Art books are some of the best tools for fostering student creativity. Whether they’re teaching art processes, encouraging creative freedom or providing activity ideas, these books deliver the perfect mix of creativity, imagination and fun.

Art books are some of the best tools for fostering student creativity. Whether they’re teaching art processes, encouraging creative freedom or providing activity ideas, these books deliver the perfect mix of creativity, imagination and fun.

There are a number of art books available to foster student creativity in afterschool. But to help you get started, here are seven art books that you need to spark students’ creative spirit:

1. Beautiful OOPS!

When creating art, mistakes will always happen. Students may draw a crooked shape, color outside the lines or rip their paper. But mistakes are an important part in the artmaking process, and they can lead to one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Beautiful OOPS! reinforces this concept by helping students turn their “oops!” into something beautiful. And with My Book of Beautiful OOPS!, an interactive journal, students are encouraged to scribble it, smear it and tear it to nurture their creative freedom.

2. Simple STEAM

The arts are praised as a way to add creativity to STEM, yet they’re often left out of the equation. Simple STEAM, however, provides more than 50 activities that seamlessly integrate art with science, technology, engineering and math. And the powerful combination reinforces key 21st Century skills like creativity, collaboration and problem solving. Introducing STEAM activities to students is a great way to teach them to find the creativity in everything they do, even the seemingly non-creative tasks.

3. The Dot

Every child is an artist, and The Dot can help your students tap into their inner Picasso through surprise and self-discovery. The story follows a girl named Vashti who, by her own account, can’t draw. And to prove her point to her art teacher, she marked her blank paper with a big, angry dot. But surprisingly, the dot awakens her creative spirit and takes her to places she never would’ve imagined. This story is sure to inspire your students to make their own mark and see where it takes them.

4. The Day the Crayons Quit

Imagine a world where crayons no longer wanted to, well, color? The Day the Crayons Quit brings that notion to life when Duncan’s crayons decide to call a strike. Black Crayon wanted to do more than draw outlines. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are competing for the true color of the sun. The humorous story will not only make students laugh, but it will also help them explore and apply color in unconventional ways.

5. Art with Anything: 52 Weeks of Fun Using Everyday Stuff

What’s better than creating art? Creating it every single day! And Art with Anything makes it easy with 52 weeks of activities that use easy-to-find, everyday materials. Each week features one material - like fabric scraps, leaves or rocks - and provides fives days of unique activities. Other materials used include buttons, cardboard, hole-punch dots and masking tape. This invaluable resource is designed to spark creativity, imagination and fun all year long.

6. Dribble Drabble: Process Art Experiences for Young Children

There is no right or wrong way of doing things in art. In fact, the very nature of art champions originality, creativity, fluency and flexibility. That’s why the activities in Dribble Drabble focus more on the process, and not the finished product. The 145 process-oriented art activities allow for growth and fun while building on students’ interests and inquiries. Even more, the book covers a wide range of media - like  painting, collage and sculpture and printing - to help students explore different art techniques.

7. When Pigasso Met Mootisse

When Pigasso Met Mootisse delivers art inspiration and social-emotional learning all wrapped in one funny story! The book introduces students to two of the world’s most extraordinary artists while teaching an important lesson - how to creatively resolve conflict in an unusual way. The wacky illustrations alone will inspire students to step outside the box when it comes to creating art.

Art breeds creativity, and creativity promotes important skills like self-expression, problem solving and risk-taking. Use these books to incorporate art and foster student creativity in your afterschool program.