1. says

    What a nice interview! My little guy is still pretty young to do much more than scribble with crayons (we have MaryAnn’s “First Art” book and love it!) but we read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” a lot and the Finnish Muumin trolls. I look forward to a time when my child will enjoy paint more so we can do color themes and whatnot. He’s a bit of a neat freak right now and complains if he has sticky fingers. 

  2. says

    I am inspired by books all the time and we recently did Going on a Bear Hunt. We got out all of our stuffed bears, read the story, and then we glued felt noses, ears and buttons for eyes onto our paper and then sponge painted the rest of our bear around the face.

  3. Sara says

    This book sounds awesome! I haven’t incorporated books into actually doing art (just talking about the art as we read) but will now!

  4. Kjkbono says

    What a cool interview!  I’ve used MaryAnn’s Global Art book quite a bit in my days of teaching and it followed me to my current position at the public library.  Thanks for scoring such a cool author.

  5. says

    Hi, Rachelle. And Thank You for this lovely birthday interview!! My husband just read it over my shoulder and got a little teary, so that was worth it if nothing else, right? Can’t wait to see who wins the free book!!! Love your blog, love you, and love sharing kids art,
    ~ MaryAnn

    maryann_kohl (twitter)

    PS I have a mailing list sign up on my website for people to receive one short newsletter every couple of months, so I am inviting everyone to sign up! (Your info will always be private, so no worries.)

    • Rachelle says

      That is definitely worth it, MaryAnn! I’m so honored to share you on my blog and think the world of you and your work. 

  6. Chelsey Marashian says

    What a wonderful looking book! My favorite books are our seasonal story books. It’s always exciting to pull them out at the start of each season and remember our favorites and add new ones. They usually inspire some seasonal themed art, but sometimes we try to do something related to any techniques the illustrator may have used. 

    • Rachelle says

      As our book collection has grown (thanks grandma and grandpa!), seasonal books have become one of my favorites as well. Having a real-world, real-time connection adds so much meaning to the book reading experience. Great reminder!

  7. M Wall says

    Goodnight Moon has been an inspiration for many things – art included. When reading the book we like to find the mouse hiding on every illustrated page. That translated to hiding a mouse in our hand drawn pictures – fun!

  8. Roberta322 says

    Oh, this book sounds amazing! I love the idea of tying stories and art together. What a great way to expand imaginations!

  9. says

    Some of our favorite craft activities have been based off of books… we love to use storybooks as inspiration! Thanks for the wonderful interview. MaryAnne Kohl is always inspiring!

  10. Julie G says

    I’ve been seeking inspiration in this area for a while now. The book could be just what I need. Thank you for the chance to win!

  11. Amanda Bindel says

    I’d love a copy of the book! I find I can never have too many book recommendations, but I do struggle with giving direction / guidance regarding art projects. This sounds great!

  12. Maureen says

    Would really love to win this!  My boys love books and love art and I would love some ideas of how to combine the two for them.  Thanks, Maureen (jnomaxx at hotmail dot com)

  13. says

    That is great interview!! Loved learning more about ‘our ever inspiring’ lady and thanks for sharing those precious photos:) Wishing her happy birthday again!! 

  14. Carla Reed says

    This is such a cool post! We love Mo Wilems but I haven’t incorporated an art project. I got the wheels turning…

  15. Natalie says

    We absolutely enjoyed many books my Ms Kohl. It would be fun to win this one. And, yes, we do literature-based projects a lot even though my daughter is rather an author than an illustrator.

  16. Sarah M says

    I haven’t seen that Storybook Art book before but I’m so interested! Thanks for the wonderful opportunity and what a great interview! I  loved reading it.
    Sarah M

  17. Sarah M says

    I haven’t seen that Storybook Art book before but I’m so interested! Thanks for the wonderful opportunity and what a great interview! I  loved reading it.
    Sarah M

  18. Danielle says

    what i love about your blog Rachelle and what all your peers are doing, is giving art the celebration is deserves. I grew up with very little art, very few books, no dress up clothes….i would sneak into my dad’s garage and hammer nails into a block then sneak into my moms knitting basket and take some yarn and then hide. I still struggle deeply with my sense of value in art, even though i have made it my focus in life. As rediculous as it sounds – I need advocates like you and Mary Ann to remind me to love and value art as much as i do. And that is what storybooks do for me and my family, they make art real, valued and inspire us to keep the story going.

