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A cover for the pre-K and Kinder art book. The background is a blue, yellow, and green watercolor painting, on top of which is the title "The Beauty Book"

Beauty (Courtesy of the Pre-K/Kindergarten Art Class)

Last school year, during our last few weeks of class, I interviewed the students of my Pre-K / Kindergarten Art Class. We spoke one-on-one while the other students worked on drawings, and in our conversations I asked each one various questions about “beauty.”

Because I type much more quickly than I hand-write, I used my laptop to record their answers. Some of my students took this process very seriously, watching the screen as I typed, asking me to read their answers back to them at the end of our conversation. Others were a little mystified, answering cautiously in one or two words, not sure if this was a test of some kind. But everyone had something to say.

Over the weekend before Finals Week, I made a book for our class based on their responses, pairing each page with a student’s work of art. In our final art class, we read it together. I wish you could have seen their faces as they witnessed their work and their words being celebrated, with all joy and seriousness, for the whole class to see.

I can’t show you that moment. Like the school year itself, it came and (amazingly) went. But I can show you their work. If that class period taught me anything, it’s that celebrating small things matters – whether it’s a simple painting, a complex thought, or the fact that “shoes” are the most beautiful thing a student has ever seen.

  • A cover for the pre-K and Kinder art book. The background is a blue, yellow, and green watercolor painting, on top of which is the title "The Beauty Book"
  • Page 2 of The Beauty Book. The background is a yellow and purple watercolor painting by Leila. The page reads: "What is the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?"
  • Page 3 of The Beauty Book. The background is a gold and orange watercolor painting by Zion. The page quotes two students. Luke: "A rainbow at my house with pink, yellow, purple, blue, and red. And green!" And Max: "A really big rocket ship that I saw at NASA. NASA is a really cool place, it's about rocket ships and I got to go on a tour and it's where the old rocket ships are."
  • Page 4 of The Beauty Book. The background is a purple and pink watercolor painting by Gwen. The page quotes two students. Vivian: "Ummm, shoes!" And Zion: "A small hummingbird with pink wings. That has a pink top and a pink thing - a beak."
  • Page 5 of The Beauty Book. The background is a purple, pink, and white watercolor painting by Dean. The page quotes three students. Andrew: "A flag of an America." Kian: "Disneyland." Valentina: "The ones we're growing in our Pre-K class!"
  • Page 6 of The Beauty Book. The background is a blue and yellow watercolor painting by Elena. The page quotes two students. Jane-Yi: "A rainbow. I saw it three times at the road and in the sky when I was driving to school. I saw red, orange, yellow, purple, blue, pink, and red. I forget the last color." And Clementine: "The rosebush in the garden. It has yellow roses."
  • Page 7 of The Beauty Book. The background is a purple, red, and blue watercolor painting by Helena. The page quotes two students. Crew: "A rainbow at the pool. It was red, and purple... but I couldn't see the rest of the colors because it was so high up." And Gwen: "A super pretty unicorn that I drew. But I don't have it anymore... I threw it away."
  • Page 8 of The Beauty Book. The background is a red and blue watercolor painting by Kristopher. The page quotes two students. Dean: "The world!" And Kolbe: "Maybe a swirl of colors, but I don't know if I've ever seen one."
  • Page 9 of The Beauty Book. The background is a blue and pink watercolor painting by Mary Margaret. The page quotes one student. Kristopher: "The prayer garden in the field at school, and my mom."
  • Page 10 of The Beauty Book. The background is a yellow and green watercolor painting by Kolbe. The page quotes two students. Elena: "A flower that's blue in my front yard." And Mary Margaret: "A baby coyote. His fur was reflecting off the sun."
  • Page 11 of The Beauty Book. The background is a red circle against a yellow sky with green and blue along the foreground, done in watercolor by Max. The page quotes one student. Aidan: "This picture is of Jesus. But it would be even more beautiful if He was in person."
  • Page 12 of The Beauty Book. The background is a yellow and pink water color painting by Kian. The page quotes two students. Helena: "Cats!" And Leila: "A shiny blue bonnet."
  • Page 13 of The Beauty Book. The background is a swirling yellow and blue color with a blue man standing in the foreground by Clementine. The page reads, "What is beauty?"
  • Page 14 of The Beauty Book. The background is a blue watercolor painting by Crew. The page quotes two students. Aidan: "Some sparkles. And the moon. And one more... beauty like a beautiful dress." And Vivian: "Beauty is like you have something... and you love it, and... it's a toy."
  • Page 15 of The Beauty Book. The background is a purple, yellow, red, and white watercolor painting by Aidan. The page quotes two students. Zion: "Beauty means you love it." And Crew: "It's all the colors of the rainbow!"
  • Page 16 of The Beauty Book. The background is a blue and white watercolor painting by Jane-Yi. The page quotes two students. Gwen: "When somethign is beautiful, that makes it enjoyable." And Kristopher: "Beauty means that something is standing there and it's shiny or it's wearing a dress and that's all I really know about it."
  • Page 17 of The Beauty Book. The background is a red, purple, and dark green watercolor painting by Luke. The page quotes three students. Kolbe: "Beauty is a thing that has lots of colors." Mary Margaret: "Beauty means something is really, really good." And Dean: "Beauty means you like something a lot."
  • Page 18 of The Beauty Book. The background is a red and blue watercolor painting by Vivian. The page reads: "How do you feel when you see something that is really beautiful?"
  • Page 19 of The Beauty Book. A yellow and purple watercolor painting by Andrew. The page quotes two students. Andrew: "Good. Happy!" And Max: "I just like to look at it. It makes me feel happy. And a little bit not happy... but just a little."
  • Page 20 of The Beauty Book. A purple, red, and yellow watercolor painting by Valentina. The quote on the page is from Clementine and reads, "I feel like it makes God so happy!"