Picture-book biographies of pioneering women 2019

March is Women’s History Month, but we believe women's history and empowerment are important topics to talk about with kids all year long. (And at every age — check out this onesie I was stoked to find for a friend's baby!) The following recent picture-book biographies of amazing women can be a part of the conversation with children at the preschool and primary levels. All were recommended by The Horn Book Magazine at the time of their publication; reviews are reprinted from The Horn Book Guide Online.

For more — including recommendations for intermediate readers and up as well as articles about gender politics in children's books and the publishing industry — see our Five Questions interview with Laurie Halse Anderson and the “Strong women making an impact 2019” section of this month's Notes from the Horn Book newsletter; the tag women's history; and KidLitWomen*.

Arnold, Marsha Diane  Galápagos Girl / Galapagueña
40 pp.     Lee/Children's     2018
Trade ISBN 978-0-89239-413-5

Illustrated by Angela Dominguez. Translated by Adriana Domínguez. This bilingual picture-book biography chronicles the early life of biologist Valentina Cruz, born in 1971 on Floreana, a Galápagos island. Readers accompany Cruz on an introductory tour of Floreana and its animals that she vows to protect, brought to vivid life through Dominguez's vibrant, digitally-colored pencil illustrations. Translation of the English text into Spanish (including the appended author's note and animal descriptions) is concise and accurate. Bib.

Bailey, Linda  Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein
56 pp.     Tundra     2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-77049-559-3
Ebook ISBN 978-1-77049-561-6

Illustrated by Júlia Sardà. This volume relates the seminal evening when author Shelley supposedly conceived the first modern science fiction novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, weaving in formative events that possibly helped inspire her masterpiece. Bailey's text is framed by her subject's penchant for dreaming, and serves as a solid introduction to Shelley. Sardà's decorative watercolor and digital illustrations in a macabre style feature sharp-edged, ghostly-looking characters. Bib.

Bardoe, Cheryl  Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain
40 pp.     Little     2018
Trade ISBN 978-0-316-27820-1
Ebook ISBN 978-0-316-39429-1

Illustrated by Barbara McClintock. An early, vivid anecdote draws readers in to this compelling picture-book biography: young Sophie Germain, in Revolutionary France, would sneak out of bed at night — to study math! Bardoe's writing is graceful, lyrical, and powerful, with the phrase "nothing stopped Sophie" repeated throughout. McClintock's spirited illustrations, in gouache, collage, and colored markers, feature turn-of-the-nineteenth-century details and bold, whimsical touches. Bib.

Barton, Chris  What Do You Do with a Voice like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan
48 pp.     Simon/Beach Lane     2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-4814-6561-8
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-6562-5

Illustrated by Ekua Holmes. This large book, with its lush, vivid mixed-media illustrations, makes an artistic statement as bold as groundbreaking African American congresswoman Jordan's own giant voice. Smart page-turns — often prompted by repeating the titular question — lead readers to think about, rather than simply learn about, Jordan's life. Barton’s overriding theme is that her big ideas — of justice, equality, and freedom — inspire others and will resonate for years to come. Reading list, timeline.

Blumenthal, Deborah  Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Ann Cole Lowe
40 pp.     Little Bee     2017
Trade ISBN 978-1-4998-0239-9

Illustrated by Laura Freeman. African American designer Ann Cole Lowe learned dressmaking from her mother and grandmother. She eventually designed for some of America's most powerful families (including making Jacqueline Bouvier's now-famous wedding dress). Freeman fills the pages with vivacious patterns and saturated colors. Audiences will take pleasure both in the vibrancy of the dresses and in the dedication of the couture artist who created them. Reading list.

