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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

silvey_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: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower

pizzoli_tricky vic

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 […]