In the midst of Hollywood’s award season, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the glitz and glamour of famous stars. Famous actors and actresses walk the red carpet in beautiful designer outfits. Famous musicians put on spectacular shows during Grammy performances, sold-out concerts, and Super Bowl half-time shows. Famous authors and painters might not always get as much time in the limelight, but they still produce entertaining and thoughtful pieces of literature and art. If you’ve ever wondered how these famous people got started, look no further! Browse the list of books below to discover the humble beginnings and fascinating inspirations of some of the world’s greatest artists.
To find more children’s books about famous artists, please use our online catalog and search subject terms similar to “artists” and “juvenile” or “musicians” and “juvenile” in the advanced search boxes. Feel free to use whatever artistic career you’re interested in and see what inspiring books you find in our S-Collection.
Actors and Actresses
Just Being Audrey. 2011.
This enchanting tale features colorful illustrations that truly bring to life the tale of Audrey Hepburn’s journey to fame. With childhood dreams of becoming Europe’s top ballerina, Audrey is faced with a multitude of road blocks that lead her to the world of acting instead. An incredibly delightful read.
[SSHEL S-Collection SB. H5292c]
Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy. 2016.
True to its title, this book tells the fascinating life of Leonard Nimoy and his journey to starring in one of the most popular television shows of all time: Star Trek. From a young age, Nimoy loved to perform, but his parents wanted him to set his sights on a more practical career, like becoming a musician. Nimoy never quit on his dream and did everything in his power to reach the stardom he always knew he was capable of achieving.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SB. N713m]
Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story. 2009.
An inspiring story of how famous actress Anna May Wong overcame racism and adversity in Hollywood to proudly represent people of Asian descent on film. Disgusted with being cast in stereotypical roles and watching white actors perform in “yellow face,” Anna May Wong moves from California to China to act in roles that respectfully and truthfully represent her culture.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SB. W84y]
Mary Cassatt: Extraordinary Impressionist Painter. 2015.
With simple text and beautiful impressionist-style illustrations, this book dives into the life of Mary Cassatt, a champion for female empowerment in the art world. Overcoming adversity as a woman in the 1800s, Mary proves that anyone can create beautiful, inspiring art.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SB. C343h]
Rubin, Susan Goldman.
Andy Warhol: Pop Art Painter. 2006.
Full of bold colors, family photographs, and pictures of Andy’s art, this book tells the story of Andy Warhol’s life, from a young boy from Pittsburgh who loved to draw to the wildly famous, eccentric artist who turned a Campbell’s soup can into a world-renowned painting.
[SSHEL S-Collection SB. W275r]
Rubin, Susan Goldman.
Edward Hopper: Painter of Light and Shadow. 2007.
The story of famous artist Edward Hopper’s life and maturation as an artist in the early half of 20th Century America. Each page includes pictures of Hopper’s drawings and paintings, starting from his earliest sketches to his most famous painting, Nighthawks.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SB. H798r]
The inspiring story of Frida Khalo’s incredible resilience. After suffering from a bus accident that nearly killed her, Frida endured the constant pain that enveloped her body by escaping through her art. As the daughter of a photographer and painter, Frida learned a love of art from her father and let her imagination lead her life. A simple yet beautiful read.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. S. 759.972 W734f]
When Bob Met Woody: The Story of the Young Bob Dylan. 2011.
A story that proves the truly life-changing effects of folk music. Whenever he felt alone or sad, Bob Dylan channeled his emotions into the music he listened to and performed. Never deterred by his humble beginnings, Bob strove to make his idol, Hank Williams, proud by singing songs about the honest struggles of life. Complete with quotes from Bob and stunning illustrations throughout.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SB. D996g]
Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became the Beatles. 2015.
With space dedicated to each of the member’s childhoods and backgrounds, this book tells the story of how the Beatles let their shared passion for music change the history of the music scene forever. An incredibly interesting read for anyone who loves these British icons.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. S.782.421660922 R2711f]
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone. 2014.
A bright and colorful tale of Melba Liston’s journey to stardom as a female trombone player. As a little girl, Melba loved jazz music and knew she was meant to play the trombone. She gracefully overcame racist and sexist comments that people directed toward her for being a black woman touring the country in a jazz band. She let her voice be heard through her trombone and played along fellow famous musicians across the world.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SB. L698r]
How Jelly Roll Morton Invented Jazz. 2015.
A magical telling of the life and accomplishments of Ferdinand Joseph La Menthe (famously known as Jelly Roll Morton). Complete with song lyrics, a “recipe for jazz,” and an inviting second-person narration, the story of this “father of jazz” is a true delight.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SB. M889w]
Langston’s Train Ride. 2004.
Written in first-person point of view, this beautiful story lets readers enter the mind of a young Langston Hughes as he finds inspiration for his famous poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” With stunning visual and verbal artistry throughout, this book offers a unique look at this famous poet’s early life and works.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SB. L285b]
Road to Oz: Twists, Turns, Bumps, and Triumphs in the Life of L. Frank Baum. 2008.
A dazzling tale of L. Frank Baum’s life, starting from his golden childhood to the everyday adventures he found as inspiration while writing his best-selling children’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A great story that reminds you to always keep a sense of wonder and a love for adventure.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SB. B327k]
In Search of the Little Prince: The Story of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. 2014.
A lovely telling of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s remarkable life as an adventurous, daring pilot and author. As a young boy, Antoine was fascinated by airplanes and the ability to fly, so he dedicated his life to becoming a pilot. From fighting in both world wars to transporting international mail to writing about his terrific adventures, Antoine lived his life to the absolute fullest.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SB. S137l]
Beatrix Potter. 1995.
From playing with her family’s pet rabbit, Peter, to becoming England’s self-professed expert on mushrooms, Beatrix surrounded herself with nature and loved to write about and paint her surroundings. As a woman in the late 19th to early 20th Century, however, Beatrix faced a lot of sexist critics who didn’t take her writing seriously. Beatrix was never deterred, however, and she went on to write dozens of delightful children’s stories that are still loved today.
[SSHEL S-Collection SB. P866w]