Posts Tagged ‘biographies’
Posted in non-fiction, picture books, tagged ada lovelace, alice paul, althea gibson, amelia earhart, astronomy, ballet, biographies, books reviews, caroline herschel, children's literature, Florence Nightingale, gertrude ederle, joan of arc, malala yousafzai, maria tallchief, picture books, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, schooling for girls, tennis, U.S. Supreme Court, women scientists, women's history month, women's rights, women's suffrage on March 14, 2017| 2 Comments »
Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille, written by Jennifer Bryant, illustrated by Boris Kulikov
published in 2016 by Alfred A. Knopf
On one hand, Louis Braille doesn’t need any introduction. His name speaks for itself. It must be among the most recognizable in the world.
On the other hand, the story of his childhood, appalling accident that led to blindness, quest for learning, and sheer brilliance and dogged persistence in developing a written code to uncloak the world for the blind — this fascinating story does need telling and hearing.
And there are numerous biographies of Braille for children. This newest one by Jen Bryant, though, tells it exceptionally well, ushering us right into Braille’s experience. As Bryant says in her Author’s Note, she wanted to answer the question, “What did it FEEL like to be Louis Braille?” By digging into the emotions of Braille’s story rather than only the facts, she gifts us with this superb book.
Boris Kulikov’s inspired illustration work plunges us into darkness right alongside Louis, then gorgeously illuminates his world. Little wonder it received a 2017 Schneider Family Book Award, a category honoring the artistic expression of the disability experience for children.
Braille spent years slaving over his code, determined to craft one efficient enough to give the blind opportunity to read anything and everything available to sighted persons. And he did this as a child, producing his nearly-final code at age 15. What a fitting story to share with children, ages 6 and up.
A Q&A at the end of the book reveals lots more about Braille and his marvelously curious, inventive mind.
Posted in non-fiction, picture books, tagged aviation, biographies, book reviews, children's literature, civil war, courage, Ella Fitzgerald, Ida Lewis, jazz, journalism, Kate Warne, lighthouses, nellie bly, picture books, Pinkerton's Detective Agency, Ruth Law, Sarah Edmonds, women's history month on March 30, 2016| 2 Comments »
Western notions of femininity have traditionally been a bit frilly and swoony, with a generous ladle of helplessness thrown in for good measure.
The title of my blog today comes from Jane Austen, who famously said, “I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us wants to be in calm waters all our lives.”
The women in today’s list, my final Women’s History Month post, were anything but preening, wispy li’l thangs. Intrepid, strong, courageous, daring, determined — those aren’t words for the Boys Only Club. Read their stories, beginning with:
The Bravest Woman in America, by Marissa Moss, illustrations by Andrea U’Ren
published in 2011 by Tricycle Press
Ida Lewis grew up with the ocean for a backyard. Her father was lighthouse keeper on Lime Rock off of Newport, Rhode Island. Ida hankered to share in his work from the time she was a young girl, and her keen father was good enough to hand her the oars and tell her to row for all she was worth.
Years of blisters and aching muscles later, with her father too ill to help, Ida’s stamina, courage, and lessons in ocean rescue paid off as she manned the lighthouse and rowed out into tumultuous seas time and again, dragging shipwrecked sailors out of the icy water to safety. This epic story will rivet the attention of kids ages 5 and up. U’Ren’s arresting artwork echoes the valor of Lewis, who once said, “Anyone who thinks it is un-feminine to save lives has the brains of a donkey.” Amen, Ida!
Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero, by Marissa Moss, illustrations by John Hendrix
published in 2011 by Abrams Books for Young Readers
Sarah Edmonds just might win the award for Most Audacious Female on the list today. At age 16, in order to escape an arranged marriage, Edmonds chopped off her hair, pulled on some trousers, and began living life as a man. Three years later we find her enlisting in the Union Army as private Frank Thompson.
Frank/Sarah was a sharp-shooting, good-natured soldier, a nurse with nerves of steel, and an intrepid friend, dashing into hails of bullets to rescue his/her mates. And that’s just the beginning of it! I promise you do not want to miss the story of this patriotic, kindhearted, determined woman. John Hendrix’s engaging illustrations are packed with period detail and vivid characters. Don’t miss the author and illustrator notes where you will learn more about Edmonds and about how better to appreciate the art of picture books. Ages 5 and up.
Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine, by Heather Lang, illustrated by Raúl Colón
published in 2016 by Calkins Creek
Ruth Law was an aviator who performed theatrical acrobatics in those early, flimsy-looking bi-planes, dipping and loop-de-looping and spiraling towards earth in death-defying dives. Yet her greatest accomplishment, requiring the most courage, endurance, strength, and nerve, was a flight from Chicago to New York City.
That may not sound like much to us today, but this account of her journey in which she broke the record for longest non-stop flight, brings us right into the cockpit with her, icicles dangling from her hair and all! to discover the painful hardships and narrow scrapes involved in her venture. Witness Law’s keen mechanical knowledge of her plane which paved the way to success, and her outstanding perseverance. All this in an inferior plane to what male pilots were flying, because they wouldn’t sell the newest model to her as a woman! Colón’s artwork is ravishing, as always, flooded with the golden, sunlit fields and turquoise skies Law surveyed as she flew. Ages 6 and up.
How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln, by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk, illustrated by Valentina Belloni
published in 2016 by Albert Whitman and Company
In 1856, Kate Warne showed up at the famous Pinkerton’s Detective Agency offices, told them she was looking for a job, and convinced them that she, as a woman, would make the ideal addition to their force.
Warne was right — she could slip into female company and winkle out information like nobody’s business. And she played a key role in saving President-elect Lincoln’s life from murderous conspirators. This intriguing, upbeat story of the country’s first woman detective is just right for ages 5 and up. For older readers, hand them The Detective’s Assistant, a delightful piece of historical-fiction about Warne that I reviewed here.
The Daring Nellie Bly: America’s Star Reporter, written and illustrated by Bonnie Christensen
published in 2003 by Alfred A. Knopf
Nellie Bly shouldered her way into the world of journalism when women were normally assigned the tea-party beat. Nellie wanted to cover serious news. Beginning by investigating the real lives of working women, she went on to expose corruption in the Mexican government, then took perhaps her most risky assignment, going undercover in an insane asylum, a world filled with horrific abuse.
It was Bly’s venture to beat Phineas Fogg’s around-the-world travel record that made her much more than a household name — she was “the best known and most widely talked of young woman on earth” after her triumph. Bly made use of her journalistic opportunities to draw attention to critical social issues. This handsomely-illustrated account is a bit on the long-ish side; try it for kids ages 7 or 8 and up.
Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald, by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Sean Qualls
published in 2010 by Candlewick Press
Ella Fitzgerald did not battle ocean storms, enemy soldiers, murderous villains, or frustrating shipping delays. Her struggles were with poverty, the early death of her mother, a father whose ill-treatment drove her from home, an abusive orphanage, and a desperate longing for love.
Fitzgerald had to be tough. This isn’t the kind of toughness we wish for anyone to need, but it’s the kind of toughness required of too many young women. Fitzgerald worked the crowds, overcame the embarrassment of her raggedy appearance, pressed on despite fear and nervousness, and rose to stardom. Share her tail of grit and glamour, illustrated in Sean Quall’s striking, cool-urban artwork, with ages 7 or 8 and up.
Posted in non-fiction, picture books, tagged astronomy, biographies, book reviews, children's literature, civil rights, Dolores Huerta, exploration, Girl Scouts, Henriette Leavitt, Juliette Gordon Low, migrant workers, native americans, picture books, Sacagawea, susan b. anthony, women in science, women's history month, women's rights on March 10, 2016| 2 Comments »
So many misconceptions about the frailty of women’s judgement, stamina, intellect have been invalidated over the years. What fallacies do you still encounter? Here are five more biographies to help set the record straight:
Elizabeth Started All the Trouble, by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Matt Faulkner
published in 2016 by Disney Hyperion
In 1840, Elizabeth Cady Stanton began her life-long fight for women’s rights. Organizing, writing, speaking, convening, she championed the cause, then passed the torch along to others, who inspired still others.
One of the most scandalous, divisive, hard-earned rights Stanton and her colleagues campaigned for was the right for women to vote! Ludicrous as it seems to us now, this was once an outrageous notion.
Doreen Rappaport traces a lively narrative of suffragists and trailblazers in this fantastic new book. Matt Faulkner’s riveting compositions are packed with strong personalities. Highly recommended for ages 6 and up.
Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer, by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Raúl Colón
published in 2013, a Paula Wiseman Book, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Henrietta Leavitt thirsted for understanding about the stars in an era when astronomy was a field reserved almost exclusively for men. Her opportunities for using the best equipment were limited by her gender. Instead, she was assigned tedious work as a virtual human computer.
But that did not stop her from painstakingly studying on her own, leading to a monumental discovery. Read the story of the woman who was said to have “the best mind at the Harvard Observatory.” Another beautiful collaboration by Burleigh and Colón. Ages 5 and up.
Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers, by Sarah Warren, illustrated by Robert Casilla
published in 2012 by Marshall Cavendish Children
Teacher, listener, friend. Organizer, defender, peacemaker. Dolores Huerta filled many roles in her work, campaigning on behalf of migrant workers in California.
Raise your awareness of the unjust treatment of farm laborers and your gratitude for the calloused hands that put food on your table with this warm account of Huerta’s groundbreaking work. Ages 4 and up.
Kidnapped at age 12 and transported far from home. Adapting to a new language and culture. Married off, age 16, to a Frenchman. Volunteered by that husband for a strenuous, treacherous journey to be undertaken while she carried, birthed, and nursed her first-born.
Sacagawea is the subject of many biographies but I love this one for its humanizing rather than mythologizing of her and the handsome, dignified paintings by Ponca artist Julie Buffalohead. Ages 4 and up.
Here Come the Girl Scouts: The Amazing All-true Story of Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low and Her Great Adventure, by Shana Corey, illustrated by Hadley Hooper
published in 2012 by Scholastic Press
Daisy was an adventurous soul from the time she was a small girl. As a young woman, she ditched dinner parties to go fishing and favored elephant riding to etiquette lessons.
At the age of 51, she launched the Girl Scout movement, championing a life of service, physical activity, conservation, respect, and full engagement in a juicy life for girls. Her story is fascinating, illustrated in a bold, jaunty style, peppered with Girl Scout maxims. A joyful treat for ages 5 and up.
Posted in non-fiction, picture books, tagged Anna May Wong, Asian-Americans, biographies, book reviews, children's literature, conservation, Cynthia Moss, elephants, Emma Lazarus, gender stereotypes, Kenya, Marie Tharp, oceanography, picture books, racial stereotyping, refugees, Sonia Sotomayor, Statue of Liberty, the Supreme Court, women in science, women's history month on March 4, 2016| 1 Comment »
March is Women’s History Month. I’m hoping to share some weekly lists on this subject all month long…we’ll see how time allows.
There are gobs of biographies already in the Orange Marmalade archives, so if you’re looking for ideas to celebrate the intelligence, creativity, passion, insight, kindness, skill, fortitude of women throughout history — check out the Subject Index.
Liberty’s Voice: The Story of Emma Lazarus, by Erica Silverman, illustrated by Stacey Schuett
published in 2011 by Dutton Children’s Books
I’ll open with the story of the poet who penned the lines engraved on the Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired,your poor
Your huddled masses yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
Given the xenophobic rhetoric being flung around our country today, it’s the perfect time to be reminded that this voice of altruism and refuge is what it looks like to be a great nation.
Read about Emma’s well-to-do upbringing in New York and her life-changing encounter with a flood of Jewish victims of violence in Russia seeking sanctuary in the U.S. Kaleidoscopic color infuses these pages making it a most appealing book to share with children ages 5 and up.
Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor, by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Raúl Colón
published in 2016, a Paula Wiseman Book, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
From early childhood, Marie Tharp loved maps. Certainly trotting about the country with her mapmaker father had something to do with that.
Tharp had to overcome gender stereotypes in order to pursue her love of science, then went on to pioneer the way in mapping the bottom of the world’s seas.
Such an intriguing pursuit! Her story is presented beautifully here by a talented, award-winning team. Ages 6 and up.
A Passion for Elephants: The Real Life Adventure of Field Scientist Cynthia Moss, by Toni Buzzeo, ill. by Holly Berry
published in 2015 by Dial Books for Young Readers
One of the highlights of my life involved watching elephants from the open veranda of a lodge in Tsavo National Park, Kenya. What a glory, elephants!
