7 books for budding artists, musicians and writers

Even famous musicians, writers and artists have an origin story. Thanks to children’s book authors, your budding artist of any medium can find some inspiration in new tomes written this year. 

Guitar Genius: How Les Paul Engineered The Solid-Body Electric Guitar and Rocked the World by Kim Tomsic

Best for ages: 5-8

All guitarists know the name Les Paul, but he was Lester Polsfuss when the young lad was sent home from a piano lesson with a note pinned to his shirt, asking his mother not to send him back. The piano failure turned into the father of the electric guitar, and from there, changed the way that music is played and heard. 

Bach to the Rescue!!! by Tom Angleberger

Best for ages: 4-8

The (almost) true story of how JS Bach created the “Goldberg Variations,” a harpsichord composition published in Bach’s lifetime that included an aria and 30 variations. Written and illustrated with kids in mind, the story is a reminder that inspiration can strike anywhere. 

Degas, Painter of Ballerinas by Susan Goldman Rubin

Best for ages: 8-12

Designed for older readers, the beautiful book includes more than 20 of Edgar Degas’ paintings and was created in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Depicting the artist as a meticulous study marries with the discipline required for dance. This book will be treasured by aspiring artists and dancers alike. 

Little People, Big Dreams: David Bowie by Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Best for ages: 4-8

The “Little People, Big Dreams” series remains true to inspirational form as it tells the story of David Bowie and his intergalactic dreams about music. An artist, musician and designer by trade, his art and music inspired other musicians, artists and designers to step outside of their own boxes. 

I Have an Idea by Herve Tullet

Best for ages: 3-5

From the writer of “Press Here,” comes a what, why and how book about ideas. Fantastic for preschoolers to help them face the conundrum of just “what” is an idea, and what should they do with it (not so bad for adults, either).

Antonino’s Impossible Dream by Tim McGlen

Best for ages: 5-8

A young artist is looking for a friend, and finds a girl who can’t see. How can he show her his art? She can describe what she hears, and she helps him paint a new mural. The story of acceptance and learning to make friends is great for all ages. 

The Ear by Piret Raud

Ages: 3 and older

Ahh, yes, dear parents, this is THAT “ear.” Inspired by Van Gogh, the lost ear wants to be useful, but has no head and no brain that it had become accustomed. So, the ear simply listened. For parents also searching for a subtle story to teach how to combat bullying, this is a quaint, tidy book. 


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