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The power of the image: photographs in biographies

goodall

Striking photographs in biographies can draw in, engage, and inform young readers on a deep level. In addition, they can serve as outstanding primary sources. Whether the photographs are current, colorful, high quality prints, or old, sepia, grainy shots, they reveal much about the subject, the setting, and the social/historical context. The two books below […]

RIP Ali

bolden_champ

He was the greatest. Remember The Champ with these biographies, all recommended at their time of publication by The Horn Book Magazine and Guide. Reviews reprinted from The Horn Book Guide Online. Primary Bolden, Tonya  The Champ: The Story of Muhammad Ali Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Knopf     2004 Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. This carefully […]

Me…Jane | Class #4, 2016

Me...Jane

As picture book biographies go, this is one of the more irreverent ones. What did you make of it? What about the visual mix: McDonnell’s cartoon-style art, vintage stamps, Goodall’s childhood drawings, and photos? The year this was published, we had lots of discussion pro and con about the final photograph — in particular its […]

Dave the Potter | Class #4, 2016

Dave the Potter

Here’s a biography of someone we really know very little about. What do you make of Hill’s poem? Do you want to learn more? Do Collier’s illustrations fill in some gaps? The information at the end tells us more, but in fact we are still left with a mystery. Do Collier’s collages match the tone […]

Three articles about Dave the Potter | Class #4, 2016

Bryan Collier

In addition to the four information books we’re reading this week, there are also three articles from the July/August 2011 Horn Book Magazine related to Dave the Potter: Bryan Collier’s Coretta Scott King Award acceptance speech Profile of Bryan Collier by Marcia Wernick “Dave the Potter and Stevie the Reader” by Megan Lambert Personally, I […]

Her-stories

blumenthal_hillary

March is Women’s History Month, and this is an especially noteworthy year for one of the subjects of these four YA biographies (and possible vindication for another one of them whose notorious reputation precedes her). Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Woman Living History by Karen Blumenthal offers a positive yet frank account of Clinton‘s life through […]

Biographies with girl power

dear malala stand

Doesn’t it seem as though many of the biographies written are about men and their accomplishments? Don’t get me wrong — there are plenty of admirable men who have changed the world through their daring, innovation, and wisdom. But how about the other half of the world’s population? Women just haven’t gotten the press they […]

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: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall

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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 […]