These bright and cheerful color books are at home in the library OR the art corner! Color is one of the universal languages of early childhood. Students who haven’t mastered reading can still follow the directions to “go sit on the red carpet square” or “find the blue cubby.” It is also one of the earliest ways preschoolers learn to sort, create patterns, and identify similarities.
Learning about colors is one of the first academic steps in a preschooler’s life. First, they learn what the names are for each color. Then they learn what happens when those colors get mixed! The best way to learn is by doing hands-on process art projects, but to activate students’ “thinking brain” before they jump right into the fingerpaint, start with a few of these gorgeous color books!
Color Books on Color Names
These color books start at the very beginning – what are the names of the colors? Perfect for younger preschoolers and reviewing for older preschoolers alike, these engaging books challenge students to name the colors they see.
Bear Sees Colors by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
Karma Wilson’s beloved Bear takes a look at the world around him with his friend Mouse. Students stay engaged with the story as it gives them little clues as to what the next color will be with the rhyming text.
Extending the Learning: Lead a color scavenger hunt in the classroom or out on a walk.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle
Second only to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle’s well-known and well-loved book has been charming preschoolers for years. With repeating rhyming text, students can chant along with the reader on each page.
Extending the Learning: Time for some process art wizardry! Start with fingerpainting with accessories – combs, sponges, fingers, toothbrushes, whatever is on hand in the art cart. After the paint is dry, cut the painted paper to make collages just like Eric Carle! Check out this website for other ideas and step-by-step directions!
Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman
This book aims to break the color-gender pairing that is so prevalent in society today. Showing students that every color is for every person, no matter what gender they are, is important!
Extending the Learning: Make a classroom graph on everyone’s favorite color! Students can put their names under different colored squares, write their names (if they are able to), or stand up in lines behind their favorite color.
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
Pete the Cat is back again, with some snazzy white shoes! But what happens when he wears them outside? He keeps on groovin’, of course! Listen to the audio version of the story FREE here!
Extending the Learning: Here’s an art idea students can get into! Get some old shoes and dip the soles onto sponges soaked with liquid watercolor. Students then “stomp” the shoes onto large sheets of butcher paper. How are the shoes all the same? How are they different?
Penguins Love Colors by Sarah Aspinall
These little penguins want to surprise their mother. They bring some color to the snowy white world around them to brighten her day!
Extending the Learning: Here is a whole activity just for this book!
Press Here by Hervé Tullet
This book engages students with an interactive feel! While not a color book outright, students can identify the colors on each page, as well as recognize patterns.
Extending the Learning: This light table activity is a perfect companion for this book!
Teeny Tiny Mouse: A Book About Colors by Laura Leuck
Mommy Mouse challenges the Teeny Tiny Mouse to find items of different colors on every page of this book. With repeating, lyrical text, students love “reading” the book with the teacher and finding the different items!
Extending the Learning: A good old-fashioned game of “I Spy” with a color twist! The teacher challenges students to find the item in the room that is a certain color.
Color Books on Color Theory
Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung
This sweet and silly book visits an imaginary world where colors live divided. Everything seems perfect until each color starts saying they’re the best. What happens when a blue and a yellow fall in love and a NEW color appears on the scene?
Extending the Learning: Try this captivating color theory light table activity!
Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Possibly the most recognized preschool book on color theory, this title is a classic. Three soft, white mice find intriguing jars of brightly colored paint. What happens when they start to explore the paint is a fun romp through color theory in a way that preschoolers can connect to!
Extending the Learning: Students can practice mixing colors just like the mice in this fingerpainting activity!
Blue vs. Yellow by Tom Sullivan
Blue and Yellow get into a debate about which color is the best. It gets a little heated, then they learn what IS best – working together!
Extending the Learning: Have students chart their favorite colors and have a class discussion about what they love best about their colors.
White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker
Geared towards a younger audience, this story gently introduces the idea that mixing two colors results in a third, totally different, color.
Extending the Learning: This fun color theory experiment is a great fit, for both this book and Mouse Paint!
little blue and little yellow by Leo Lionni
Unlike Blue vs. Yellow, Little Blue and Little Yellow are best friends! One day, they hug and discover that they become green. After a fun day of playing as Little Green, they try to go home but their parents don’t recognize them!
