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:
I 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.