All posts in Biography for Kids

My Favorite #WomensHistoryMonth Books for Kids

My Favorite #WomensHistoryMonth Books for Kids

I’ve rounded up every book review that I could think of over the last seven years of blogging to try to compile my #WomensHistoryMonth book list below. What are your favorite books celebrating women’s achievements? Thanks for sharing!

My Favorite #WomensHistoryMonth Books for Kids

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

My daughter  and I love this gorgeously illustrated and designed book celebrating 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world. So many of these female scientists were overlooked and not given credit for their achievements because they were women. The women of color even more so. For example, Rosalind Franklin actually discovers the structure of DNA. “James Watson and Francis Crick snuck a peak at Rosalind’s work, without her permission, and used her findings to publish their own work without giving her credit.” [picture book biography, ages 8 and up]

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future! by Katy Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl

I love everything about this short biography picture book from the Andy Warhol inspired images to the selection of activists and trailblazers that are highlighted in this book. [picture book biography, ages 8 and up]

What’s the Big Deal about the First Ladies by Ruby Shamir, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Learn about the achievements of the First Ladies. Did you know that Edith Wilson helped decode secret messages during WWI? Rosalind Carter encouraged world leaders to help suffering refugees, and Laura Bush helped millions of people in Africa get medicine for AIDS. With an engaging format, this picture book is full of interesting factoids about our amazing first ladies. [picture book, ages 6 and up]

Dorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found Faces of the Depression by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Sarah Green

Dorothea Lange had childhood polio which left her with a limp, but also a sense of empathy that shaped her view from behind the camera. Her famous photo of a migrant mother and her kids has a backstory: the family was stranded and starving after rains had destroyed the pea crop. 📸Dorothea’s powerful image was published in the newspaper, and then the government rushed ten tons of food to the camp. Lange captured powerful images of The Great Depression and Japanese Americans in internment camps. She also documented the conference that created the United Nations. Read this inspiring picture book biography that shows the power of art in the fight for social justice. [picture book, ages 5 and up]

Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports by Phil Bildner, illustrated by Brett Helquist

My 12-year-old son just read it and said, “I like the way he writes this book because it’s not like he’s writing a (boring) biography. It’s like he’s telling their story.” Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova were such a study in opposites. Martina: all heart and emotion. Chris: cool as a cucumber. And they were close friends as well! I love the causal tone of this book that really brings their great rivalry to life, and illustrates good sportsmanship. Readers also get a mini lesson on The Cold War. Two great champions. Two great friends. [picture book biography, ages 7 and up]

Swimming with the Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang, illustrated by Jordi Solano

In the 1930s, almost no one studied the depths of the ocean, and none were women but that didn’t stop Eugenie Clark from dreaming of becoming an ichthyologist. She got her master’s degree in zoology and became a research assistant to a fish scientist, soon specializing in sharks. Her research showed that sharks were not voracious killers. Despite facing discrimination as a woman and racism because she was Japanese American, she never stopped learning, publishing over 175 articles about fish. She died in 2015 at the age of ninety-two, still researching! [picture book biography, ages 6 and up]

Abigail Adams by Alexandra Wallner

Abigail Adams was the wife of a president, and the mother of a president. Both her husband and son became presidents of the United States, and while that is what she is famous for, she worked her entire life for women’s and civil rights. While women’s roles were defined by running the household, Abigail spent her life trying to change things she found unfair, and downright wrong. She fought for woman’s rights, though her husband, did not agree. She taught a black servant to read and write. This picture book shows a side of Abigail that is lesser known, one of American’s earliest proponents of women’s rights, and civil rights for people of color. [picture book biography, ages 6 and up]

Read more…

#BlackHistoryMonth by Carole Boston Weatherford

#BlackHistoryMonth by Carole Boston Weatherford

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Carole Boston Weatherford in Roxbury, Massachusetts last year. I was struck by her quiet elegance and dignity. Her books reflect that too.

Carole Boston Weatherford and Ekua Holmes with Mia Wenjen

Carole Boston Weatherford is on the left. Ekua Holmes is on the right.

I didn’t realize how many #BlackHistoryMonth stories that would have remained largely untold if not for Carole’s work. Today, I wanted to share with you her books in honor of #BlackHistoryMonth.

#BlackHistoryMonth by Carole Boston Weatherford

The Legendary Miss Lena Horne by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

Lena Horne

Lena Horne, image from Wikipedia

Lena Horne was both an legendary actress and activist, born into a well educated and high achieving family. During the Great Depression, Lena started her career at the Cotton Club as a dancer in the chorus line. Her career catapulted from there, to Broadway, headlining an all-white band, to Hollywood. During WWII, her activist side emerged in full force, which resulted in being blacklisted during McCarthy’s Red Scare. Still, Lena persisted. With a new husband, she was able to further her career to become an international star, and use her fame in the fight for civil rights. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Congo Square New Orleans

Congo Square, U.S. National Register of Historic Places, image from Wikipedia

“Slavery was no ways fair. Six more days to Congo Square.” The back story of the birth of jazz in New Orleans: because Louisiana was a French colony, then a Spanish colony, even slaves had Sunday off from work. In most states, African drums and music were banned. But once a week at Congo Square in New Orleans, hundreds of slaves and free blacks would congregate, play music, and dance. Told in simple rollicking rhyme, this picture book is exuberant as it is informational about a little known story that expresses a human’s capacity to find hope and joy even in the most difficult circumstances. And this resulted in the birth of jazz, America’s only original art form. Carole Boston Weatherford’s books are all exceptional. Both she and illustrator R. Gregory Christie are Coretta Scott King Honorees. Freedom in Congo Square is one of my (accurate) Caldecott picks. [picture book, ages 2 and up]