Cynthia Moss has spent a lifetime observing, learning about, and protecting these enormous creatures. Her story is vividly told and energetically illustrated here in this top-notch account. I really enjoyed this; a delightful choice for ages 4 and up.
Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story, by Paula Yoo, illustrated by Lin Wang
published in 2009 by Lee & Low Books
Anna May Wong grew up at the turn of the century, the daughter of Chinese immigrants in Los Angeles’s Chinatown. From the get go she was fascinated by drama, enamored with film stars, dreaming of starring in the movies herself.
Anna achieved her dream, but was humiliated by the industry’s treatment of Chinese-Americans. After years of taking roles tainted by negative stereotypes of Asians, Wong made a decision to buck the racist system. Read her thought-provoking story, a great follow-up to the discussions surrounding the Academy Awards. It’s long-ish — try it with ages 7 and up.
Women Who Broke the Rules: Sonia Sotomayor, by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Angela Dominguez
published in 2015 by Bloomsbury
Here’s another in the same series as Dolley Madison, which I reviewed for President’s Day.
Krull writes snappy biographies, moving us right along without bogging down, yet including vivid anecdotes that make these women human and approachable. Dominguez contributes friendly, warm illustrations that keep the pages welcoming.
Sotomayor had so many hurdles in life — an alcoholic father, juvenile diabetes, an impoverished life in the projects. But her nickname as a toddler was Little Pepper — so that tells you something! She needed all that spunk and drive to become the first Latino member of the Supreme Court. This is a 46-page bio for ages 8 and up.
Posted in early readers, fiction, non-fiction, picture books, tagged adventure stories, aesop, animals, band music, beginning chapter books, biographies, Bob Dylan, book reviews, Celestino Piatti, children's literature, fishing, friendship, happiness, imagination, Jim Arnosky, nature, nests, Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, picture books, saunas, school stories on July 20, 2015| 2 Comments »
what?! it’s a Dylan and Arnosky collaboration
Man Gave Names to All the Animals, lyrics by Bob Dylan, illustrations by Jim Arnosky
published in 2015 by Sterling Children’s Books
Bob Dylan’s 70’s folk song about the naming of the animals “in the beginning, in the beginning” is a catchy choice for young children. Upbeat. Rhythmic. Nice touches of humor.
Now the grandpapa of naturalist children’s lit, Jim Arnosky, has illustrated it with color-saturated pages depicting a multitude of animals and plants from around the world. More than 170 creatures crowd onto these few pages. A list of their names is included so you can work at identifying them all, with a link for clues if you need them.
Awesome collaboration, celebrating nature, and allowing you to introduce your kids to two exceptional artists. Ages 2 and up.
welcome back, Dory!!!
Dory and the Real True Friend, written and illustrated by Abby Hanlon
published in 2015 by Dial Books for Young Readers
I fell in love with Dory when Abby Hanlon introduced her to us last year. (Read my review of Dory Fantasmagory here.)
Now she’s back! In all her irrepressible, imagination-up-the-wazoo, no-filter self. Do you know a child like Dory? I know several, and I love their slightly out-of-control, fly’s-eye way of seeing the universe.
Find out what happens when Dory’s new school year starts and she meets a wondrous girl named Rosabelle! Never fear, Mrs. Gobble Gracker, Mr. Nuggy, and Mary are all back in this sequel, just right for stout, independent readers or for reading aloud to ages 5 and up. It does make more sense if you read the titles in order.
summertime…when the fish are jumping
Bear & Hare Go Fishing, written and illustrated by Emily Gravett
published in 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Emily Gravett is one of my favorite British author/illustrators. I prepare to smile any time I see her name on a book.
Bear and Hare are great friends. They’re off on a superb picnic and fishing outing. But crazy catches, mishaps and surprises are in store for these two! Loads of fun accompanied by warm, charming illustrations, for ages 2 and up.
because my grandparents were Swede-Finns!
The Best Part of a Sauna, by Sheryl Peterson, illustrated by Kelly Dupre
published in 2013 by Raven Publications
Finnish immigrants brought their sauna traditions with them to northern Minnesota, igniting a passion held by many; thousands of small saunas perch on the shores of our gorgeous, rocky lakes.
