16 Books to Celebrate Dot Day

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Did you know that International Dot Day began ten years ago? Teacher Terry Shay read Peter Reynolds’ THE DOT to his class on September 15th, 2009, and the rest is history. The Dot is about confidence and creativity and connection, and International Dot Day reminds us to make our mark. Are you ready?

Here’s to a decade of Dots!

How are you celebrating International Dot Day this year? On September 15th, join in and make your mark. Here are some books that might help.

Picture Books

Let’s read!

The Dot
by Peter Reynolds

The dot that sparked community. From an empty page to a brave experiment, just one mark is the start of something special.


My Pen
by Christopher Myers

An evocative ode to imaginative storytelling. This book is a reflection on the power of holding a pen.


The Book of Mistakes
by Corinna Luyken

Not every dot or line comes out perfectly the first time. Sometimes it’s an awkward splotch—but is it really? A mind-bending, circular delight.


I Have an Idea
by Hervé Tullet

Where do ideas come from? And what do you do with them once they show up? This is ultimately a writing workshop disguised as an utterly playful book.

Activity Books/Journals

Not every brain is immediately ready for the nitty-gritty of mark-making. That’s where books that prompt activity and exploration come into play.

A Line is a Dot That Went for a Walk
by Sterling Children’s

A scribble here and a doodle there—that’s the intent behind this book of abstract art prompts and imaginative questions. It would also make a fun pair with The Dot and the Line by Norton Juster.


Think and Make Like an Artist
by Claudia Boldt and Eleanor Meredith

This gem of a book asks kids (or grownups!) to look at some kind of art and really, truly see it, think about it, question what in the world it’s about. And then gives some steps to play in that same style. It’s a whole lot of fun.


Art Play
by Marion Deuchars

This is a chunk of a play-book, filled with prompts and ideas. Tear some out to take on the go, or paint and draw right inside. Perfect for artists’ hands of all sizes.


Squiggle!: Doodle Over 200 One-Line Animals!
by Kenzo Hayashi

If a line is a dot that went for a walk, how about a zig-zag squiggle parade? You’ll end up with these spectacular, beguiling one-line animals.


Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Faces
by Ed Emberley

A true classic for dot-makers. Even the smallest ones among us can color some circles, add some lines, and mix and match the sweetest (or scariest!) of expressions. Such a treat.


How to Be an Explorer of the World
by Keri Smith

This subtitle—”portable art life museum”—is such a true expression of the magic this book holds. Curiosity is a shared trait of artists and scientists, and this portable life museum celebrates what you collect and see along the way. Endless fun.


My Book of Beautiful Oops: A Scribble It, Smear It, Fold It, Tear It Journal for Young Artists
by Barney Saltzberg

A necessary companion to Beautiful Oops—you don’t just have to read about it, you can make your own! Here, a mess is celebrated, understood, and revered.

Prompts/Invitations

As parents, educators, and storytime fans, you might need a shelf of workbooks filled with suggestions on how to invite your artists to make their own marks, to explore, to play, and to tell their own stories.

Collage Workshop for Kids
by Shannon Merenstein

Eric Carle had this to say about his collage technique:

I make my pictures out of hand-painted tissue papers that I paint with acrylics. Then I cut and tear these painted papers and glue them onto illustration board. My painted papers are like my palette. There are many different mediums to work in; I just happen to like collage. I enjoy the process of gluing the pieces down in a picture. I am very interested in details, brushstrokes in a painting, and textures. So the process of painting my tissue papers is very satisfying to me. Many children have also done collages at home or in their classrooms. In fact, some children have said to me, "Oh, I can do that." I consider that the highest compliment.

Oh, I can do that.

This book is filled with collage projects for young artists everywhere.


The Art Book for Children
by the editors of Phaedon Press

Have you wondered how to talk about art with young children? About artists and their creative process and inspiration and meaning? This hefty handbook is an expansive and captivating look at art across the world and across generations. And don’t miss Book 2!


The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story Collection
by Colby Sharp

This ingenious collection of creators responding to each other’s story prompts will be hours of rich, imaginative fun for your young writers—or yourselves. There’s no chance of getting stuck with a blank page here.

Biographies of Artists Who Made Their Mark

These stories connect the dots between kids and art heroes. Who will your mark-makers become?

Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infinity
by Sarah Suzuki and Ellen Weinstein

A young Yayoi Kusama had a vision of a world in which everything, everything, was covered in dots. And so, she set out to do just that.


Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing
by Kay Haring and Robert Neubecker

Art is for everyone. That’s what compelled a young Keith Haring to make his art available in publicly accessible places. Shared, communal, and persistent.


What books or artists inspire you?


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About the Author

Carter Higgins

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Carter Higgins is the author of Bikes for Sale (with Zachariah Ohora), Everything You Need For a Treehouse (with Emily Hughes), and This is Not a Valentine (with Lucy Ruth Cummins). She is an Emmy-winning visual effects artist and spent a decade as an elementary school librarian. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @carterhiggins.

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