An absolute favorite book that I refer to a whole bunch is Mid-Century Modern Women in the Visual Arts by Ellen Surrey. Not only does it include women who found success in the 1950s and 1960s, but it's diverse and isn't limited to just 2D art. The illustrations are incredible!
I turned to this book to introduce my students to Alma Thomas, a painter whose work is very mosaic-like. We love her bright colors and her patterns.
Each student will need:
Piece of bright construction paper, any size
Small pre-cut squares (ok if they're imperfect) about 1"
Start in the middle of the paper with one square. Make it a nice one, since it will be the focal point of the piece. Glue it down and then glue more squares around it. Then glue more squares around those ones, continuing until the paper is filled with wonderful, colorful squares.