    • Rachelle says

      Art takes on so many different roles in each of our homes. Just today I asked my Facebook fans if paint easels stress them out or if they give their kids free access to them (I fall into both camps), and the responses were equally divided. I suppose it’s our role as parents to decide what kind of environment we want to set for creativity, because the long-term outcomes as our children become adults is so vital. Thanks for always making me think. xo

  19. says

    I got “First Art for Toddlers and Twos” just a few months ago, and I love it! I’ve been encouraging my son to create since around 7 months old, and I enjoy how the projects in the book can inspire and be modified for all young children. I also like that so many of the supplies I have on hand, or can get easily and affordability!

  20. Kniehans1013 says

    I’m always looking for activities to do with my kids related to their favorite books and fairy tales. I can’t wait to check this book out!

  21. Melissa B says

    What an inspiring interview! I particularly enjoyed learning more about this prolific artist and author’s life.  Happy Birthday! I am familiar with some of her other works, but had not yet seen Storybook Art before. It sounds perfect for our family.  I am not artistic but my 4 and 6 year old are deep into fairy tales and other stories and have caught my love of books (I wish I owned a bookstore or a publishing company like her father:) We particularly love author/illustrators Esla Beskow, Sibylle von Offers (The Story of the Root Children is our favorite) and Jan Brett. 

    • Rachelle says

      Isn’t it fun to get an inside peek at the lives of those who inspire us? Thanks for sharing some of your favorite illustrators and authors. They’re all new to me, and I can’t wait to look for them!

  22. Cathy @ NurtureStore says

    What a fantastic interview! So interesting, especially to read about MaryAnn’s family growing up and the play they enjoyed.

  23. Sandy R. says

    My kids and I love The Snowy Day by J.E. Keats. We make snow with shaving cream and glue and make pictures of what they like to do in the snow!

  24. Kristal says

    Love her! I used First Art when I started a toddler art group last year…
    I haven’t had a chance to do it but I can’t wait to do a large mural with my daughter. I ran an after school literacy program where we used art as a way to bring the books to life. The mural I did with first graders after reading Leo Lionni’s Swimmy. I gave them tons of choices for printing and let them go to town:)

  25. says

    My daughter loves books and adores art, so I’m sure she’d absolutely love to do book related art! What a fantastic idea. (And so wonderful to see the results of a childhood in which creativity was fostered. So inspiring!)

  26. Sarah says

    I’m working on fostering a love for art in my 16 month old son. This weekend was his first time working with glue. He was fascinated by the liquid glue stick and shiny decorations I had found for him to glue on his paper. I like to follow your blog for more information…thanks for focusing on a great author so I can get more inspiration :)

    • Rachelle says

      16 months is a great age to delve into your creative journey. It’s all about the experience, process, and developing small motor skills. Everything is new and amazing to toddlers. I have a 16 month old too, so we’ll go on parts of this adventure together!

  27. Aleacia @ Dilly-Dali Art says

    I would love to win a MaryAnn Kohl book for my collection! I love the art of David Wiesner and Lois Ehlert

  28. Jennifer Logan says

    What a wonderful interview and giveaway!  My toddler loves art of any kind…clean is fun but the messier, the better. 

  29. Hazel Catkins says

    I absolutely love the idea of this book!  My favorite storybook is Alice in Wonderland, for the artwork and for the word play.  One of the best projects that my kids and I did together was inspired by an episode of Mr. Rogers, where he visits with Eric Carle and talks to him about his technique.  So we spent a lot of time coloring and collaging to make interesting animals.  Thanks for the contest.  I can’t wait to see this book!

    • Rachelle says

      Alice in Wonderland — I loved that book! Must put it on our reading list. I bet my 3 year old would LOVE it. You reminded me of a favorite Mr. Rogers crayon-making episode. Aren’t they well done, and don’t kids get so much out of them?

  30. says

    I absolutely love the idea of combining art with literacy.  I am a 5 grade language arts teacher and I also teach an enrichment writing group before school two days per week.  I was looking for an exciting art and writing activity and now I know what I will do!  Thank you for sharing…I can’t wait to get a copy of the book!

    • Rachelle says

      Isn’t that great, Shelly! I’m thrilled to hear that this gave you a bit of inspiration, and would love to hear what you end up doing. Do circle back if you get a chance.

  31. Mkmesmile says

    Happy Birthday, Maryann Kohl! I have several of your books and love them all. Storybook Art sounds great! I love Leo Lionni and Eric Carle’s stories.
    Rachelle, thank you for your wonderful blog! I teach a mommy and me art class and get tons of inspiration and ideas from you!

    • Rachelle says

      That is the nicest compliment! I’d love to hear how our ideas translate into a mommy and me class — it must be an awesome job!

