Abrams Announces New Middle Grade Biography Series ‘First Names’

Abrams Children’s Books has announced a new series of biographies for middle grade readers: First Names. Eight books are planned and will cover historical and contemporary figures in a highly illustrated format, with titles on Harry Houdini and Amelia Earhart due August 2019.

Abrams Children’s Books has announced a new series of biographies for middle grade readers: First Names. Eight books are planned and will cover historical and contemporary figures in a highly illustrated format, with titles on Harry Houdini and Amelia Earhart publishing in August 2019.

Abrams will publish First Names in North America in collaboration with David Fickling Books, which introduced the series in the United Kingdom in April 2018.

“The books are fun, informative, and addictively readable,” says Andrew Smith, senior vice president and publisher of Abrams Children’s Books, of the series. “And since readers will get to read about each famous person from childhood to adulthood, it’s aspirational in so many ways.”

Written by Kjartan Poskitt with illustrations by Geraint Ford, Harry Houdini tells the story of Ehrich Weisz, a Hungarian-born immigrant who moved to America when he was four and grew up to be the world’s greatest magician. Amelia Earhart, by Andrew Prentice, with illustrations by Mike Smith, offers a new take on an icon of American aviation.

Filled with “quirky illustrations, humor, and mini-comics,” according to a release, each title in the series will feature sidebars for context on historical events, a timeline, bibliography, and glossary. A hardcover edition costs $9.99, with ebook versions also available.  

Future First Names books include Malala Yousafazai, Nelson Mandela, Beyoncé, Ada Lovelace, and Ferdinand Magellan, to be published in subsequent seasons.

 

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Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka is editor in chief of School Library Journal.

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