Camille and the Sunflowers by Laurence Anholt is another great picture book based on real people and an actual encounter. A young boy, Camille, and his family befriend a poor, lonely artist. Camille is excited about van Gogh’s seemingly magical talent and and enjoys watching him paint, but he is saddened by the way the townspeople treat the artist. When van Gogh is forced to leave town, he surprises Camille with a painting of the sunflowers the boy had shared with him when he first arrived. Camille learns that even the smallest friendly gesture can bring happiness to others.
Anholt’s colorful illustrations and reproductions of some of van Gogh’s paintings add a wonderful touch to this story which could be used as an introduction to a variety of unit studies (history, post-impressionist painters, biographies, etc.)
Further information about Laurence Anholt’s artist books (The Magical Garden of Claude Monet; Matisse, King of Colour; Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail; and others) can be found here.
Check out this link to hear Camille and the Sunflowers read by Anholt.
And for anything you would probably want to learn about Vincent van Gogh, visit the Vincent van Gogh Gallery.