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.
Q. SE. B7512w

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.
Q. SE. Es64bo

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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Ingenious Inventors and Inventions

“An invention has to make sense in the world it finishes in, not in the world it started.” – Tim O’Reilly

These books are all about the amazing inventions in our world and the inventors who weren’t afraid to dream big and make mistakes along the way. These innovative individuals just wanted to make a difference in people’s lives and they came up with some incredible ideas like chocolate chip cookies, Band-Aids, frozen food, and more! If you want to learn about the brilliant and creative minds behind your favorite invention, check out the list of books below!

To find more books about the amazing ideas people have every day, try searching the catalog using a combination of subject terms like “juvenile fiction” for fiction books or “juvenile literature” for nonfiction books along with “inventions,” “inventors,” or a particular invention or field you want to learn more about. Many nonfiction books about inventions can be found in the 609 call number range.

Barton, Chris.
Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions. 2016 (Nonfiction: picture book)
Lonnie Johnson has always loved building and playing with ideas, and his most memorable is definitely the Super Soaker. Most people don’t know, however, that he struggled to get a toy company to buy his product or that he invented other amazing things working for NASA. As readers learn about Lonnie’s life, they see someone who never gave up and continues to dream and create new inventions.
[S-Collection Q. S.609.2 B2854wh]

Ford, Gilbert.
How the Cookie Crumbled: The True (and Not-So-True) Stories of the Invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie. 2017 (Nonfiction: picture book)
Have you ever thought about when the chocolate chip cookie was first made? This playful picture book tells the story of Ruth Wakefield, a chef who started a restaurant with her husband and invented (Accidentally? On purpose?) the chocolate chip cookie and shared the beloved recipe with the country. With an author’s note, recipe for Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies, and bibliography, this book is sure to be a hit with cookie lovers of all ages – just be sure to be ready to bake some chocolate chip cookies after you read it!
[S-Collection Q. S.641.5092 F7521h]

Gifford, Clive.
50 Things You Should Know About Inventions. 2016 (Nonfiction: chapter book)
A useful overview of important inventions throughout history, this book explores the past while leaving room to see where inventions can take us next. There are plenty of illustrations and fun facts to keep readers interested and craving more information. Kids will be amazed to think about how someone had to invent the ordinary things we take for granted and will be excited to dream up the next great invention.
[S-Collection S.609 G3663i]

Glass, Andrew.
Flying Cars: The True Story. 2015 (Nonfiction: chapter book)
Ever since airplanes and cars were invented, people have been dreaming of the combination. This book shares the stories of those inventors and the amazing things they have been able to create throughout the years. With historical pictures and plans sprinkled throughout, readers will eagerly turn the pages to find out if their dreams come true.
[S-Collection S.629.04 G4632f]

Grandin, Temple.
Calling All Minds: How to Think and Create Like an Inventor. 2018 (Nonfiction: chapter book)
Temple Grandin, a successful scientist and inventor, takes readers on a behind-the-scenes tour of inventions and the process inventors go through when thinking through problems. She not only illustrates different ways to look at the world, but she passionately shares with the readers the importance of using their imagination and developing their curiosity. With pictures, diagrams, and projects to try at home, kids won’t want to stop thinking, tinkering, or fiddling with their own inventions.
[S-Collection S.507.8 G764c]

Kurlansky, Mark.
Frozen in Time: Clarence Birdseye’s Outrageous Idea about Frozen Food. 2014 (Nonfiction biography: chapter book)
This accessible chapter book tells the life story of Clarence Birdseye, the man who invented frozen food – a topic every kid can relate to! His fascination with food preservation took him on a journey to create the freezing process for food we still use today. He didn’t stop there, however, also inventing the electric sunlamp, a harpoon gun, and more. As they learn about his life and explore the 8 pages of photos, the bibliography, and the index, readers will be inspired by Birdseye’s curiosity and want to see what they can create.
[SB. B618k]

Mosca, Julia Finley.
The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath. 2017 (Nonfiction biography: Picture book)
In this rhyming retelling of Dr. Patricia Bath’s life, kids will learn about more than just her amazing achievements in the field of optometry. The story follows a bright, inquisitive girl as she overcomes obstacles like racism, sexism, and doubt to see her dreams through – and help others see! Fun facts, quotes from Dr. Bath, a timeline of her life, a more detailed biography, and a bibliography all add to this inspirational learning opportunity that will have kids wondering what they can do to change the world.
[Q. SB. B331m]

Sweet, Melissa.
Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade. 2011 (Nonfiction biography: picture book)
Collage and childlike illustrations bring the world of Tony Sarg to life in bright colors. Young readers will love to pore over the images as they read about the man who invented the larger-than-life puppets of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Short text blurbs make this a fast read, but it’s chockfull of information. An author’s note and bibliography is included at the end for those looking for more.
[S-Collection Q. SB. S2451s]

Turner, Tracey.
100 Inventions That Made History: Brilliant Breakthroughs That Shaped our World. 2014 (Nonfiction)
Five sections go through the ingenious inventions that have made our world the place it is today. From the wheel all the way to bionic body parts, readers will traverse the history of inventors who dreamed of making things better or easier. Each page has lots of information and illustrations in an accessible format to pore over, letting inquisitive minds explore to their heart’s content!
[S-Collection Q. S.609 T85o]

Wittenstein, Barry.
The Boo-Boos That Changed the World: A True Story about an Accidental Invention. 2018 (Nonfiction: picture book)
They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and that was definitely the case for Earle Dickson. When his new wife Josephine keeps injuring herself accidentally around the house, he wonders if there is an easier way for her to bandage her own injuries – and the Band-Aid is born! It takes a while for Earle’s invention to be recognized as the genius idea it is, and readers will root for him until the final “the end.”
[S-Collection Q. S.617.13 W784b]