When we say we want our kids to be well-rounded individuals, we really couldn’t have a better role model than Leonardo DaVinci. Painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, writer and probably even more – there is some facet of his work and life that will resonate with and fascinate every kid (and adult) who looks at his life and work. Our household is pretty enamored with him for several reasons: Molly wants to be a famous painter, Jacob an inventor, I (Meghan) spent many a weekend of my year in Italy in college traveling to see his work in person and we ALL love a pop-up book I’ve had since I was a little kid. It’s out of print now but if you can possibly get your hands on a copy, I couldn’t recommend it more highly. It’s called Leonardo Da Vinci: A Pop-up Book by Alice & Martin Provensen, and it’s the best overview of his life and demonstration of the range of his work in an interactive way that will have everyone in your family vying for a turn.
However, recommending just an out of print book isn’t that helpful! (I know!) Luckily our family obsession spurred a trip to the library to search out some other kid-friendly Da Vinci tomes, and here are our two favorites:
Neo Leo by Gene Barretta
Jacob loved the clear explanations of inventions (invented hundreds of years before they were re-invented and produced), and Molly loved the colorful pictures (and finding the mirror writing).
Journal of Inventions by Jaspre Bark
This is technically for older kids, but it’s so fascinating and the pop-ups are so appealing that you’ll find that it delights younger kids and older adults as well.