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With schools emphasizing STEM activities for children to meet curriculum goals for standardized testing, nurturing children’s artistic creativity is often given short shrift. Kirker’s fun resource aims to restore the balance, offering more than two dozen projects that will spark children’s interest in art and encourage creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. Designed for kids aged 5-10, and flexible enough to use in either storytimes or classroom settings, the projects here

  • introduce children to a variety of art techniques, from gouache and watercolor to collage and papermaking, using a curated selection of quality picture books;
  • provide detailed directions for guiding children to experiment with these techniques to create their own projects; and
  • include materials lists adaptable for any budget, capsule biographies of the picture books’ illustrators, programming tips, and links to additional resources.

Kirker’s inventive projects will help library staff and educators reinforce learning, encourage experimentation, and build an appreciation for art and the creative process.


1    Inside Outside / Gouache
by Lizi Boyd

2    The Easter Egg / Watercolor and Gouache
by Jan Brett

3    “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” Said the Sloth / Painted Tissue Paper
by Eric Carle

4    Trombone Shorty / Watercolor Collage
by Troy Andrews

5    Hooray for Birds / Gouache
by Lucy Cousins

6    Snowballs / Cut Paper and Collage
by Lois Ehlert

7    Go Away, Big Green Monster! / Cut Paper
by Ed Emberley

8    UnderGROUND / Pulp Papermaking
by Denise Fleming

9    My Garden / Ink and Watercolor
by Kevin Henkes

10    Snowman’s Story / Mixed Media
by Will Hillenbrand

11    Flying Frogs and Walking Fish / Torn and Cut Paper Collage
by Steve Jenkins

12    Wave / Charcoal and Pencil
by Suzy Lee

13    The Red Book / Ink, Watercolor, and Gouache
by Barbara Lehman

14    Duck for President / Ink and Watercolor
by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin

15    Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood / Acrylics
by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell; illustrated by Rafael López

16    Mama, Is It Summer Yet? / Cut Paper
by Nikki McClure

17    Niño Wrestles the World / Mixed Media Acrylics and Inks
by Yuyi Morales

18    The Three Billy Goats Gruff / Watercolor
by Jerry Pinkney

19    We Came to America / Story Quilts
by Faith Ringgold

20    I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean / Mixed Media—Watercolor, Cut Paper, and Ink
by Kevin Sherry

21    A Perfect Day / Mixed Media
by Lane Smith

22    Because Amelia Smiled / Mixed Media
by David Ezra Stein

23    Daddy Hugs / Watercolor and Pencil
by Nancy Tafuri

24    Tuesday / Watercolor
by David Wiesner

25    Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! / Cartoon
by Mo Willems

Appendix: Material Guidelines

Christine M. Kirker

Christine M. Kirker is a library associate with the Carroll County (Maryland) Public Library. Since joining the library staff in 2005, Christine has developed and presented many programs for children of all ages, including monthly preschool science programs. She is the coauthor of Storytime Magic (ALA Editions, 2009), Kindergarten Magic (ALA Editions, 2011), and Multicultural Storytime Magic (ALA Editions, 2012). Previously, Christine spent ten years at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) as a research analyst for the Office of Institutional Research. She graduated from UMBC in 1992. Christine presents trainings and programs introducing ways to enhance storytimes through Storytime Stuff.

”Useful for new librarians looking for craft ideas to enhance storytime and inspire young artists."
— School Library Journal