Please Help Me With Suggestions for Art and Craft Books for Children


Some of you might remember that I have two very creative young friends Sophia and Antonio - they are my borrowed grandchildren - the children of very dear friends of ours. Whenever possible, I try to arrange a crafty play date!

The last time we were together, I was able to teach Sophia how to make bracelets using nothing more than simple round bracelets and  scrap yarn. You will find Mary's simple tutorial for making these sweet little bracelets right here on her blog Mary & Patch.

I have more to share about our day together and how fun these simple bracelets were to make, but saving that for another post.

I have a different reason for writing this post today!

Antonio's gold finch

While I was occupied with Sophia, her brother, Antonio, asked if I would make him an alien - a soft toy 3-D alien! He promised to send a picture of what he had in mind since - as Diane will heartily confirm - I don't do too well in the designing an alien department!

After several days had passed without a picture of an alien appearing in my inbox, I wrote to inquire! And in response, Antonio's Mom informed me he had changed his mind and now wanted a gold finch. And he had made this beautiful drawing so I would know what he has in mind!

Whew! I have my work cut out for me! But that is also not the reason for this post! (Although any encouragement you send my way would be appreciated!)

Astilbe herlding Spring.

The reason for this post? To ask my awesome circle of online friends for help!

As you know, I am pretty far removed from the world children inhabit these days. And as you can see clearly, I have both a budding 13 year old artist friend and an eager and capable 8 year old crafter on my hands.

Would you please, please, please offer your suggestions for books that would be helpful to each of them?

Antonio would most likely devour a book designed to teach drawing skills. He has great patience and understanding.

And Sophia - I am looking for a well written and illustrated book for a young crafter - long on enthusiasm and short on patience!

Thank you in advance for taking time to help me out on this.

My friend, Susan Schwake, who

My friend, Susan Schwake, who owns Artstream gallery - near me - and blogs at "Art Esprit" just wrote a wonderful multimedia art book for children called Art Lab. I would check that out! xoxoxo

Pam, I recommend Zentangle

Pam, I recommend Zentangle for Kidz!

Great idea Genevieve!  I

Great idea Genevieve!  I would have never thought of teaching them how to make zentangles!  thank you for the link.

These two craft books are

These two craft books are fantastic basic compilations and could keep you going for ages.

Family Fun Crafts:

Nature's Art Box:

As for drawing, there's a lot of kids books like "How to draw dinosaurs/sharks/cars/cartoons/etc. that focus on a specific topic and are great drawing the sketcher into learning.

And now I want to go out an buy kid craft books... ;)

This is a great help

This is a great help Elizabeth!  I really appreciate you taking time to share your favorites as I have no idea where to begin!!

Hi Pam, you have talented

Hi Pam, you have talented little friends here. And what fun for them that you want to enhance it even more.

The book I would suggest is a sketchbook! And perhaps a 'scavenger hunt' list for him to find and sketch. He is already interested enough to go off on his own and sketch and to hold his own sketchbook with perhaps a set of paints or markers. Thinking back to those days, gosh, I would have been thrilled to have that! There is no end to a child's imagination. He can sketch what he sees or what is in his imagination.

Can't think of a book for the girl. My mentors were my Aunts who took the time to teach me crocheting, knitting and sewing.

Hope this helps a little.

Thank you Teri!  We have been

Thank you Teri!  We have been giving both children art supplies since they were old enough to hold a crayon!

The problem is that I can't draw and neither can their mother. Nor does she craft.  So for the times I can't actually be there, I wanted to find a book they could play with on their own.

Hi Pam- :-) You're so lucky

Hi Pam- :-)
You're so lucky to have two borrowed grandchildrens who loves to craft and draw. Aww! (And they are lucky to have you as a Borrowed Grandmother! Eheh!)

All the children's books about drawing I know are in french. :-/ But I'll take an extra look at thoses in english. Maybe some of them were translations, after all?

In the meantime, I've been wanting to sell some "How to draw" pages for childrens on my Etsy shop, for a long time, now. But I may need some "test buddy" before selling them. :-D As soon as I finish what I have in mind, I'll send some copies to you so Antonio can try them. I'll give you an "Alien" in the bunch. Eheh!