Brown, Monica  Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos
40 pp.     North-South     2017
Trade ISBN 978-0-7358-4269-4

Illustrated by John Parra. Spanish-language edition translated by F. Isabel Campoy. In this lovely biographical portrait of the legendary Mexican painter, feminist icon, and artistic genius, Brown introduces and connects each of Kahlo's many pets (who comforted her and served as subjects for her paintings) with the artist. Brown uses the comparison to illuminate Kahlo's illness-and-accident-compromised life. Parra's illustrations support the upbeat tone of Brown's accessible text with exquisitely neat compositions in a muted palette. Also available in Spanish.

Cline-Ransome, Lesa  Before She Was Harriet
32 pp.     Holiday     2017
Trade ISBN 978-0-8234-2047-6
Ebook ISBN 978-0-8234-3892-1

Illustrated by James E. Ransome. The Ransomes have crafted an evocative life story of Harriet Tubman, framed by her travels. In free verse, the text tells of Tubman's roles (in reverse chronological order) as suffragist, abolitionist, Union spy, nurse, conductor on the Underground Railroad, and slave. James Ransome's arresting watercolors highlight Tubman's face from different angles, always emphasizing her undaunted determination. Visual details will also enhance readers' knowledge of American history.

Cline-Ransome, Lesa  Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams
48 pp.     Simon/Wiseman     2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-4814-7684-3
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-7685-0

Illustrated by James E. Ransome. The wife-and-husband team celebrates tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, focusing on their formative childhoods and the way their preparation and talent fundamentally changed the game. As Cline-Ransome's chronological account progresses, the sisters are positioned farther apart, eventually on opposite sides of the net, in Ransome's illustrations. A final spread, showing them holding hands after Serena bested Venus in the 2002 French Open, communicates the sisters' ultimate devotion to each other. Reading list. Bib.

Demi  Marie Curie
40 pp.     Holt     2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-62779-389-6

Demi brings her inimitable style to the life of legendary scientist Marie Curie (1867–1934), from Curie's early years in a scholarly Polish family through her education in France and her work on radioactivity with husband Pierre. In a clear, matter-of-fact text, Demi describes Curie's remarkable accomplishments. Accompanying gold-tinged illustrations are flat in aspect and, like the text, serious, yet they add texture and detail. Reading list, timeline. Glos.

Denise, Anika Aldamuy  Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré
40 pp.    HarperCollins/Harper     2019
Trade ISBN 978-0-06-274868-3
Illustrated by Paola Escobar.

As a bilingual assistant at Nueva York's public library in 1921, Pura Belpré retells the folk stories of her native Puerto Rico at storytimes and eventually writes them down for publication. Descriptive language moves between English and Spanish seamlessly. Both text and expressive, warm illustrations carry the metaphor of planting seeds, so that readers see the seeds of Belpré’s stories bloom as the biographical details unfold. Reading list. Bib.

Engle, Margarita  The Flying Girl: How Aída de Acosta Learned to Soar
40 pp.      Atheneum     2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-4814-4502-3
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-4503-0

Illustrated by Sara Palacios. In this slightly fictionalized account (with brief invented dialogue), Engle and Palacios introduce readers to Latina air-and-space pioneer Aída de Acosta (1884–1962), who defied the sexist attitudes of her era to learn to pilot dirigibles. Lilting, intermittently rhyming text highlights the difficulties de Acosta faced. Mixed-media illustrations capture the giant scale of the dirigibles without sacrificing detail in scenes of people on the ground.

Erskine, Kathryn  Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song
48 pp.     Farrar     2017
Trade ISBN 978-0-374-30301-3

Illustrated by Charly Palmer. Erskine's picture book biography about South African resistance singer Miriam Makeba uses driving present tense and an expressionistic prose style, with lyrical sentences alighting on significant apartheid events. Quotes and song lyrics keep the intensity high, as does clever use of words in red, often repeated on the next page. Palmer heightens the sense of urgency with vivid paintings. An extensive author's note is included. Reading list, timeline. Bib., glos.