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Nobel Peace Prize Winners Picture Books

9 People Who Changed The World: Nobel Peace Prize Picture Books

It surprises me that only a few of the Nobel Peace Prize recipients are represented in picture books for children. I was able to find these nine people who changed the world and, in doing so, received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Some the picture books are biographies, others are their own books reflecting their philosophies but presented to children. Perfect, right? I hope it inspires a new generation of activists who believe they can change the world. Because I know that they can. 

9 People Who Changed The World:

Great Picture Book Biographies of Nobel Peace Prize Winners

Read more…

Is Coco Chanel a Real Person?

Is Coco Chanel a Real Person?

PickyKidPix who is now in 8th grade surprised me with this question: Is Coco Chanel a real person? First of all, how does she even know about Chanel? I think she watches too many YouTube beauty bloggers. And secondly, how strange that she only knows Chanel as a brand name because in fact, she knew Chanel by the handbags and make up.

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel, 1920. Wikipedia

I just happened upon this picture book at the library and gave it to my daughter who was delighted to read it.

Coco and the Little Black Dress by Annemarie Van Haeringen Read more…

Fannie Mae Hamer Book event

Meeting Voices of Freedom: The Fannie Mae Hamer Author and Illustrator

It was an honor and a thrill to meet author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Ekua Holmes of Voices of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. Did you know that Voices of Freedom won:

  • 2016 Caldecott Honor Book
  • 2016 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
  • 2016 John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award Winner

Meeting Voices of Freedom: The Fannie Mae Hamer Author and Illustrator

The book also won a silver medal at the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show, a Parent’s Choice Gold Medal, and the Flora Steiglitz Straus Award for nonfiction from Bank Street College of Education. Read more…

Who Dream of Flying

10 Books for Children Who Dream of Flying

Please welcome my guest blogger today, author Carole Boston Weatherford! Her novel in verse just came out, a stunning perspective of the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen during Jim Crow WWII America. This is a family endeavor, the dramatic scratch board illustrations are by her son, Jeffrey Boston Weatherford.

You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jeffrey Boston Weatherford

… before 1940, African Americans could not become pilots in the U.S. military.

Carole Boston Weatherford’s novel in verse tells the story of the Tuskegee Airman, the pioneering African-American pilots of World War II and of life for blacks during this time. Jim Crow laws permeated the military during this time; the SS Mariposa actually had a rope to separate black soldiers from white. But it also curtailed training and leadership opportunities for African Americans, both male and female. Top brass claimed that blacks for not fit to fly.

Of the more than 400,000 pilots trained by the Civilian Pilot Training Program, only 2,000 were black; less than half of a percent. With tremendous pressure to prove their worthiness,The Tuskegee Airmen earned 900 plus medals including Distinguished Crossed, Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts. Their accomplishments paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military. [novel in verse, ages 9 and up]

She created a list of books for children who dream of taking to the skies … not unlike the pioneering aviators of the Tuskegee Institute. Need more books about flying? I have a list of female aviators: Fabulous Flying Females. What books about flying did we leave out? Thanks for sharing! Read more…

Top 10: Best Picture Books for Spring

Top 10: Best Picture Books for Spring

You wouldn’t guess that it’s spring here in Boston given the snow we’ve been getting in April! Still, I am dreaming of spring and getting my little garden going.

These are my favorite picture books for garden inspiration. These books demonstrate that gardens can transform an environment, bring neighbors closer, and even become a political touchpoint. Ideas for Earth Day include starting a compost pile, planting a tree, or even just germinate seeds.

 

What are your favorite spring picture books? Are you planting a garden this year of any size? Please share! Read more…

African-American Pioneering Female Musicians

African-American Female Musicians Picture Books

March is Women’s History Month so I’ve started off with a video of a musician that is new to me, Hazel Dorothy Scott, a jazz prodigy who was prominent during the 1930s and 1940s. I could not find a picture book biography on her (yet) but here’s hoping that someone will write out. In the meantime, below the video I’ve rounded up picture book biographies of other women who paved the way in music. Have I missed any? Please let me know and I’ll add! Thank you!

Read more…

Jane Goodall: Women's History Month

Jane Goodall: Women’s History Month

In July 1960, at the age of 26, Jane Goodall traveled from England to what is today Tanzania and bravely entered the little-known world of wild chimpanzees.

Today, Jane’s work revolves around inspiring action on behalf of endangered species, particularly chimpanzees, and encouraging people to do their part to make the world a better place for people, animals, and the environment we all share. National Geographic

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall was the first to discover that wild chimpanzees were capable of making and using tools, a revelation that turned the scientific world upside down. What’s amazing to me is that she didn’t have a background in science. Fifty years later, Jane Goodall’s work is more important than ever.

Gombe Forest in Tanzania

 Map from Betchart Expeditions.

60 Minutes goes with Jane Goodall back to the Gombe Forest in Tanzania for an intimate look at her chimpanzees. Join them for this inside look. Read more…