What We’re Reading Wednesday: I Am An Artist

Welcome back to What We’re Reading Wednesday!  I had planned a special book review for today, but it isn’t quite ready yet.  My sister Emily is visiting us for a few days; Emily is an art teacher, and serendipitously our brand new copy of Pat Lowery Collins’ I Am An Artist arrived yesterday.  I asked my sister to share her professional feedback on this beautiful book:

iamanartistI Am an Artist by Pat Lowery Collins is a wonderful way to show children what it means to be an artist.  Robin Brickman’s illustrations truly capture the beauty all around us.

As an art educator, I have found that all students – no matter what age – have varying insecurities about their drawing skills.  However, young children in the 3-5 range are definitely the most willing to learn about what an artist is and how they can be an artist, too.  Additionally, they are the least likely to be embarrassed about what they’ve created, no matter what it is. That’s why this book is so good for the little ones in this age group because it teaches, at such an impressionable age, how artists see the world around them and how they can be an artist too.

Each page contains the words, “I am an artist when…..” and then shows examples of how artists view their world differently.  For example, artists don’t just see clouds in the sky, they see faces. And artists don’t just see a boring seashell, they notice the shiny iridescent colors reflected on the shell’s surface. I especially love the part about  “…when I make something from the things I collect…” as this is an example of one of my personal favorites, found object art.

This also book teaches the most fundamental skill that children need to hear as much as possible: draw what you see, not what you know. Ms. Collins talks about examining the people, places, and things around them so that they will get a true sense of how feathery the bird is or the spherical characteristic of an orange. This book also shows children how to see the elements of art like texture, shape, and color in the everyday common world around them. I highly recommend this book for parents who want to encourage creativity and right-brained thinking. It shows, in a very beautiful way, what it means to be an artist.

Emily has taught art for the past seven years. She has experienced all grade levels Kindergarten through 12th grade and she truly believes that art education is her ultimate passion.


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  1. What wonderful insight…I couldn’t agree more. When I taught art I found that so many students were held back because they felt their project needed to look like someone else’s rather than coming from their own unique perspective on the world. I truly believe that becoming an artist is just as much about learning to see as learning to create. I will definitely be looking for that book…thanks!

  2. This looks like such a wonderful book! Thanks for the review.. I just put it in my library cue.. I think my son will LOVE reading this!

  3. Thanks for this review – it looks like a great book for my daughters!

  4. Thanks for the suggestion. I am always sad when I hear that older kids start losing their motivation to create art because they feel they can’t draw as well as others, or are exposed to rigid “rules” instead of unleashing their creativity. This book sounds like a good way to start them thinking creatively from a young age.

  5. My daughter tells everyone that she is an artist. She loves to do art and already identifies herself that way at five years old. I discovered this book one day at the library and got it for her. She loved it. It really reinforced for her that she is an artist and has an artist’s soul.

    Great book and great review.

  6. This sounds like a great find. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I’m so glad I happened upon this site and such a wonderful review of my book “I Am An Artist.” I thought you might want to know about a recent sequel called “I Am A Dancer” which demonstrates a child’s natural ability to dance through the depiction of ordinary motions and movement throughout an ordinary day.

    Thanks so much for your interest.