Fulton, Kristen  Long May She Wave: The True Story of Caroline Pickersgill and Her Star-Spangled Creation
40 pp.     McElderry     2017
Trade ISBN 978-1-4814-6096-5
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-6097-2

Illustrated by Holly Berry. During the War of 1812, thirteen-year-old flag-maker's daughter Caroline Pickersgill helped stitch her first flag, which flew at Fort McHenry when the British attacked. Francis Scott Key's poem (now our national anthem) immortalized the flag. Fulton's rhythmically paced prose subtly echoes the poem's lines (appended). Berry's striking collaged block prints with colored pencil contrast thick black lines with bold, patriotic colors. Bib.

Fulton, Lynn  She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein
40 pp.     Knopf      2018
Trade ISBN 978-0-525-57960-1
Library binding ISBN 978-0-525-57961-8
Ebook ISBN 978-0-525-57962-5

Illustrated by Felicita Sala. Like a scary campfire story, Fulton's short, descriptive passages and occasional fictionalized dialogue set the mood and drive her focused retelling of the night author Shelley supposedly first conceived of her mad scientist and his creation. Nicely complementing the tale are Sala's striking watercolor, ink, and colored-pencil illustrations, which display a Gothic sensibility, with angular features and a dark color palette containing shocks of white for dramatic effect. Bib.

Guglielmo, Amy and Tourville, Jacqueline  How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine
48 pp.     Atheneum     2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-5344-1097-8
Ebook ISBN 978-1-5344-1098-5

Illustrated by Giselle Potter. Grandin, a child with autism and hypersensitivity to touch, saw a calf become calm after entering a squeeze chute and made a comparable “hug machine.” The authors take readers from Grandin’s early childhood through young adulthood, lightly sketching in biographical information to focus on her antipathy to being hugged and her invention. Illustrations capture Grandin’s likeness well and reinforce the text’s emphasis on her interests.

Guglielmo, Amy and Tourville, Jacqueline  Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire
48 pp.     Atheneum     2017
Trade ISBN 978-1-4814-6131-3
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-6132-0

Illustrated by Brigette Barrager. In 1940, artist Mary Blair got a job at Walt Disney Studios, where men in drab suits found her unconventional use of color to be "too vivid, too wild." Walt himself, though, took an interest in Mary's vision. Digital illustrations employ a kaleidoscopic palette in a retro aesthetic that reflects Disney's golden age. The text uses deliciously precise color names to conjure sights and emotions. Author's note included.

Harvey, Jeanne Walker  Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines
32 pp.     Holt/Ottaviano     2017
Trade ISBN 978-1-250-11249-1

Illustrated by Dow Phumiruk. This quiet, contemplative picture-book biography sets up Lin's early fascination with spaces, natural and human-made, and their dynamic relationship with phenomena such as light. Appropriately, the book's muted art has the fine lines, precision, and spatial astuteness of architectural drawings, and Phumiruk's use of perspective (especially in rendering the Vietnam Veterans Memorial) is striking. Harvey's text makes thoughtful, relatable connections between Lin's work and the themes of her life.

Hopkinson, Deborah  Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen: The Story of Six Novels, Three Notebooks, a Writing Box, and One Clever Girl
40 pp.     HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray    2018
Trade ISBN 978-0-06-237330-4

Illustrated by Qin Leng. Hopkinson's picture book biography has a narrow focus: Jane Austen's mostly uneventful life was spent observing others, and she combined this knowledge with her love of reading — and her father's gift of a mahogany writing box — to pursue an extraordinary writing career. Accompanying Hopkinson's pithy text are Leng's loose, delicate, ink and watercolor illustrations, which fittingly accentuate Jane's youthfulness and the playfulness of her writing. Timeline, websites. Bib.

Kaneko, Misuzu and Jacobson, David  Are You an Echo?: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko
64 pp.     Chin Music     2016
Trade ISBN 978-1-63405-962-6

Illustrated by Toshikado Hajiri. Translated by Sally Ito and Michiko Tsuboi. Part biography, part poetry collection, the book begins with Jacobson's sensitive biographical narrative of Japanese children's poet Misuzu Kaneko's grim life (she committed suicide at twenty-six). The second half features fifteen of Kaneko's child-centered, empathetic poems printed in English first, then Japanese. Hajiri's illustrations capture time and place in addition to rendering delicate close-up views of the world from a young child's viewpoint.

