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South St. Paul Art Teacher Reaches Students Nationwide With Children’s Book

photo of Daniels reading the book to her class

Kaposia Art Teacher, Maren Daniels, noticed students struggling to identify art elements in her class. She researched resources to make these concepts easy to understand, but couldn’t find something to break it down into simple terms for young learners. That’s when Daniels decided she would be the one to fill this gap and began writing her children’s book, The Elements of Art. She says, “One of my goals was to make the elements accessible to all readers.”

Daniels began writing the book in June of 2021. She says she spent most of that summer drawing, sketching, and writing to break the elements down into simple terms. What are the elements of art? Line, color, value, shape, form, texture, and space. State and national art standards require K-12 students to identify the elements which she says are the foundation for creating any work of art. Daniels says, “Some art concepts can be intimidating to explain and understand.” In the book, she introduces the elements with easy to understand definitions and quirky, contemporary illustrations. The book concludes with beginner, intermediate, and advanced-level art projects for children to explore on their own.

Daniels says she has shared the journey with her students throughout the entire process, “They have been so motivating and supportive. Reading the finished book to my classes has been one of the most rewarding parts of the entire process.” Since the book was released, it has reached #1 in new releases on Amazon’s “Children’s Art Book” category. She says the next step is to spread the word to other art educators, local bookstores, and libraries to share this as a resource for other young learners who may be struggling to understand art elements.