  32. Catherine0807 says

    love this interview and one of my favorite things to do when i work with children is to pair a book with a project related to it…it is very motivating for the kids 

    • Rachelle says

      I don’t know Little Pea. Yay — more new books to hunt for! Isn’t felting great?! I have a felting post in the works and must…get…to…it! Thanks for the reminder.

  33. Sheau says

    Our favorite right now is Winnie the Pooh because Eiya really loves it. We read the Classic versions. My personal favorites are books by Taro Gomi, Jimmy Liao and all his other books. I am thinking to use felt storyboard to recreate the characters or painted stones/wooden eggs. 

  34. says

    We recently checked out “Max and Art” from our library, and we love it.  My girls had fun copying the book by painting on each other a few days later :)

  35. says

    I’m absolutely blown away by the warmth and fun of the comments in this thread… as to favorite picture books my kids loved, hmmmm, so many !!!! We liked “Little Fur Family” quite a lot and so many others that it’s difficult to list them all. I’m so blessed to be a part of a community of art and creativity lovers such as this. Thank you so much, friends I have never met! I am just so happy today it’s difficult to say exactly why… I just feel wonderful.

  36. Jessica McCabe says

    Oh, I love the pics! And the reference to “Little House” made me wanna watch the episodes all over again. When my now-16yo was younger, we had monthly craft parties and assorted crafts were a part of our daily life. I now have a 1yo and I look forward to many years of doing it all over again!

    Solid interview. Thanks!

    • Rachelle says

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Jessica! Isn’t that exciting that you get to relive all these little gems of childhood again!!

  37. Jess says

    I recently bought her “Science Arts” book and have been LOVING it!  I would be thrilled to see the Storybook Art book and how it ties art projects in with the stories.  Our favorites are The Teddy Bear’s Picnic, Big Red Barn and the Bear books by Karma Wilson.  While I haven’t tied any art projects to these books yet, we do a lot of imaginative play using the themes and characters.

    • Rachelle says

      Thanks for sharing the positive review of Science Arts and some of your favorite books. I don’t think there’s one book of hers that isn’t inspirational! 

  38. Heather N says

    This is the most indepth interview about Ms. Kohl that I have read. Great post. I love the idea of combining my daughter’s two loves…art and literature.  While we have done some combo projects in the past, this book would be an excellent resource.  It’s hard to say what fav books we have now because she owns sooooo many.  Hush Little Horsie and Our Nest are two that we read often right now.  Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Rachelle says

      Thanks very much, Heather. MaryAnn is one of those people that is so easy to interview. She’s really a lovely person. And thanks for sharing your current favorites — adding them to my book list!

  39. Danielle Pershouse says

    I would love to look at Storybook Art!  I’m always interested in finding new-to-me children’s books with neat illustrations!  I love the idea of having a craft to go along with each book.

  40. Gretchenmorgan says

    I LOVE Maryann Kohl’s books and can’t wait to get this one especially since my oldest is now in preschool.

  41. MaryEL says

    I was pleased to see an interview with MaryAnn Kohl today because just this morning, I picked up 8 of her books from the library that I had put on hold. I’ve just devoured “Making Make-Believe” and can’t wait to dive into the others! I’m looking forward to being an artsy parent once my son gets older (he’s only 2 months now). I get to put some of these ideas in practice now, though, because I’m the program director of an after school program. I feel like I am BURSTING with ideas these days!

    • Rachelle says

      So fun — you get to play with these ideas from two perspectives! And what a small, serendipitous world it is. I hope you’ll check back and share some of your new ideas with us!!

  42. Lisabarman says

    Mary Ann Kohl is just an inspiration in so many ways!  Storybook Art is definitely on my I-want-that list.

  43. Nicole says

    I have checked out some of her books from the library and they were very inspirational! Full of so many creative projects for a wide age range. As the mom of a toddler, sometimes my mind is so fuzzy and tired and empty of anything imaginative, and with books like these, so many great ideas are collected in one place and I don’t have to reinvent the wheel trying to come up with new things to do with my daughter. Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Rachelle says

      Hi Nicole, you make such a good point. I often feel the same way as a parent of young children. Some days I’m super organized, but others i’m just bumbling along. Having everything in one place is VERY helpful, and MaryAnn does a superb job organizing her books for real parents and teachers.

  44. Emily Adams says

    Oh thank you for this! She is one of my favorites. I keep her books with my cookbooks so that when it’s time for artistic play we are ready to go! When I supervised infant/toddler classrooms I bought her books for each room. :)

    • Rachelle says

      That’s a great place to keep her books — I always splatter ours up when we pull them out for dough recipes. And what a great gift these would make for classroom teachers!

