An Award-Winning Book Club for Kids
Shop Now

Biographies

Share this list
The Crayon Man book
7.0
Add to list
The Crayon Man
Written by Natascha Biebow & illustrated by Steven Salerno
Thoughts from Children's Lit Love
Do your kids enjoy nonfiction books? My children do not (yet) pore over books filled with facts, photography, maps, charts, or information! They will, however, listen to informational texts written in narrative form on repeat. In fact, while we were FaceTiming my parents yesterday, my older daughter held up The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons and announced that it is her favorite book (and then walked them through every page inside...). Read on to see why we love this one so much! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ First and foremost, both of our daughters connect deeply to the subject. While they like animals, they don't want to look at books about animals. But, give my children Crayola products and they'll likely be happy for a good long time. I assumed based on the title The Crayon Man that this was a picture book biography about the man who invented crayons. However, this story is much less about the man and much more the subtitle, The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons. I have a feeling many young children will connect deeply to a text about Crayola products! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Secondly, The Crayon Man is very well-written and easy for young audiences to either read or listen to. Biebow keeps the text on each page relatively short and moves along quickly, keeping children's attention. She has also scattered 9 informational boxes throughout the narrative story, but even these are snippets of background facts, stopping short of overwhelming the narrative. She also includes a spread on "How Crayola Crayons Are Made Today," as well as a page of biographical information about the inventor and a full page of resources. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Lastly, Salerno uses color to give viewers a deeper understanding of how what may seem like such a simple invention truly changed children's lives. And, the hidden details in Salerno's illustrations are fascinating.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Celebrating the inventor of the Crayola crayon! This gloriously illustrated picture book biography tells the inspiring story of Edwin Binney, the inventor of one of the world’s most beloved toys. A perfect fit among favorites like The Day the Crayons Quit and Balloons Over Broadway. purple mountains’ majesty, mauvelous, jungle green, razzmatazz… What child doesn’t love to hold a crayon in their hands? But children didn’t always have such magical boxes of crayons. Before Edwin Binney set out to change things, children couldn’t really even draw in color. Here’s the true story of an inventor who so loved nature’s vibrant colors that he found a way to bring the outside world to children – in a bright green box for only a nickel! With experimentation, and a special knack for listening, Edwin Binney and his dynamic team at Crayola created one of the world’s most enduring, best-loved childhood toys – empowering children to dream in COLOR!

Buy book
$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$14.39
Used $9.61
Prices as of Jan 16
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers book
7.0
Add to list
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
Written & illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein
Thoughts from Children's Lit Love
I bought this book during one of my very first Mock Caldecott units more than 10 years ago, because it’s an excellent example of perspective in illustration. I kept it because my students, and now my children, love the story. It’s much more about a tightroper who actually tight-roped between the towers of the World Trade Center than it is about 9/11, but Gerstein does include a short tribute to the Towers that no longer exist in our world, except in our memories. This tribute has opened doors for our older daughter to ask questions about the Towers and why they’re no longer there. Though we read this year-round with our children, not just to start dialogue about 9/11, I love this as a conversation-starter this time of year. Recommended for ages 5-8, but can definitely be used younger and older.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A lyrical evocation of Philippe Petit’s 1974 tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers.

Buy book
$18.99
Bookshop
$16.14
Amazon
$9.69
Used $-1.62
Prices as of Jan 16
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read book
6.8
Add to list
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read
Written by Rita Lorraine Hubbard & illustrated by Oge Mora
Thoughts from Children's Lit Love
Y’all, this one is so inspiring! Born into slavery, Mary was freed at age 15 but chose to stay in the South. After outliving her family at age 114, Mary Walker decided to learn to read! According to Hubbard, every year on her birthday, Mary would read out loud to her gathering of friends, and then proclaim, “You’re never too old to learn.” Thank you, Mary! Ages 4-8.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Imagine learning to read at the age of 116! Discover the true story of Mary Walker, the nation’s oldest student who did just that, in this picture book from a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator and a rising star author.

In 1848, Mary Walker was born into slavery. At age 15, she was freed, and by age 20, she was married and had her first child. By age 68, she had worked numerous jobs, including cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and selling sandwiches to raise money for her church. At 114, she was the last remaining member of her family. And at 116, she learned to read. From Rita Lorraine Hubbard and rising star Oge More comes the inspirational story of Mary Walker, a woman whose long life spanned from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, and who–with perseverance and dedication–proved that you’re never too old to learn.