Extending the Learning: Looking for a mess-free way to explore color theory? This light table activity is an easy way to do just that!
Color Dance by Ann Jonas
This gorgeous book takes color theory to a new level! Simple, easy to read text talks about the different shades that can be created by mixing colors, and even includes black, white, and gray and what happens when they join in.
Extending the Learning: Colored scarves, like these here, are perfect for recreating the story in the classroom together as a group or independently.
Mix It Up by Hervé Tullet
This author returns with another interactive book that engages students in some interactive color theory! Readers are asked to “mix” colors, spread them around in different ways, and predict what mixing two colors together will produce. A great addition to the art corner!
Extending the Learning: The best way to learn is hands on – so mix it up in the classroom with this fingerpainting activity!
Color Books About Rainbows
Ava and the Rainbow (Who Stayed) by Ged Adamson
Ava sees an amazing rainbow in the sky, and it stays day after day! But what will happen when everyone starts taking the rainbow’s presence for granted? A sweet story about cherishing the special moments in life.
Extending the Learning: The illustrations in the story are made with beautiful watercolors. Invite students to make their own rainbow!
What Makes a Rainbow by Betty Ann Schwartz
The bright 3-D effect of the ribbons in this book will keep students coming back over and over again. Whether the class is working on identifying individual colors or rainbow order, this is a lovely addition to the classroom library.
Extending the Learning: Creating a 3-D rainbow sculpture is a fantastic way to work those fine motor skills while practicing rainbow color names and order.
Five Colorful Crayons by Lee Taylor
A group of crayons waits to get started with the students. They try to entice the students by touting all the wonderful things they can each draw separately. But the children have another idea and the crayons discover that working together, they can make amazing things happen.
More books about Rainbows:
- Elmer and the Rainbow by David McKee
- Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy
- Esther’s Rainbow by Kim Kone and Sara Acton
- A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman
- Light Makes a Rainbow by Sharon Coan
Color Books about Holi
Holi is a Hindu celebration marking the end of winter and welcoming spring. Typically celebrated in March, it corresponds to the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna. With brightly colored powders called gulal, it is sure to appeal to most preschoolers! Learn more about Holi here!
Holi Colors by Rina Singh
This bright board book focuses on a different color on each page while introducing Holi to students. There is a brief explanation of Holi at the end of this gorgeous book.
Extending the Learning: Take the learning outside for this one! Students can throw powdered paint onto a large paper and then spray it with squirt bottles to create some brilliant Holi art!
Festival of Colors by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal
A little more in depth, this book joins Chintoo and Mintoo as they prepare for Holi. The children collect different colored flowers, dry them, press them into powder and then the celebration can begin!
Additional Books about Holi
- Amma, Tell me about Holi by Bhakti Mathur
- Dev and Ollie: Color Carnival by Shweta Aggarwal
- Let’s Celebrate Holi by Ajanta Chakraborty and Vivek Kumar
- Holi, the Festival of Colors by Nick Sharma
A Note on the Importance of Celebrating Holidays from Many Cultures
Holidays can be challenging in a classroom. It is important to teach diversity and show respect for all cultures and practices. Here’s a fantastic article on different ways to incorporate holidays and why they are important.
A Few More Books to Add
The Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book of Feelings by Anna Llenas
This story does discuss colors, but the primary purpose is to discuss feelings and how sometimes people feel all mixed up inside. Perfect to read on a day where emotions are running a bit high.
Extending the Learning: Students can draw their own color monsters to show how they are feeling and make a classroom display.
Purple, Green and Yellow by Robert Munsch and Hélène Desputeaux
Brigid wants the Super-Indelible-Never-Comes-Off markers, but her mom is hesitant to get them for her. Will she win her mother’s trust and get the fancy markers? Will she color on herself? The illustrations in this book alone are amazing – but it’s a good reminder to stick to approved surfaces when it comes to art!
RED: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
This sweet story is about a crayon that wears a red wrapper, but is actually blue inside. A wonderful story about being true to one’s inner self, the story uses many different shades that typically aren’t seen in preschool color books.
Looking for lesson plans on colors? Here is an entire 10 days’ worth of lessons, ready to print and use!
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