  45. Mmkrieger says

    My daughter and I have used transparencies, permanent markers and paints to create layered art like in Eric Carle’s Seahorse book. it wouldbe wonderful to haves source for more book based art inspiration.

  46. Alena says

    I already own 3 of Mary’s book.  She is truly inspirational.  It would be a pleasure to own this book as well.

  47. says

    We love the books with no words, only pictures to guide you along making up the story… so many little details to notice in books like Good Night Gorilla–we love that one.
    Great interview & thank you for the chance to win her book!

  48. Mary Jane says

    We have several of Ms. Kohl’s books in our library which are used constantly.  I’m sure this book will join the rest!

  49. Melisajaenisch says

    I only knew MaryAnn by name before this post. It is great to find out more about her and I am on my way to sign up for her mailing list! Favorite books for art….Eric Carle books, Miss Rumphius, Children of the forest to name a few…I haven’t thought so much about spinning out activities out of them but might after reading through some of the comments….THanks for the great post!

  50. AngelaS says

    My 2 year old loves Eric Carle books and one of them shows him painting and she just had to paint ‘like that.’  So we did.  And now I can’t remember which book it was…I need to put it on my library list again.  Love the interview and all the pics.

  51. Toni Thomas Cm says

    I love the concept for the Storybook Art book. I try to inspire the 4 year olds I teach by pointing out the illustrator’s work but struggle to come up with different art for them to do in that style. This book is what I have been needing, I just didn’t know it!

  52. Nanci says

    We’ve been amazed at our baby’s awareness and focused concentration on patterns (on his crib sheets, on his “art cards” during “tummy time,” in books, everywhere he can spy one) almost since he came home from the hospital. He’s now 14 months old, and we’re just getting started with making art ourselves. “Storybook Art” would be a great resource!

  53. Amy says

    This is such an inspiring article! I just found your blog through Pinterest and am really enjoying what you’re sharing! Thank you so much!

  54. Nisaacs10 says

    I am a teacher and I love incorporating it into general content! I could also use some of these ideas as centers for indoor recess.

  55. Heather Lowery says

    I love MaryAnn’s books. I don’t have this one and would love to add it to my collection so I can using it with my preschoolers! It combines two of my loves books and art!

  56. Nardulli says

    I love The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds and using it to inspire kids to have confidence to make artwork. Using books as motivation is a great way to get some inspiration!

  57. Diana says

    When I was in college one the first books I ever purchased as resource was by MaryAnn Kohl – 16 years later it’s well worn and dogeared!  

  58. Julie Moses says

    I would love to win the book. I am cuurently teaching an art class based on art elements through children’s books. I would love to have even more inspiration to share with my students and my own kiddos as well!

  59. Marie Ha says

    My favourite book has always been Winnie the Pooh. But when I teach art to kids, I like to use books about History, Nature etc., as this gives them a lot of inspiration to use their imagination and put it together into something special.

  60. L Scutella says

    I use picture books all the time to teach Spanish to elementary children! The images are so inspiring for both me and my students! I get ideas for corresponding activities from the art and my students reach a deeper understanding of language and culture through creative expression.

  61. Mary Beth says

    I own many of her book, but not this one!  I would love the chance.  Very happy with all her books!  I used use them all the time at preschool and now I am excited to use the same ideas with my own children. :)

  62. Susan says

    Was just looking at The Houdini Box today…and wishing I could go to Chicago to watch it. My son is in Chicago for theatre also. I guess reading to him all my preschool books at a young age really paid off!

  63. Kingjjschweinfurt says

    I have most of your books, but I want them all! I love how much of your art is about the process instead of the product!

  64. Darienna says

    Wow! Great interview! Book looks chock full of interesting arty ideas that I can try out with my son in future! :)

  65. Haley says

    Thank you so much for this interview and giveaway! I would not consider myself “artistic” by any means, but have an 18 month old that often requests “color paper” and am anxious to begin fun art projects with her. As an SLP, I love the idea of ‘Fostering Literacy through Art’ and am grateful for this introduction to MaryAnn Kohl.

  66. says

    I have the winner’s name, and will send the book out on Monday! What fun!!! Storybook Art is full of neato connections to great picture books with very unusual art ideas. I’ve always enjoyed the book (yes, I use my own books) and hope Kim does too!


  67. says

    I have the winner’s name, and will send the book out on Monday! What fun!!! Storybook Art is full of neato connections to great picture books with very unusual art ideas. I’ve always enjoyed the book (yes, I use my own books) and hope Kim does too!



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