Youth Art Month

For this month’s blog, we are promoting youth creativity and the inner artist inside us all! The month of March marks the recognition and promotion of Youth Art, an annual event administered by the Council for Art Education. In this March blog we highlight creativity, imagination, and expression in art through fiction books. The month of March encourages the widespread adoption of visual arts. Read along with us as we display graphic novels, picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction books where we will celebrate the arts!

Baer, Marianna
Wolfwood. 2023. Young Adult.
Wolfwood follows Indigo and her mother, the once famous artist Zoe Serra. Indigo’s mother suffered a mental breakdown and ever since then they have been barely scraping by in life. When a gallery offers Zoe a revival show for her blockbuster series Wolfwood, Indigo knows it is their chance to be financially stable again. However, Zoe refuses to continue painting Wolfwood, which leads to Indigo secretly taking up the paintbrush herself. Indigo then finds out the real reason why her mother never wanted to paint Wolfwood again and it was because painting Wolfwood submerges the artist into the dangerous fantasy. As the lines between reality and fantasy blur for Indigo it becomes a struggle to continue the balancing act.
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Brennan-Nelson, Denise and Brennan, Rosemarie
Illustrator: Moore, Cyd
Willow. 2008. Picture Book.
Miss Hawthorne is Willow’s art teacher and Miss Hawthorne emphasizes tidiness, structure, and reinforces coloring inside the lines. However, when Miss Hawthorne is met by an imaginative and creative child such as Willow that colors outside the lines and draws from her imagination Miss Hawthorne does not know what to do with Willow! It is not until Christmastime when Willow gifts Miss Hawthorne her beloved art book that transformation begins to occur within Miss Hawthorne. A once rigid woman begins to doodle and then to paint and then suddenly, her home is filled with art. When the students come back to the classroom after winter break, they come to find Miss Hawthorne usually prim and proper to have paint smeared jeans and smock who then invites them to help paint their classroom into a work of art. With soft toned watercolors and nature imagery the artwork culminates to a painting of a Willow tree as a tribute to Willow and Miss Hawthorne along with the rest of the students learn the intense power of imagination.
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Epstein, Gabriela
Claudia and the New Girl. 2021. Graphic Novel.
Claudia from the Babysitters Club has always been the most creative and artistic person in her class. That is until Ashley Wyeth enters the picture. Claudia thinks Ashley Wyeth is the most amazing artist she has ever known. When Ashley mentions how she thinks Claudia is a fantastic artist too and is wasting her talent by being at the Babysitters Club meetings, Claudia begins to miss BSC meetings instead of hanging out with Ashley. It then becomes clear to Claudia she will have to choose between Ashley or the Babysitters Club.
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Esperanza, C. G. (Charles George)
Illustrator: Tegen, Katherine
Boogie Boogie, Y’all. 2021. Picture Book.
Boogie Boogie, Y’all is a distinguished picture book that has received numerous accolades including ALSC Notable Children’s Book of the Year, Odyssey Award winner, Pura Belpré Honor Award winner, New York City Book Award winner, and Audie Award finalist. Boogie Boogie, Y’all is an ode to graffiti art. Three children in the Bronx stop to admire the dazzling and wondrous art around their community only to realize the art that surrounds their community is often ignored and unappreciated. The three children then find it is up to them to display to the world how beautiful art is and inspire a newfound appreciation for the urban art around us and the special opportunity of living in diverse cityscapes and communities.
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Kannan, Malavika
All the Yellow Suns. 2023. Young Adult.
Maya Krishnan is the main protagonist who is fiercely protective of her friends, immigrant community, and single mother although living in the conservative Florida suburbs does not make it easy and she tries her best to never cause rifts. Her classmate Juneau Zale, a white wealthy playboy, however, is the opposite who evades consequences. Juneau invites Maya to join the Pugilists, a secret society of artists, vandals, and mischief makers whose main drive is to fight for justice at their school. Joining the Pugilists inspires Maya to confront her own challenges in life.
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Linka, Catherine
What I Want You to See. 2020. Young Adult.
Winning a scholarship to a prestigious art school in California seems to be a fairy tale dream for Sabine Reye. After losing both her mother and her home Sabine is hoping for a fresh start and a place that will make her feel at home again, where she belongs. However, she did not anticipate how cutthroat art school could be, and it seems like the renowned faculty member Colin Krell does not agree with her talents and believes if she does not improve, she will be kicked out of her merit scholarship. What I Want You to See is an engrossing narrative that will leave you on the edge of your seat when reading a journey of deception, moral ambiguity, and attraction.
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Slade-Robinson, Nikki
Anywhere Artist. 2018. Picture Book.
“I don’t need paint or paper. I can make art anywhere. My imagination is all I need.” In this delightful picture book Slade-Robinson illustrates a young artist whose creativity propels her and emphasizes the message that anyone can be an artist with the help of their imagination. This picture book will inspire all young artists to use their imagination and creativity to bolster their artistic creations. Anywhere Artist is a useful tool in helping springboard lessons of found object art projects and how to use your imagination to create art anywhere and with anything!
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Smith, Nikkolas
The Artivist. 2023. Picture Book.
When a young boy discovers the inequalities in the world, he feels the urge to do more. He decides to combine his skills of artistry and passion for activism to be renamed as an artivist. Once he completes a mural that goes viral, he finds his purpose in one painting at a time to shed light on the injustices in the world. Nikkolas Smith presents young readers with an enthralling tale to urge young readers to acknowledge the injustices in their world and provide art and creativity as healing for the broken world we live in.
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Soontornvat, Christina
Illustrator: Davenier, Christine
Simon at the Art Museum. 2020. Picture Book.
Simon at the Art Museum is a delightful picture book that follows Simon and his first time visiting an art museum. He realizes just how much art he must look at and decides to take a break by sitting on a bench. When Simon sits on the bench and begins to observe others, he realizes the several types of people that come to visit a museum and how each person has a different reaction to viewing the art. Some people smile, some people are in groups, some people shake their heads, and others shed a tear. Simon at the Art Museum focuses on new experiences and learning about seeing things from an unfamiliar perspective.
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Yamasaki, Katie and Lendler, Ian
Everything Naomi Loved. 2020. Picture Book.
Naomi’s home is on 11th street. It is characterized by the honking cars, pizza by slice, the hair by Carmen, the corner bodega, and where her best friend Ada lives. However, the 11th street Naomi loves and recognizes begins to change, the shops begin to close, buildings are torn down, Naomi’s neighbors are being pushed out and must move. Naomi’s once beloved 11th street becomes unrecognizable which leads her to pick up a paintbrush inspired by her neighbor Mister Ray’s words that “when something we love goes away, we paint it on the wall so it’s always with us.” Naomi then creates an 11th street mural detailing all the intricacies and facets of the precious things that make 11th street special. Everything Naomi Loved is an inspiring tale of a celebration of community and friendship with threads of social justice that will remind us of all about how special home can be to each of us.
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