“Niko Draws a Feeling” by Bob Raczka and Simone Shin
Niko loves to draw. He loves to draw so much that he carries around a notepad and colored pencils everywhere he goes so that he can draw when inspiration hits and that could really be anywhere. You see, Niko likes to draw things that can’t be seen. These include sounds like the ding-a-ling of an ice cream truck, the hard work of a mother bird, or even feelings. He is passionate about his art, but finds himself slowly getting discouraged as he shows his art to person after person who doesn’t see, or feel, what he does. Until one day a girl moves in next door with a heart and eye more in tune with his, plus she has a flair for the abstract.
I LOVE this book! The illustrations have such a happy and soothing palate with characters that are likable in every way. I also love the message of the story. I love it because it celebrates diversity in thinking and diversity in ways to see and express the world. In addition, I feel that this book would make a wonderful introduction to abstract art for young kids. All around, it is just fantastic!
Abstract Art Activity
As I mentioned above, I feel this book would be a wonderful introduction to kids for abstract art. That is the general idea behind this “behind the book” activity. It is inspired directly from the book because it is simply an invitation to kids to give “Niko’s style of art” a try! An afternoon spent drawing sounds like birds chirping, feelings like sadness and concepts like the freedom of flying sounds like fun, doesn’t it? All you need is paper and crayons and you are all set. Just my kind of art activity!
You can pick an abstract theme to challenge your kids, such as inviting them all to “draw” happiness. This could be fun because if you are doing it with a group of children it would be fun afterwards to share pictures and compare the fact that everyone has a different perspective. Or, you could have your kids draw whatever abstract concept they want and have them share afterwards, or maybe even try to guess each others concepts afterwards. Basically, anything goes!
Below are the drawings that I did with my toddler. The top two are mine and represent anger and happiness and the bottom two are his and he says they represent happiness and hunger. (I had to laugh at the hunger one! Too cute and so my little guy!) It just demonstrates how wonderful this activity is for all ages. It is one that the youngest kids, up to even adults can really enjoy doing. I know we did!
If you give this Beyond the Book activity a try I’d love to hear how it goes! Share it on Instagram using hashtag #beyondthebook (I’m on Instagram as @book.nerd.mommy) or even just comment here with your thoughts. It would make my day! Or to simply save for later pin the image below.