Levinson, Cynthia  The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist
40 pp.     Atheneum     2017
Trade ISBN 978-1-4814-0070-1
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-0071-8

Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton. Levinson tells the true story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, the youngest participant in the 1963 Birmingham Children's March. The well-paced text captures a child's voice and presents time and place realistically. Brightly colored digital collages clearly depict both the hopeful spirit and the rawer emotions of one community involved in the civil rights struggle. An author's note provides additional background. Timeline. Bib.

Macy, Sue  Trudy's Big Swim: How Gertrude Ederle Swam the English Channel and Took the World by Storm
40 pp.     Holiday     2017
Trade ISBN 978-0-8234-3665-1
Ebook ISBN 978-0-8234-3825-9

Illustrated by Matt Collins. Macy and Collins assuredly capture twenty-year-old Gertrude Ederle's unique fortitude of August 6, 1926, when, after fourteen-plus hours, she achieved her goal of being the first woman to swim the English Channel. The book begins mid-swim, and Macy's immediate, involving text takes breaks only to supply essential backstory and scene-setting details. Collins's retro-flavored mixed-media art has a you-are-there, camera-like perspective. Timeline. Bib.

McCully, Emily Arnold  Caroline's Comets: A True Story
40 pp.     Holiday     2017
Trade ISBN 978-0-8234-3664-4
Ebook ISBN 978-0-8234-3796-2

McCully's profile of astronomer Caroline Herschel reveals her complicated yet productive life as her brother William's co-researcher and housekeeper. McCully carefully details all of Caroline's contributions to the creation of "their" telescopes as well as her astronomical discoveries; Caroline's own work was eventually recognized and awarded. Passages taken from Herschel's diaries document her "prickly personality," as do the delicate, spiky pen-and-ink illustrations. Timeline. Bib., glos.

Pimentel, Annette Bay  Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb and the Boston Marathon
32 pp.     Penguin/Paulsen     2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-101-99668-3

Illustrated by Micha Archer. This picture book biography of the first woman to run the Boston Marathon — in defiance of the rules — is short on specifics (dates, ages, etc.) but clear on Gibb's determination. Pimentel's straightforward text builds drama and suspense. Archer's vibrant mixed-media and collage art portrays a variety of settings; a nice touch is the bottom-of-the-page border marking the miles of Gibb's progress during the race. Bib.

Pliscou, Lisa  Brave Jane Austen: Reader, Writer, Author, Rebel
48 pp.     Holt/Ottaviano     2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-62779-643-9

Illustrated by Jen Corace. Pliscou's lengthy picture-book biography, for slightly older primary readers, provides an overview of Jane Austen's writing and personality and offers historical context. Small details emphasize the bravery it took for Austen to go against the norm and still achieve success. The decorative folk-art aesthetic of Corace's colorful gouache, ink, acrylic, and pencil illustrations evokes styles common amongst the gentry during Regency England, nicely complementing Pliscou's account. Bib.

Rinker, Sherri Duskey  Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton
40 pp.     Houghton     2017
Trade ISBN 978-0-544-71557-8

Illustrated by John Rocco. A picture book biography of author-illustrator Burton focuses on her adult life as mother to two boys who love trains and trucks. The text and art are at their best when "Jinnee" is illustrating, creating lifelike scenes out of blank paper and charcoal. Rocco's paintings of the artist at work and his replicas of her illustrations are masterful. An intriguing, loving introduction to a picture book icon.

