Monday, December 23, 2013

Van Gogh cuts off his ear: books about art

On this day in 1888, Van Gogh cut off his ear. Today we're looking at books with characters who are artists.


The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour. The plan has always been the same--Bev and Colby go on tour with Bev's band, and then spend the year after high school bumming around Europe. But then Bev announces that after the tour, she's going to college, leaving Colby stranded. He's still around for the tour though, tracking down an elusive tattoo and working on his art.

Seeing Emily by Joyce Lee Wong. Emily falls in love with the new boy at school, but he has a thing for Asian chicks and wants her to be his geisha (but claims to be racially sensitive.) Meanwhile her mother tries to own the art Emily creates, the art Emily uses to create an identity outside of her parents.

Heist Society by Ally Carter. When a group of paintings is stolen, there's only one suspect, Kat's father. The only way to save him is to find the paintings and steal them back. Kat's been raised in a family of art thieves, but this time she's in charge with her own crew, and they're about to pull of the most daring heist in history. Follow it with Uncommon Criminals.


Chenxi and the Foreigner by Sally Rippin. After high school, before college, Anna moves to Shanghai to live with her expat father. In 1988, foreigners and Chinese live very different, very separate lives, but Anna's romance with a Chinese student brings the two worlds together. However, Anna's foreigner status also draws official attention to Chenxi, his art, and his politics, a devastating thing in the lead up to 1989.

Little Fish: A Memoir by Ramsey Beyer. This graphic novel memoir follows Beyer's time graduating from high school in small-town Michigan and moving to Baltimore for art school.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Right before the start of high school, there was a party. At the party something happened, so Melinda called the cops. Because she called the cops, no one will talk to her. Because no one will talk, no one will listen, so Melinda stops talking, too. Art class helps find an outlet, but it's not enough.


North of Beautiful by Justina Chen. Terra's and artist. Her brothers have left home and barely looked back, leaving her and her mother alone with her domineering and cruel father. But after another failed attempt to get rid of the port wine stain on her face, Terra and her mother get into a minor car accident. The other car has Jacob, an adopted teen with a cleft palate scar. As the two teens and two mothers become friends, Terra and her mother discover the courage they forgot they had.

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet. A valuable painting was stolen, and the thief challenges the public to discover if the painting was a real Vermeer or a not. Petra and Calder are just kids, not even friends really, but they're surrounded by coincidences and weird patterns that put them right in the middle of this mystery. The first in a trilogy, follow it with The Wright 3.

Mirror Image by KL Denman. Sable is not happy to be paired with Lacey on their art project.

What artist books would you add to this list?

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