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When I Draw a Panda -- Perfect Picture Book Friday


Cover art for When I Draw a Panda

Title: When I Draw a Panda

Author/Illustrator: Amy June Bates

Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 2020


Themes: Self-expression, Imagination, Art


Age Range: 4 - 8


Opening Lines: I love to draw.

Sometimes when they say to draw a perfect circle, mine turns out a little wonky.


Why I Love This Book and Think You Will Too


Honestly, I love Amy's art. I have looked at the images so many times. Her ability to create simplicity, detail, and emotions is wonderful. Color choices, textures, and character positioning provide focus and emotional connection.


But this is a story close to my heart as well. I have always loved making art and drawing. I even went to art school and then I put all my art supplies away and became afraid of the blank page. Bit by bit, I started creating again. Some days, my circles and shapes are wonky. The best days are the days that I accept my imperfections and enjoy how that makes me unique and special. If you have ever felt any of these feelings, this book is for you.


This book is also participatory. Grab some paper and draw your own dragons with the girl and her panda.


Activities and Resources


Check out Amy's website.


Here's a blog post by Amy with instructions for drawing a panda.


Learn something new about Panda's.



Panda with tongue sticking out.

And learn some more.


Grab a piece of paper. Grab several pieces of paper. Maybe one is black. One is white and one is a piece of newspaper. Draw some wonky circles, or a bicycle or a panda. What happens with the different paper? On that black paper were you finally able to use your white crayon? What about pink, yellow and all those light colors that hardly show up on the white paper.


Have fun. You never know where you'll go with a drawing, but the more you play the better the adventure.

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This looks like such a beautiful book! And I so agree about getting rid of the art critic in our heads. So many kids (and adults) struggle with this. Will add this book to my list. Thanks for the rec!

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