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Today I'd like to offer up some suggestions for interactive books/journals for your kids. Only you'll find it difficult to keep your hands off of these bad boys, because they are so much more than coloring books. They're more like personal creativity trainers between two covers, as they are full of inspiration, fun, creative direction, and ways to make art in a non-threatening, playful way. Great for kids, but what adult doesn't need a little more of this in their lives, too?


wreck this journalby Keri Smith

My 9 year old loves this book. She was gleefully giddy when she began to read all the things she was supposed to do to the book, and tore into it with fervor. It kept her occupied for an extremely long time, and she revisits it from time to time to further punish its pages. Geared toward older kids-adults, even though my daughter enjoyed it. 9-ish and up



]Doodle Bug doodling bookby Robin Wright, Dee Costello, Estelle Corke

This one's fun because you use any drawing material you like to add on to illustrations after reading just a little bit of prompting. 7 and up.



doodle sketchbookby Dawn Devries Sokol

Supposedly for boys, but really for anyone who wants to dig in to art journaling, this book offers up ideas for techniques and different materials for use on its pages. The pages are thicker than normal books, and the feel is cool and edgy with suggestions for comics, skateboard art, ipod embellishing, etc. 8 and up.



lettering book for kids

This comes with pencils, stencils, markers, traceable letters, and loads of ideas for how to create your own hand-drawn letters. (We have fancy signs all over our house at the moment.) Klutz never fails to come up with great creative kits kids love. For 8 and up.



watercolor book for kidsby Thatcher Hurd and John Cassidy for Klutz[/caption]

Another Klutz gem. We don't have this yet, but I think we will this week- I just fell in love with it. It's a great intro to watercolor for kids, written in a fun style, with clear instructions and quirky style. Plus it comes with a set of paints. Win-diddly-win. For 8 and up.

]my wonderful world of fashionby Nina Chakrabarti

Fashion! Not just a coloring book, you are also invited to finish some illustrations, and design your own. There's fashion from other cultures and historical periods tucked in here and there, too, adding to the educational value of this book. It's whimsical and dreamy, but smart. 8 and up.


doodles by taro gomiby Taro Gomi

This was the first of these types of alternative coloring books I had seen, and still one of my favorites. It is HEFTY. And it is simply wonderful. How could you not like a doodle book from the author of Everyone Poops?


The_Giant_Play_and_Learn_Bookby Pascale Estellon

So here's one geared toward a little bit younger set of kids, but still sophisticatedly fun. (Does that make sense?) The directions (suggestions) are more simple than the other books, but the pages are still creatively challenging for the younger kids. 4 and up.


]zolocolorby Byron Glaser and Sandra Higashi

This book is all black and white abstract shapes. No words, no directions. Just figure out where and how you want to color. It's that mesmerizing, relaxing kind of coloring.


hidden drawings coloring bookby Mark Alvin

This looks like the kind of book that would suck you in immediately and spit you out several hours later. There are hidden images on each page to discover during coloring and I'll bet you can see your kids' brain synapses firing all over the place when they work in this book. 6 and up.


Sometimes I feel like I could continue these posts on for hundreds of books, but this time I made myself stop after 10 options. Phew. Two things to keep in mind:

1.You'll see I wasn't kidding when I said you'd want a copy for yourself of these, and

2. Think about taking the books that aren't spiral bound to an office store to have them bound. It's so much easier to be able to keep the books flat when you- I mean your kid is in the throes of art-makin'.

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