The best picture books about artistic expression

Who am I?

As a children’s writer I have to draw on my own creativity, celebrate my own ideas and quash self-doubt every time I work on a story. I teach creative writing, run workshops, and visit schools regularly – above all, I want to instill courage and the love of bold imagination in children. Picture book age children have such fantastic creativity and joyous wonder at the world around them. How wonderful to see that creative energy reflected back in a story which will hopefully spark more journeys into wonderful invented places, spaces, pictures, and tales. Imagination has brought me such great joy, I hope I can pass a spark of that onwards...


I wrote...

Book cover of Calm Down, Zebra

What is my book about?

Gorgeously illustrated with extra shimmer and shine, Calm Down, Zebra explores artistic self-expression in a bright, bold and free-thinking way. Through funny rhyming text, the picture book story aims to inspire creativity and an appreciation of colour in every young artist. Enthusiastic Zebra is eager to get in on the act as Annie tries to teach her little brother about colours. But although things don't turn out quite the way she imagines, together they make the world a brighter and more beautiful place!

"A joy to read aloud . . . guaranteed to win the hearts of all little mischief-makers." - Lancashire Post

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Day the Crayons Quit

Lou Kuenzler Why did I love this book?

A glorious, mini rebellion of colour and newfound artistic freedom. This deservedly popular picture book is as smart and funny as the youngsters it is aimed at.  Each new character we meet is wonderfully individual and uniquely creative. A rainbow of inspiration! Who knew we could care about crayons so much? Bliss!

By Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Day the Crayons Quit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

The Number One New York Times Bestseller!

Debut author Drew Daywalt and international bestseller Oliver Jeffers team up to create a colourful solution to a crayon-based crisis in this playful, imaginative story that will have children laughing and playing with their crayons in a whole new way.

Poor Duncan just wants to colour in. But when he opens his box of crayons, he only finds letters, all saying the same thing: We quit!

Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown, Blue needs a break from colouring in all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green…


Book cover of Vera Jewel Is Late for School

Lou Kuenzler Why did I love this book?

When determined Vera is late for school, she uses her wild, funny, and inventive creativity to save the day.  This hilarious and original story is buzzing with resourcefulness and passion. It is perfect for learning about standing on your own two feet - and being rewarded for hard work and inventiveness along the way! 

By Nicola Kent,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vera Jewel Is Late for School as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

When Vera Jewel's bike breaks one morning, she takes matters into her own hands and comes up with some ingenious - and very funny! - ways to get to school. From jumping on her space hopper to making her own catapult, Vera's ideas get more and more adventurous, but nothing seems to get her there on time. It's a good thing that she's one determined little girl who never gives up . . .

Vera Jewel is Late for School is a warm, funny and very original story about determination and creativity, perfect for learning about standing on your own…


Book cover of Bob the Artist

Lou Kuenzler Why did I love this book?

With simple and stunning illustrations we see long-legged Bob the bird learn to celebrate himself with a relaxed and creative flourish. Once seen, you will never forget those wonderful knobbly knees! Bob’s adventures cleverly and accessibly introduce art appreciation in a whole new way as he celebrates not only his own individuality but that of great artists too.

By Marion Deuchars,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bob the Artist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Bob the bird is just like all his friends, apart from his skinny legs. When Bob is teased, he decides to try and change himself to fit in. But little does he know where all his efforts will lead him...

An affirming picture book for age 3+ about the power of art and of being confident enough to be yourself.


Book cover of Matisse's Magical Trail

Lou Kuenzler Why did I love this book?

What a wonderfully creative idea it is to imagine a snail who draws beautiful art with his very own snail trail. This bold and colourful picture book encourages children to notice the small things all around them and delight in the details. This warm story encourages self-expression and celebrates the world around us (big and small) in every colour of the rainbow.

By Tim Hopgood, Sam Boughton (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Matisse's Magical Trail as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A beautiful, colourful and bold picture book that encourages children to notice the small things, think big, and express themselves! Matisse is a young snail who loves to create beautiful drawings with his trail. The trouble is most of the time people are far too busy to even notice them. It's only when a child notices Matisse's beautiful trails that his art is finally celebrated - and they inspire a whole class of children to get creative
too!


Book cover of The Pencil

Lou Kuenzler Why did I love this book?

This witty, quirky, ever-escalating modern classic celebrates burgeoning creativity and rubs out the criticism of others and our own self-doubt! A joyous squiggle of a story with the eponymous Pencil as a hero. How often does our own creativity – especially when we are little – begin with a single pencil line?

By Allan Ahlberg, Bruce Ingman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pencil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A pencil draws a boy, a dog, a cat and a whole world for them to play in. Then the pencil draws a brush, and the brush adds colour to everything. Everyone is very happy, until the pencil draws a rubber... which begins rubbing everything out.


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At What Cost, Silence?

By Karen Lynne Klink,

Book cover of At What Cost, Silence?

Karen Lynne Klink Author Of At What Cost, Silence?

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Child abuse survivor Reader Adventure traveler Animal lover

Karen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Secrets, misunderstandings, and a plethora of family conflicts abound in this historical novel set along the Brazos River in antebellum Washington County, East Texas.

It is a compelling story of two neighboring plantation families and a few of the enslaved people who serve them. These two plantations are a microcosm of a country on the brink of war, encompassing a variety of issues: love and friendship between men, relationships between fathers and sons, sibling rivalry, slavery, and the position of women in society.

At What Cost, Silence?

By Karen Lynne Klink,

What is this book about?

Adrien Villere suspects he is not like other boys. For years, he desperately locks away his feelings and fears-but eventually, tragedy and loss drive him to seeking solace from his mentor, a young neighbor Jacob Hart. Jacob's betrayal of Adrien's trust, however, results in secret abuse, setting off a chain of actions from which neither Adrien's wise sister, Bernadette, nor his closest friend, Isaac, can turn him.

At What Cost, Silence presents two contrasting plantation families in a society where strict rules of belief and behavior are clear, and public opinion can shape an entire life. Centerstage are the Villeres,…


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