Coming from a small publishing house in Ely, Minnesota, this story gives a glimpse of the whole north woods sauna experience through the eyes of a little boy. Minnesota artist Kelly Dupre’s gorgeous, bold artwork accompanies this lovely, thoroughly Minnesotan story. Ages 3 and up.
a fascinating catalog of people
Extraordinary People: A Semi-Comprehensive Guide to Some of the World’s Most Fascinating Individuals, written by Michael Hearst, illustrated by Aaron Scamihorn
published in 2015 by Chronicle Books
Michael Hearst introduces 50 fascinating people from around the world, across time, spanning an incredible range of achievements, including a few whose “achievements” were extraordinarily bad. Each gets an inviting, stylish, two-page spread courtesy of designer Aaron Scamihorn. An outstanding, diverse book to peruse with kids ages 8 and up-up-up.
because you shouldn’t put off until tomorrow what you could do today…according to Aesop
The Grasshopper & the Ants, retold and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
published in 2015 by Little, Brown and Company
Award-winning illustrator Jerry Pinkney has tackled several of Aesop’s fables now, and each one is a masterpiece.
Enjoy this ancient tale of the busy ants and the procrastinating, live-for-the-moment grasshopper, while feasting your eyes on Jerry’s absolutely amazing artwork. Plus — don’t miss his intriguing Author’s Note, in which he directs your attention to one last piece of the story you might otherwise overlook. A beauty, for ages 2 and up.
an explosion of sound from someone I’d never heard of
Jubilee!: One Man’s Big, Bold, and Very, Very Loud Celebration of Peace, by Alicia Potter, illustrated by Matt Tavares
published in 2014 by Candlewick Press
I am betting that, like me, you have never heard of Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, a man John Philip Sousa hailed as “the Father of the American Band.”
As a bandleader, Gilmore was extremely fond of the huge sound he could get from amassing more than the usual number of instruments. He was also a fellow who dreamed huge dreams — and pulled them off. Read about an almost unbelievable musical spectacle that took place in Boston in 1869. A fascinating slice of American history for ages 6 and up. Handsomely illustrated, and including lengthy additional notes.
the surprising residents of nests
Whose Nest?: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Victoria Cochrane, illustrated by Guy Troughton
first published in the U.K.; published in the U.S. in 2013 by Insight Kids
Gorgeous watercolor paintings of eight nests, set in their natural surroundings, dominate the pages of this superb book for young children, ages 2 and up.
Each nest comes with a riddle, introducing its resident. Who could live here? Whose nest is it? Peek into the nest by opening the flaps and meet small creatures such as a dormouse or bumblebee, and others as massive as an eagle. Beautiful language, a welcome beckoning into the curiosities and delights of nature, and exceptional artwork.
so it’s adventure you want, eh?
Pigsticks and Harold and the Incredible Journey, written and illustrated by Alex Milway
first U.S. edition published in 2014 by Candlewick Press
Pigsticks is itching for adventure, and promptly seizes on a plan to travel to the Ends of the Earth. His first task is to hire a handy assistant to tote all the heavy baggage and prepare tasty meals. That turns out to be Harold the Hamster.
Together these two trek through jungles, cross deserts, climb mountains, meeting unexpected and formidable obstacles at every turn. Will they survive the journey? Will they locate the Ends of the Earth? And will Harold ever get to eat his favorite cake? Brilliant first chapter book, heavily illustrated in Milway’s snappy, humorous style. A blast for ages 5 and up.
A second Pigsticks installment is due out in the U.S. this Fall.
a lovely message from some truly wise owls
The Happy Owls, written and illustrated by Celestino Piatti
first English translation 1963, renewed in 1993 and 2013 by NorthSouth Books
Why are these two small owls so happy? Other birds want to know –the greedy ones and the vain ones who scrabble and preen.
Find out what brings such deep contentment to these little owlets — a simple and beautiful word for us all.
This story originated in 1895 with Dutch author/artist Theo van Hoijtema. It was translated into German, and then illustrated in 1963 by Swiss designer Piatti, with his gorgeous, bold lines, patterns, and colors. I wish I could show you every image! A striking book with a lovely message for ages 3 and up.
Posted in non-fiction, picture books, tagged appalachia, art, biographies, blindness, bluegrass, book reviews, children's literature, doc watson, guitar, mary nohl, music, picture books, sculpture, wisconsin on May 13, 2015| Leave a Comment »