Before They Were Authors: Famous Writers as Kids

HMH. May 2019. 64p. bibliog. notes. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781328801531.
Gr 4-7–This collective graphic biography celebrates the early lives and journeys of 10 famous authors from a range of publishing eras: Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, Dr. Seuss, Sandra Cisneros, Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, Gene Luen Yang, Beatrix Potter, C.S. Lewis, and Madeleine L’Engle. The title of the book is a bit of a misnomer; abridged biographies describe the authors’ childhoods but also include general information about their careers and lives after becoming established. Sourced quotes from the authors’ works and about themselves offer a feel for the differences in their styles, and the details often match the tone of the artists’ work. Dr. Seuss’s section has a panel depicting his imaginary children, and Beatrix Potter’s incorporates her scientific research and conservation work. The palette gives the book a cohesive look, and fans will enjoy seeing depictions of their favorite books.
VERDICT May need some handselling but could influence aspiring young writers to follow their dreams, too.

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