Robinson, Fiona  Ada's Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World's First Computer Programmer
40 pp.     Abrams     2016
Trade ISBN 978-1-4197-1872-4
Ebook ISBN 978-1-6131-2913-5

Daughter of a strait-laced mathematician mother and impetuous Romantic poet father (Lord Byron, whom she never knew), Ada "[found] her own sort of poetical expression...through math!" Robinson's writing is direct and deft (if exclamation point–heavy) and mostly accessible to readers. But what really steal the show are her whimsical illustrations: paper cutouts arranged in layers and photographed for a striking collage effect. Bib.

Romito, Dee  Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott
40 pp.     Little Bee     2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-4998-0720-2

Illustrated by Laura Freeman. This lively picture book introduces an unsung hero of the 1955–1956 Montgomery Bus Boycott. Georgia Gilmore led a group of women in secretly making and selling food, the proceeds of which they donated to the boycott's funders. Romito tells the story clearly, including many details and occasional quotes. Freeman portrays Gilmore as a woman full of spirit, pride, and determination. An author's note and recipe are included. Bib.

Schmidt, Gary D.  So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom
48 pp.     Roaring Brook      2018
Trade ISBN

Illustrated by Daniel Minter. This hauntingly beautiful, uncompromisingly direct picture-book biography takes larger-than-life figure Sojourner Truth  from childhood to old age, focusing on her acts of courage at a time when black Americans had few legal rights. Minter's watercolor and mixed-media art is stunning, often making Sojourner Truth the largest figure on the page or spread. An essential text for studying Civil War–era American history.

Sisson, Stephanie Roth  Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement
40 pp.     Roaring Brook     2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-62672-819-6

Environmental scientist Carson's (1907–1964) childhood was primarily spent outdoors, and Sisson emphasizes her subject's love of animals, keen observation skills, and enthusiasm for the natural world before turning to Carson's adult work. The illustrations' warm, sunny earth tones and varying compositions — which include the use of panels, circles, and small insets — fill the pages with detail. Further notes about Carson's life round out this informative biography. Bib.

Stanley, Diane  Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer
40 pp.    Simon/Wiseman     2016
Trade ISBN 978-1-4814-5249-6
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-5250-2

Illustrated by Jessie Hartland. Stanley emphasizes Lovelace's right- and left-brain pedigree (her father, whom she never knew, was poet Lord Byron; her mother, a scientist and mathematician). Multiple entry points — Lovelace as female mathematician, nineteenth-century woman balancing career and family, and visionary kept in the background by society — should attract a diverse readership. Hartland's gouache illustrations combine visual playfulness with concrete points in the narrative. Timeline. Bib., glos.

Stone, Tanya Lee  Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented
40 pp.     Holt/Ottaviano     2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-62779-168-7

Illustrated by Steven Salerno. Elizabeth "Lizzie" Magie developed a board game to expose unfair housing practices at the turn of the twentieth century. Charles Darrow makes the game brighter and bolder; he buys Magie out, becoming the sole proprietor of the newly named Monopoly. Stone smoothly navigates a changing cast of characters and time periods, repeatedly drawing readers in with thought-provoking questions. Salerno's mixed-media, retro-style illustrations convey a sense of the times. Bib.

Stone, Tanya Lee  Who Says Women Can't Be Computer Programmers?: The Story of Ada Lovelace
40 pp.     Holt/Ottaviano     2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-62779-299-8

Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. This picture book biography covers the basics of computer programmer Lovelace's (1815–52) life: the conflict between her practical mother (a mathematician) and romantic father (poet Lord Byron); her pioneering work with Charles Babbage; etc. The book's layout mirrors Lovelace's own analytical and imaginative sides, with a clean Helvetica type carrying the straightforward text and Priceman's warmly curved gouache and ink illustrations creating colorful flights of fancy. Bib.

Suzuki, Sarah  Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infinity
40 pp.     MoMA     2017
Trade ISBN 978-1-63345-039-4

Illustrated by Ellen Weinstein. With reproductions of works by Yayoi Kusama. Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (born in 1929) is known for her distinctive polka-dots. Rather than a full-scope biography, this picture book is an origin story and examination of Kusama's artistic worldview. MoMA curator Suzuki writes informatively and accessibly, especially in explaining heady concepts essential to this artist. The illustrations are precise and clean-lined, and Weinstein makes creative use of Kusama's whimsical Pop Art palette and the dot motif.