Oh Fanie!  Your idea to send

Oh Fanie!  Your idea to send Antonio the "test" pages would be lovely.  And I totally love your idea of selling how to draw pages for children in your shop!  With the sad lack of art instruction in the public schools in this country, something like this to fill the void would be wonderful.

For Antonio, I would suggest

For Antonio, I would suggest Mark Kistler's Draw Squad. It is a series of 30 different drawing lessons that build on one another while teaching shading, dimension, perspective, etc. I think the drawing style is especially suited for boys and includes all kinds of creative buildings, aliens and wacky inventions :) Kids can work through the book on their own and it has a real "gung ho, you-can-do-it" attitude. My kids enjoyed it a lot. For Sophia, my daughter loved the American Girls series of craft books. Each doll has a book that specializes in crafts from her era. There are a ton of craft kit books, like the Klutz series already mentioned, perfect for her age. If she is into sewing at all then one of my favorites is Sewing School (by Amie Plumley) that has a lot of great beginner projects with photos of projects completed by kids. I hope that helps - sounds like there are some wonderful afternoons in your future!

Oh my goodness Cassi!  Thank

Oh my goodness Cassi!  Thank you so much for taking time to add your suggestions.  Certainly, if anyone has insight into great learning tools for children, it would be YOU!

I can't be with them all the time so the fact that these books can be used without a "grown-up" is really useful. And - you nailed it with sophis!  My next playdate is to teach her to make doll clothes!

Can't wait to check them out!

I have a copy of Sewing

I have a copy of Sewing School in my stash that you're welcome to - it's a wonderful sewing book for kids:

...And I have some Japanese books (translated to English) that would be extremely kid-friendly, which center on making little felt toys. I'll show you on Sunday.

Oh! And Rosie O'Donnel's book, Crafty U - I have that one, too. Tons of great things for kids to do, organized around the seasons. Which might appeal to someone I know. :-)

Thank you Diane!  I am

Thank you Diane!  I am definitely looking forward to seeing the books.  I never thought to ask you for advice knowing you are more into grand kittens than grand people children!

Pam, how lucky you are to

Pam, how lucky you are to have two children that love to craft with you! I don't really have any great suggestions for books to make, but I have gone to my local library and picked up books on making hemp/knotted/macrame bracelets from the childrens section- they are very will illustrated, and only require simple cord and seed beads you can get easily and cheaply at the craft store. As for little son loves all of the "How to draw Dragons" books from the library. He takes tracing paper and just traces all of the cool dragons! Have fun creating with your little friends!

How to Draw Dragons!  I am

How to Draw Dragons!  I am sure Antonio will be all over that book!

I am still trying to find something Sophia will stick with.  She seems to have the longest attention span when paper crafting.  Her real grandmother has taught her to knit - and she does a great job but she would much rather sit and watch me knit her scarf!!!

I have no suggestions for

I have no suggestions for you. None of my kids had/have the patience for crafting. When we did make things together we just "played". Mandy (20) and Robbie (13) both love to draw and sketch but they just do it freehand with no instructions. When they need to know how to shade or make a certain design they just Google it. I've haven't been able to instill a love of any type of book into my kids :(

I hope you get lots of helpful information and that you have a great time crafting with your borrowed grandkids!

Thank you Robin!  Since their

Thank you Robin!  Since their mom doesn't really craft, I thought a few books would help out for when i am not there - those playdates are after all few and far between as they are so active is sports and activities after school.

When I was a kid, me and my

When I was a kid, me and my brother were really into Klutz books--and the advantage of those is that they're a book/kit combo, so if kids get really excited about the craft and use all the supplies they'll need more but you won't be giving the parents the gift of a child who wants to buy things they never end up using, or disappointing the child with an aspirational book she won't be able to make many projects from! I remember the "friendship bracelet" one as being particularly good, at least the 1999 edition!

How great to hear from you

How great to hear from you Eleanor!  Thank you so much for suggesting the "Klutz Books"  I like the idea that they are both a kit and a how-to book.  Very cool.