Gi Hallmark | The Children’s Book Review | March 7, 2014
Art activity books can serve as a wonderful meditative tool to help reduce stress, refocus and recharge the brain, and spark inspiration. Encouraging free expression doesn’t have to stop in the elementary years, nor does it have to include an excess of materials or mess. In fact, children can conveniently achieve the tangible and intangible benefits of creative expression with only an inviting activity book and a set of markers or pens. These activity books teach children to appreciate the process, not just the end result, and also allow the opportunity to make and learn from mistakes. All of these benefits and lessons serve as a gym for young brains, training and strengthening for current and future challenges, with the added bonus of creating something beautiful. We’re pleased to share five lovely art activity books that can be therapeutic and inspiring for a wide range of age groups. They make great gifts, and while each of these books offer a different vehicle for expression, they all serve the dual purpose of having fun while nurturing the soul.
Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book
By Johanna Basford
TCBR Take: This is a breathtakingly beautiful coloring book, full of detail, whimsy, and possibilities. Inspiration invades at the turn of the first page and is guaranteed to capture the imagination and attention of any artist young and old.
Publisher’s Synopsis: Tumble down the rabbit hole and find yourself in an inky black-and-white wonderland. This interactive activity book takes you on a ramble through a secret garden created in beautifully detailed pen-and-ink illustrations—all waiting to be brought to life through coloring, but each also sheltering all kinds of tiny creatures just waiting to be found. And there are also bits of the garden that still need to be completed by you. Appealing to all ages, the intricately-realized world of the Secret Garden is both beautiful and inspirational.
Ages 5 and up | 96 pages | Laurence King Publishing | March 2013 | ISBN 9781780671062
The Art of Zentangle: 50 inspiring drawings, designs & ideas for the meditative artist
By Margaret Bremner, Norma Burnell, Penny Raile, Lara Williams
TCBR Take: Zentangling is a meditative exercise for the brain and soul and is effective in refocusing the mind and releasing stress. One of the advantages of Zentangling is that it really only requires a fine permanent marker and a design. This book offers designs, instructions, and completed works for inspiration- a great starter book for new Zentanglers.
Publisher’s Synopsis: Zentangle® is a meditative process of creating art, wherein simple shapes and lines combine to make a complicated and interesting final piece of artwork. The focus of Zentangle is on the process of creation, rather than the end result. The beauty of Zentangle is that there is no right way or wrong way. If you can draw a line and a circle (perfectly or not), you can Zentangle. Zentangle is an art concept that is engaging, approachable, and fun enough for someone who has never picked up any art tools or created a piece of art, yet is still meditative, productive, and creative enough for an advanced artist to enjoy. While many popular Zentangle books share tips, inspiration, and final artwork, there are few that break down Zentangle into a step-by-step process. Structured to be part instruction, part inspiration, and part doodling, The Art of Zentangle will first demonstrate how to create Zentangle art by showing intricate patterns broken out into several steps. After artists have warmed up and are ready to give it a try on their own, they’ll be invited to practice creating their own Zentangle designs on the beautifully designed blank pages of this inspirational sketch journal. A short gallery of final artwork and several inspirational prompts are included in this comprehensive introduction to the new, inspirational world of Zentangle.
Ages 5 and up | 144 pages | Walter Foster Publishing | April 2013 | ISBN 978-1600583582
Connect the Thoughts
By Chronicle Books
TCBR Take: An innovative and interesting way for kids to journal memorable moments in their lives. The pages are comprised of graph paper, which is a fun novelty, and the prompts require pause and reflection, an illuminating exercise within itself.
Publisher’s Synopsis: Finally, the guided journal every kid is waiting for! Featuring a graph paper background with nine dots per page, users can connect dots around the space they choose for various topics. Quirky questions grouped in ten categories run throughout the book to inspire contemplation about everything from inside jokes with friends to designing a map. Best of all, the graph paper design encourages writing or drawing equally. Young thinkers will love creating the perfect time capsule of their life at this moment.
Ages 5 and up | 120 pages | Chronicle Books | August 2013 | ISBN 978-1-4521-1225-1
Zen Doodle Oodles of Doodles: Patterns Galore!
By Tonia Jenny
TCBR Take: Zendoodle, synonymous with Zentangle, is a meditative and cathartic exercise that produces a stunningly detailed design. In this book, you’ll find inviting, original, and creative patterns that young artists will be eager to tackle.
Publisher’s Synopsis: Bring on the tangles! In Zen Doodle Oodles of Doodles, you’ll find even more stunning doodle art from all around the world. With more than 100 original designs, you’re sure to love these gorgeous patterns brimming with the latest tangles and techniques that will inspire your doodling dreams. Then take your tangles to the next level with step-by-step instructions for creating everything from traditional doodle tiles to Zendala, to your favorite tangled art; it’s all here!
You’ll also discover the stories behind each creative tangle and immerse yourself into a world of doodle intrigue. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get your doodle on!
- 100+ Zen doodled art pieces from 48 artists
- Step-by-step instructions to help you on your doodling journey
- Featuring a special Spotlight Artist section where you can get up close and personal with some of your favorite Zen doodle artists
Ages 5 and up| 128 pages | North Light Books | January 2015 | ISBN 978-1440336591
Brain Training Coloring Book
By Patrik Philip Berglund
TCBR Take: Each page is covered in a pattern of lines and circles. Much like cloud gazing, users will see different shapes and designs in these patterns and the fun comes in coloring in the spaces to reveal what you see.
Publisher’s Synopsis: A Coloring Book for All Ages. You decide what you see. With a hashtag for sharing your drawings.
Ages 5 and up | 54 pages | CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform | October 2014 | ISBN 978-1503003057
This list of “5 Art Activity Books for Kids that are Meditative, Innovative, and Inspiring” was curated by Gi Hallmark. Follow along with our Art and Activity Books category to discover more great books just like these ones.