Review of Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and 
Defender of His People

nelson_sitting bull

Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and 
Defender of His People by S. D. Nelson; illus. by the author Intermediate   Abrams   56 pp. 11/15   978-1-4197-0731-5   $19.95 e-book ed. 978-1-61312-855-8   $15.54 This handsome biography combines the story of Sitting Bull’s life with a brief history of the Lakota people in the nineteenth century. Sitting Bull (who belonged to […]

Are biographies a hard sell?

Out of the Woods

Can’t get kids to read biographies, you say? Have you tried reading aloud picture book biographies? It’s a sure way to hook kids into the lives, obstacles, and contributions of thousands of individuals, both historical and present day. But aren’t picture books only for young children? Never! Today’s picture book biographies are rich adventure stories […]

Review of Untamed


Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall by Anita Silvey Intermediate, Middle School   National Geographic   
96 pp. 6/15   978-1-4263-1518-3   $18.99 Library ed. 978-1-4263-1519-0   $28.90   g Jane Goodall has spent a lifetime dedicated to understanding and protecting chimpanzees. This accessible account of her life (with a foreword by Goodall herself) emphasizes the qualities that will likely […]

Review of Tricky Vic

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Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the 
Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli; illus. by the author Intermediate   Viking   48 pp. 3/15   978-0-670-01652-5   $17.99 Amidst the current plethora of picture-book biography role models, it’s nice to see a book about a con artist. “Ah, yes. But an artist all the same.” […]

Trailblazing women

demi_florence nightingale

Demi  Florence Nightingale Gr. K–3     40 pp.    Holt A straightforward text of declarative sentences describes Florence Nightingale’s childhood, training, service in Crimean War hospitals, and lifelong crusade to reform nursing and health care. The true draw of this clear picture book biography, however, is Demi’s simple line-drawn illustrations with collage elements: close reader attention will […]

Review of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

kamkwamba_boy who harnessed the wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer; illus. by Anna Hymas Intermediate, Middle School   Dial   294 pp. 2/15   978-0-8037-4080-8   $16.99   g As a young boy growing up in Malawi, William Kamkwamba believed in — and was fearful of — magic. As he got a bit older, he […]

Review of Draw What You See

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Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews by Kathleen Benson; illus. with paintings by Benny Andrews Primary, Intermediate   Clarion   32 pp. 1/15   978-0-544-10487-7   $16.99 Benson opens in New Orleans in 2005, where Benny Andrews traveled after Hurricane Katrina to teach children “to use art to express their feelings about what they […]

Review of Unbroken


Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from 
Airman to Castaway to Captive by Laura Hillenbrand; 
adapted by the author Middle School, High School   Delacorte   292 pp. 11/14   978-0-385-74251-1   $19.99 Library ed. 978-0-375-99062-5   $22.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-307-97565-2   $10.99 With media attention focused on the July 2014 death of Louis Zamperini, and Angelina Jolie’s upcoming movie detailing his […]

Review of This Is Dalí, This Is Pollock, and This Is Warhol

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This Is Dalí by Catherine Ingram; 
illus. by Andrew Rae Middle School, High School     Laurence King/Chronicle     80 pp. 5/14    978-1-78067-109-3    $15.95         This Is Pollock by Catherine Ingram; 
illus. by Peter Arkle Middle School, High School    Laurence King/Chronicle    80 pp. 5/14    978-1-78067-346-2    $15.95         This Is Warhol by Catherine […]

Beyond biography

woodson_brown girl dreaming

With storytelling ease and pitch-perfect pacing, the following works of narrative nonfiction for older readers bring their subjects to brilliant life, elevating the sometimes-staid genre of biography to literary art form. Jacqueline Woodson’s memoir-in-verse Brown Girl Dreaming is so immediate that readers will feel they are experiencing the author’s childhood right along with her. Born […]