By Illustration & Kids

This month, EVPL is celebrating art — specifically drawing and illustration. While artistic endeavors are wonderful for people of all ages and abilities, they are especially beneficial to young children. Here are just three ways that drawing (and other art forms) improve early literacy!

  • Fine motor skills: Holding crayons and paintbrushes develops the fine motor muscles and control needed later on for writing and other detailed movements. 
  • Language development: Describing their artwork and sharing it with others develops children’s language skills and provides the opportunity to learn new words (e.g. collage, sketch, texture). 
  • Math concepts: By creating images on a page, children learn concepts like size, shape, spatial reasoning, and more. 

Encourage children of all ages to be creative and find inspiration with some of the books below! 

Picture Books

Art’s Supplies by Chris TougasIn this delightful tale of the power of the imagination, Art’s supplies come to life in the studio, creating mayhem and magic – and art! Pastels, pencils and paints, crayons, brushes and markers, everything gets in on the act of creating a mess-terpiece of fun. 

Linus: The Little Yellow Pencil by Scott Magoon – Linus and his eraser, Ernie, don’t always see eye to eye. But with the family art show drawing near, these two will have to sharpen their collaboration to make something neither one could do on their own!

Ish by Peter H. Reynolds – Drawing is what Ramon does. It’s what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon’s older brother turns his carefree sketches into joyless struggles. His little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just “right.” 

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken – As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process.


Hi, I’m Norman: The Story of American Illustrator Norman Rockwell by Robert Burleigh – Norman Rockwell is best known for capturing the American spirit as a painter and illustrator in the late 20th century. This beautifully illustrated narrative explores Rockwell’s life in episodes based on important moments in American history. He successfully chronicled two generations of life, making him one of the most beloved and well-known American artists of all time.

It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way by Kyo Maclear – Growing up at the beginning of the 20th century, Gyo learned from her relatives the ways in which both women and Japanese people lacked opportunity. Her teachers and family believed in her and sent her to art school where her talent flourished. But while Gyo’s career grew and led her to work for Walt Disney Studios, World War II began, and with it, her family’s internment. But she never stopped fighting and later wrote and illustrated the first children’s book to feature children of different races interacting together.

Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring by Matthew Burgess – Often seen drawing in white chalk on the matte black paper of unused advertising space in the subway, Haring’s iconic pop art and graffiti-like style transformed the New York City underground in the 1980s. A member of the LGBTQ community, Haring died tragically at the age of 31 from AIDS-related complications. This honest, celebratory book honors Haring’s life and art, along with his very special connection with kids. 

Beatrix Potter and Her Paint Box by David McPhail – All her life, Beatrix Potter loved to paint. From a young age, she painted the bunnies, mice, and other pets who populated her family home. These characters later populated her stories, which are beloved the whole world over. With beautiful scenes rich in detail, readers are transported to the charming, English countryside and the wonderful world of Beatrix Potter.

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe – Jean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocketed to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Introduce young readers to the powerful message that art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean–and definitely not inside the lines–to be beautiful!


Drawing: The Only Drawing Book You’ll Ever Need to be the Artist You’ve Always Wanted to Be by Kathryn Temple – With this imaginative, informative, and amply illustrated guide, it’s amazingly easy for kids to make their art dreams come true. The entertaining, hands-on lessons begin with contour drawing techniques and feature numerous exercises that show budding artists how to make basic shapes and forms, create the illusion of volume with light, use perspective, and accurately draw people, animals, landscapes, and more.

The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw by Mark Crilley – With over 10 million views and growing, Mark Crilley’s YouTube drawing instruction videos have an enormous worldwide legion of fans. Now he tells the story of aspiring artist-in-the-making David and his helpful, but often flustered mentor, Becky. Readers gain a grounding in the basics of drawing and rendering, along with a helping of laughs and poignant entertainment. Each lesson builds off the previous, with sidebars at the end of each chapter that direct readers to tackle some of the very same drawing exercises that David has just completed.