies you need, what you can substitute, and what you could probably do without. Making it perfect for those just getting started!



Click here to buy.



5. The Colours of History - written by Clive Gifford, illustrated by Marc-Etienne Peintre

This was recommenced to me by the wonderful Alex of White Bee Creative Learning, and

my gosh is it good! It takes you on a rainbow journey of discovery about the history of

various different primary, and secondary colour families.



From learning how the butter companies of America made margarine pink, to why

exactly the Irish flag is those colours this is an incredibly fun and informative book! Take

a look above to see what I made with it! Certainly a good one if you like to get into a little

bit of cross curricular learning!


Click here to buy.



All in all I cannot recommend these books enough for fun, colourful, and insightful making and learning. Head down to your local library or book shop and pick up a few! And do comment below if you have any favourites to recommend to me.


Until then, get making!


Georgia de B.



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