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Review of Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White


Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    164 pp. 10/16    978-0-544-31959-2    $18.99    g Salutations! Sweet raises her collage skills to new heights while bringing her love and admiration for fellow Mainer E. B. White to the page for everyone to appreciate. Just as […]

Review of Anything but Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide 
Herrmann, Queen of Magic


Anything but Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide 
Herrmann, Queen of Magic by Mara Rockliff; 
illus. by Iacopo Bruno Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    48 pp. 4/16    978-0-7636-6841-9    $17.99 Rockliff and Bruno (Mesmerized, rev. 1/15) bring the now-all-but-forgotten female magician Adelaide Herrmann back to center stage. Bold and spunky, Addie, in Rockliff’s strikingly vivid depiction, was […]

Review of Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West


Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West by Candace Fleming Middle School, High School    Porter/Roaring Brook    259 pp. 9/16    978-1-59643-763-0    $19.99    g Fleming (Amelia Lost, rev. 3/11; The Family Romanov, rev. 7/14) sets her sights on two connected myths of American history: William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s life story and the American […]

Listening in on the past


These engaging audio productions of four excellent historical nonfiction titles give teens another entry point into the profound (and profoundly personal) tales of courage and determination they relate. Steve Sheinkin‘s Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War uses Ellsberg as a focal point to tell the story of the Vietnam […]

Scientists as dreamers

Earmuffs for Everyone!

Can scientists be dreamers? They not only can, but should! The imagination pushes the boundaries of what can be discovered or created. The picture book biographies of the three subjects below — well-known Carl Sagan, and lesser-known Chester Greenwood and Jean-Henri Fabre — are intriguing examples of scientists who let their imaginations run away with […]

The power of the image: photographs in biographies


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 […]



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


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 […]