#Kidlit: Art Lesson Using A Celebration of Beatrix Potter Book

Have you considered doing a lesson on picture book illustrators, which would combine aspects of art, literature, and history?  A Celebration of Beatrix Potter: Art and letters by more than 30 of today’s favorite children’s book illustrators by Beatrix Potter (and many others) is a perfect resource to get you started.

Last year, 2016, was the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s birth. To honor her, thirty-two famous children’s book illustrators produced artwork and stories inspired by Potter’s picture books. The featured illustrators range from Lauren Castillo and Tomie dePaola to Rosemary Wells and Pamela Zagarenski. See Kelly Murphy’s website for one example.

The official word is this book is for readers grades three up. You might be skeptical, but it does have the potential to appeal to a range of ages.  Younger children will be probably be captivated by the assortment of illustrations and the excerpts from Potter’s children’s books. Adults will be interested in the accompanying essays by the illustrators, as well as the historical tidbits provided as background for Potter’s books. For example, we learn The Tailor of Gloucester was Beatrix Potter’s favorite and that it was based on a true story. How fun!

A Celebration of Beatrix Potter is a treasure trove to explore, especially for readers interested in art and books. It is valuable as a resource for art and history lessons, and as a reference. But best of all it is a fitting tribute to Beatrix Potter’s genius. Check out a copy today.

Examples of ways to use the book for art lessons:

Activity 1. Exploring Illustrations


  • A Celebration of Beatrix Potter
  • Books by the featured illustrators
  1. Free exploration:   Encourage children to examine the illustrations in A Celebration of Beatrix Potter closely. They may be surprised by what they discover. For instance, David Wiesner points out Jeremy Fisher (a frog) has tiny non-frog feet with shoes on when he’s out of the water. Look at the thickness of the lines, the colors, textures, etc.
  2. Challenge:  Show an illustration from another book by one of the featured illustrators (without identifying the illustrator). See if the children can figure out who the illustrator is by matching similarities to illustrations in A Celebration of Beatrix Potter. Hint:  Rosemary Wells and Tomie dePaola might be good illustrators to start with.

Activity 2:  Warm and Cool Colors


  • Paper
  • Crayons
  • Colored pencils
  • Markers
  • Optional:  Paints and paintbrushes

Explain that colors on a color wheel are divided into warm and cool colors based on how they relate to our experiences and how they make us feel. Warm colors are red, orange, and yellow. Cool colors are green, blue, and purple.

Show the children an illustration filled with cool colors, like Jon Agee’s illustration on page 33. Contrast it with an illustration with warm colors like Rosemary Well’s illustration on page 51. You can also compare the winter scenes on page 46 with the warm interior scenes on page 47. Ask the children to point out the warm and cool colors in each. Encourage them to describe how they feel about each illustration. Why do they think the artist chose those colors?

Have the children create their own illustrations using mostly cool or mostly warm colors. If they have the time and interest, have them create an illustration with the opposite colors and compare them.


Take a peek inside from Google Books:


Age: Grade 3+
Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: Warne (November 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0241249430
ISBN-13: 978-0241249437

Beatrix Potter had pet rabbits as a child.

Disclosure: This book was supplied by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.



Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

#ReadYourWorld: Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 Events and Free Stuff

Wow, I got back into blogging about children’s books at exactly the right time. There are so many exciting things going on. One of the biggest is Multicultural Children’s Book Day, which is scheduled for Friday January 27, 2017.

If you’re like me, you always want to hear about the free stuff first.

Free Resources for Teachers and Parents:

And don’t forget all the reviews of multicultural books which will be linked to the website on January 27.


More information:

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team is on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books


Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett AbourayaVeronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen BurkinshawDelores Connors, Maria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid ImaniGwen Jackson,  Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’MalleyStacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda PaulAnnette PimentelGreg RansomSandra Richards, Elsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang


Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use the official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas

Black History Month is coming up in February. Celebrate by reading the incredible picture book Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks and illustrated by Colin Bootman, which honors the life of an inspiring man who deserves special recognition.

Vivien Thomas wanted to go to college and study medicine, but the money he had saved to go to school was wiped out when the stock market crashed at the beginning of the Great Depression. Instead, he found a job working for Dr. Alfred Blalock at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Blalock saw Vivien’s potential and taught him how to do medical research. Regardless of the roadblocks thrown at him because of his race and lack of degrees, Vivien Thomas developed medical techniques still saving babies’ lives today.

On her website, Gwendolyn Hooks explains it took her six years to research and write this book. The depth of knowledge and attention to detail shows. She also explains Vivien’s unusual name. She says his parents had picked out the girl’s name Vivian, but when they had a boy, they quickly changed the “a” to an “e.” A unique name for a unique man.

It would be impossible to review this book without mentioning Colin Bootman’s fabulous watercolor illustrations. They set just the right tone to accompany the thoughtful text.

Besides being an obvious choice for Black History month, Tiny Stitches fits in the curriculum a number of ways. For STEM, it could accompany units on the human body (see the discussion of Tetralogy of Fallot and a “Glossary of Medical Terms” in the back matter), and to show how the development of new technology (like tiny needles) is important to medical research. It is an excellent choice to learn about biographies, what they contain and how they are written. Another idea: elementary schools often have wax museums or other events were student dress up and portray famous historical figures. Vivien Thomas would be an ideal subject to inform and inspire future generations.

Tiny Stitches is an outstanding picture book biography. Share a copy with a child soon. Who knows where it might lead.


Age Range: 7 – 12 years
Grade Level: 2 – 6
Publisher: Lee & Low Books (May 15, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1620141566
ISBN-13: 978-1620141564


Disclosure: This book was supplied by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.


Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

#Cybils: 2016 Children’s Book Finalists Announced Today

New Year’s Day is always exciting for a number of reasons, but the best is the announcement of the 2016 children’s book finalists for all the categories of Cybils Awards.

Let’s take a peek at some of the nonfiction finalists in the elementary/juvenile category. There are an unusually large number of books listed this year:  fourteen! I suspect it is because of the high number of awesome books that were nominated. Here are some of the highlights:

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear* by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

(*Amazon affiliate links)

This one just “bearly” made the nomination period because it was published in October of 2015. In fact, it was the 2016 winner of the Caldecott Medal. It’s a heart-warming story about a real bear named Winnie (after the town of Winnipeg) who eventually found a home at the London Zoo.

Plants Can’t Sit Still by Rebecca E. Hirsch and illustrated by Mia Posada.

Although they can’t run around like some animals can, plants can move quite a bit. Sunflowers follow the sun, tendrils can creep around, and seeds can shoot away. A deeper look into the life of plants.

Isn’t the cover beautiful?

Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet

I’m beginning to see why there are so many finalists this year. Melissa Sweet is such a wonderful illustrator, and what better topic for a children’s book than E. B. White? No wonder this book was a Caldecott Honor book.

The Slowest Book Ever by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Kelly Murphy

As a middle grade title, this book is longer than some of the other finalists. That’s because April Pulley Sayre “takes her time” delving into the topic. Could also be titled The Most Fun Book Ever.

Will’s Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk by Jane Sutcliffe and illustrated by John Shelley

Word play is popular around my house, so I can appreciate this choice. It introduces children both to Shakespeare’s plays and to the “household words” that have became part of our everyday vocabulary.

The Inventors of LEGO® Toys (Awesome Minds) by Erin Hagar and illustrated by Paige Garrison

Given the popularity of LEGO® Toys, this book is sure to reel in a bunch of reluctant readers.

If you are looking for great books for kids of all ages, be sure to visit the Cybils Awards website.