Tonatiuh, Duncan  Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México
40 pp.     Abrams     2017
Trade ISBN 978-1-4197-2532-6
Ebook ISBN 978-1-68335-110-8

Amalia Hernández (1917–2000) traveled throughout Mexico learning about regions' unique histories and traditions in order to incorporate them into dance; in 1952, she founded Mexico's most famous dance company, El Ballet Folklórico de México, which still performs today. Tonatiuh's illustration style, inspired by Mixtec art and with well-chosen photo-collage elements, is particularly resonant with a subject who celebrated Mexican arts and culture. Bib., glos., ind.

Valdez, Patricia  Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles
40 pp.     Knopf     2018
Trade ISBN 978-0-399-55725-5
Library binding ISBN 978-0-399-55726-2
Ebook ISBN 978-0-399-55727-9

Illustrated by Felicita Sala. Valdez presents an affirming picture-book biography of herpetologist, researcher, and zoo-exhibit designer Joan Procter (1897–1931). Readers are immersed in Procter's world, from her childhood bedroom (where she developed her obsession with lizards) to the museums and zoos of early-twentieth-century London. Sala's illustrations portray a stylish woman of the 1920s — with a variety of small lizards present on her shoulders and wrists. Bib.

Veirs, Laura  Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten
48 pp.     Chronicle     2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-4521-4857-1

Illustrated by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. As a child, African American folk musician Elizabeth Cotten (1893–1987) taught her left-handed self to play guitar; then "time swept Libba up," and she stopped playing. As a grandmother, she's serendipitously hired as a housekeeper by the Seeger family, who rediscovered her talent and helped Cotten bring her music to the world. Fazlalizadeh's 
art, rendered in graphite with feathery digital coloring, complements Veirs's unpretentious prose exquisitely. Websites.

Wallmark, Laurie  Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life [People Who Shaped Our World]
48 pp.    Sterling     2019
ISBN 978-1-4549-2691-7
Illustrated by Katy Wu.

WWII-era film star Hedy Lamarr (1914–2000) was also an inventor whose “brain overflowed with idea after idea.” Though Lamarr's technology is in widespread use in today's electronics, it took decades for her work to be acknowledged. Well-chosen quotes reveal Lamarr's frustration with people’s assumptions about her intelligence based on her "pretty face.” Approachable digital illustrations ably portray Lamarr in both glitz-and-glam-Hollywood mode and at her inventing table. Reading list, timeline. Bib.

Winter, Jeanette  The World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid
56 pp.     Simon/Beach Lane     2017
Trade ISBN 978-1-4814-4669-3
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-4670-9

Growing up in Baghdad, Zaha Hadid's (1950–2016) love for math allowed her to see the world through a unique lens; her creative thoughts inspired her to become an architect, and she went on to design extraordinary and unusual structures. Winter's rich-hued, multilayered illustrations visually unite readers with the spirit of Hadid's creations. Back matter includes a pictorial list of Hadid's structures and a brief author's note. Bib.

Yousafzai, Malala  Malala's Magic Pencil
40 pp.     Little     2017
Trade ISBN 978-0-316-31957-7
Ebook ISBN 978-0-316-31983-6

Illustrated by Kerascoët. As a girl, education activist Malala Yousafzai enjoyed watching a TV show about a magic pencil. In child-friendly text, she describes how she would use a magic pencil to change the world. Facing reality, Malala began to focus on what she loved most — school and speaking out against oppression. The ink and watercolor illustrations use pastel shades and earth tones to show details of young Malala's culture.

Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, formerly editor of The Horn Book Guide, is a freelance children’s and YA editor. She's also a former bookseller who holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons University. She served as chair of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.

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