Monday, April 7, 2008

How Artists See by Colleen Carroll

How Artists See Series by Colleen Carroll

Publisher: Abbeville Press
Age Range: 9-12

Colleen Carroll's How Artists See series is a series of inquiry- based books that teach children about art. For example, How Artists See America: East West South Midwest, explores the four different regions of the United States through 16 works of art. Some notable pieces include, Thomas Cole's "Niagara Falls", Winslow Homer's "Breezing Up (A Fair Wind)", and Grant Wood's "American Gothic." Each work of art is presented in full color with a brief narrative about the piece and the region it represents. In addition, Ms. Carroll includes thought-provoking questions with each narrative to encourage children to look deeper into the technical aspects of the art.

For instance, in "American Gothic," Ms. Carroll discusses foreground and background and shows how Grant Wood brought the two together through the same pattern of the curtain hanging in the window and the woman's apron. She then asks, "What other repeated shapes and patterns can you find?" Earlier on, she asks readers what they think the woman is looking at and whether or not they think she's comfortable having her picture taken.

In the author's note in the back of the book, Ms. Carroll gives more suggestions for activities including researching and visiting historic sites, writing short skits, creating their own painting, and more. She also includes artist biographies, suggestions for further reading, and a list of places where you can go to see the artists' work.

Classroom and home school teachers can also find additional ideas for activities in the 25-page How Artists See Teacher's Guide.

This series would be an excellent supplement to a language arts, history, or art classroom and would be a great way to introduce children to art.

Other books in the series include:

You may also purchase any of these books, including boxed sets directly from Abbeville Press's website.

Check out the rest of the Nonfiction Monday Roundup at Picture Book of the Day.

*Picture of American Gothic from

1 comment:

  1. I want to thank you for your positive review of my book, How Artists See America. You certainly got the the heart and soul of the book, which is to encourage inquiry and exploration of and within the featured artworks, to fire imagination, and to instill an appreciation of and fascination for artistic vision and individual style. Writing the How Artists See series was an eight year labor of love, and I am thrilled that you are sharing it with your readers. Later this month, my new series, How Artists See, Jr. will be published by Abbeville Family, the new imprint from Abbeville Press. To learn more about How Artists See, please visit my website at And thanks again! --Colleen Carroll