Here’s a collection of picture-book biographies that introduces musicians and fine artists to children. The authors and illustrators have created engaging, child-friendly profiles that will hopefully lead readers to explore and seek out other materials about these amazingly talented individuals.
This article was published in School Library Journal's January 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.
Superb choices for sharing aloud or reading independently, picture book biographies make useful starting points for investigations of subjects that span the curriculum. This year’s selections includes artists, activists, and an aviatrix.
Mad Girl’s Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted by Andrew Wilson. Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster. 2013. Personal copy. One of my “vacation reads” — books for the grown ups, reviewed around holidays, when you may want to take time off from reading young adult books. It’s About: Sylvia Plath before [...]
Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 by Elizabeth Winder. HarperCollins. 2013. Personal Copy. Vacation reads — when I review not-teen books that people may be interested in reading! It’s About: In June, 1953, Sylvia Plath was a guest editor for the fashion magazine, Mademoiselle. The guest editor program was prestigious. The [...]
A picture book that focuses on Albert Einstein’s intellect hrough the concepts that puzzled and excited him. Check out SLJ’s starred review.
The task for educators is not to drain this sense of open-ended exploration from student-fans but rather to make sure that it is accompanied by the Jiminy Cricket-like voice of critical literacy…
Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People By Susan Goldman Rubin Abrams Books for Young Readers $21.95 ISBN: 978-0-8109-8411-0 Ages 10 and up On shelves now National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15th to October 15th. How many folks could tell you that off the top of their heads? Meanwhile, few awards are specifically [...]
SLJ Talks to Author Andrea Cheng: Her latest book, ‘Etched in Clay,’ charts the courageous life of Dave the potter | Under Cover
Author Andrea Cheng’s latest book, ‘Etched in Clay,’ charts the courageous life of Dave the potter, a 19th-century slave who became an accomplished artist.
Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal. Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan. 2012. Review copy from publisher. Finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award. It’s About: A biography of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, Inc. The Good: Reading books like Bomb, Titanic or We’ve Got a Job [...]
The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdős By Deborah Heiligman Illustrated by LeUyen Pham Roaring Brook (an imprint of Macmillan) ISBN: 978-1-59643-307-6 Ages 6 and up On shelves June 25th Make a beeline for your local library’s children’s biography section and learn firsthand the shocking truth about picture book bios of [...]
Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices by Leonard S. Marcus. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2012. Review copy from publisher. It’s About: Madeleine L’Engle, beloved author of A Wrinkle In Time (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1962). The Good: How to write a biography of Madeleine L’Engle, especially when so many people [...]
GOLIO, Gary. Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey. illus. by Rudy Gutierrez. 48p. bibliog. discography. further reading. websites. Clarion. 2012. RTE $17.99. ISBN 978-0-547-23994-1.
Gr 4-6–A well-conceived marriage of art and text breathes life and passion into this picture biography. Swirling strokes of vibrant colors give the book an almost cinematic quality, animating Coltrane’s passionate journey from a joyous, nurturing early childhood with a loving extended family to the despair of losing too many loved ones in a short time. The [...]
PARKER, Marjorie Blain. Colorful Dreamer: The Story of Artist Henri Matisse. illus. by Holly Berry. 32p. further reading. CIP. Dial. Nov. 2012. RTE $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3758-7. LC 2011035446.
Gr 2-5–This picture-book biography covers Matisse’s entire life but focuses on his career aspirations and achievements. The straightforward text takes a lighthearted approach by including details such as young Henri’s dream of becoming a magician and his skill with a peashooter. Berry’s illustrations are the star of the show; dignified black-and-white drawings [...]
Readers of this season’s biographies can expect to travel through time to meet characters from long ago, investigate various careers by meeting stars of today, and be inspired to invent and create.
Gary Golio speaks to SLJ about his latest picture book, Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey (Clarion, 2012), which deals with the tumultuous life of the legendary jazz musician.
With the onset of September comes the roar of the crowd—the football crowd. From Pop Warner leagues to professional sports, there are plenty of games to attend or watch. Whether on the bleachers, in the field, or cheering from the living room couch, here are some new titles to fill in the gap during half-time.
Link to youtube video All the way to america After reading All The Way to America by Dan Yaccarino, we asked the 2nd graders to draw a picture of objects or ideas that are passed down in families. Some of the objects that came up in the discussion, a hand-cranked coffee grinder, a ceremonial wine cup, [...]
We preface the reading of this book by noting that this is an information book. We ask the students if there are any hints about what the book is about on the cover. Some comments include that there is a trip. (suitcases) That it is about New York. (Statue of Liberty) When we look [...]