Buy book
$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$14.47
Used $12.17
Prices as of Jan 16
Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain book
6.5
Add to list
Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain
Written by Cheryl Bardoe & illustrated by Barbara McClintock
Thoughts from Children's Lit Love
Resilience is even built into the title of this picture book biography! Sophie Germain grew up in the late 18th century, when education was rare for women, especially women who wanted to become mathematicians. Undaunted, Germain doggedly and quietly persevered through her studies, despite obstacle after obstacle, to discover many mathematical breakthroughs and pave the way for future girls and women to be able to become mathematicians. Ages 4-8.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
The true story of eighteenth-century mathematician Sophie Germain, who solved the unsolvable to achieve her dream.
Buy book
$18.99
Bookshop
$16.14
Amazon
$14.99
Used $8.79
Prices as of Jan 16
Malala's Magic Pencil book
6.3
Add to list
Malala's Magic Pencil
Written by Malala Yousafzai & illustrated by Kerascoet
Thoughts from Children's Lit Love
You likely know Malala and her story, but have you taught your children about Malala and her courage? I love that Yousafzai and Kerascoët bring us a very accessible, age-appropriate story of this amazingly courageous role model and her experiences! Ages 5-8.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Malala’s first picture book will inspire young readers everywhere to find the magic all around them. As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true. This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala’s story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times.

Buy book
$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$13.74
Used $2.07
Prices as of Jan 16
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
  • Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah - Children's Lit Love -

    Emmanuel’s story is both true and absolutely remarkable! When he was born with one deformed leg in Ghana, most people wrote him off, but not his mother, who encouraged him to dream big and work hard to make those dreams come true. School was more than 2 miles away, yet Emmanuel’s got there every day… by foot! He also learned to play soccer and eventually cycled across Ghana to raise awareness that disability is not inability. Have I sold you on his story yet???

  • Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote - Children's Lit Love -

    From the endpapers to the introductory story to the spreads, this one is just delightful! Senator Gillibrand has struck a terrific balance of well-known women’s rights heroes such as Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth, but she also includes women I personally had never heard of, such as Jovita Idár and Lucy Burns. The “Quick Walk Through American History: Exploring How Women Have Shaped Our Nation” also includes important contributions by women in a variety of fields across centuries, from Phillis Wheatley to Maya Lin and many, many more in between. Ages 6-9.

  • Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage - Children's Lit Love -

    Did you know that a mere 53 years ago, interracial marriage was still illegal in 5 states? Not only was interracial marriage illegal, but if an interracial couple married somewhere legally (say Washington, D.C.), and then moved somewhere where it was illegal (say Virginia), then they faced the very real possibility of being arrested. The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage, by Selina Alko, illustrated by Alko and Sean Qualls, tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving’s fight for legal marriage and the ensuing Supreme Court Case Loving v. Virginia (1967) which legalized interracial marriage. I have been meaning to post this book all summer (after all, June 12, or Loving Day, represents the Lovings’ love, this wonderful Supreme Court decision, and love that we can all show each other), but better late than never, right? Rather than a big in-depth review, I’m going to leave you with two quick facts about why you should read this insightful book and learn along with your children about Loving v. Virginia. 1. My 4.5-year-old daughter is obsessed with this book. Without exaggeration, she flips through this book on her own every single day and asks me to read it to her most days. She tells me she loves Richard and Mildred’s story and how happy it was, as well as the illustrations. She obviously has no understanding of how recent these events were, but I’m thrilled that she’s learning about this aspect of the fight for equality. 2. Alko and Qualls, the author and illustrators, are an interracial couple happily married in 2003, living out the legacy of the Lovings’ victory. I thank them for sharing their story and for educating us all on the Lovings’ story, helping both adults and children gain a better understanding of both racism and injustice in our not-so-long-ago history. Take my word on this one and read it with your children. You’re all going to love it!

  • Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington - Children's Lit Love -

    Many of us know Booker T. Washington as the founder of Tuskegee Institute, but until I read this picture book biography, I knew little about how childhood or the resilience he showed on his path to education. Born into slavery, learning to read despite risk of punishment, walking 500 miles for an education, working his way through school to pay for it… Talk about overcoming hardship! Collier’s illustrations are, as always, rich, detailed, and full of emotion, drawing us right into Washington’s life.

Add to list
Jesse Owens
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Jesse Owens, the great track and field star.

The youngest of ten children, Jesse grew up working in the cotton fields of Alabama. Discovered by his high school track and field coach, Jesse quickly rose to fame as an athlete. He went on the challenge racism on the world stage at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and made new world records. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the athlete and activist’s life.

Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardcover versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Paper dolls, learning cards, matching games, and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children.

Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!

Buy book
$15.99
Bookshop
$13.59
Amazon
$13.46
Used $8.81
Prices as of Jan 16
Snowflake Bentley book
4.0
Add to list
Snowflake Bentley
Written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin & illustrated by Mary Azarian
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“Of all the forms of water the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied.” – Wilson Bentley (1865-1931)

From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley’s enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist’s vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. Snowflake Bentley won the 1999 Caldecott Medal.

Buy book
$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$14.62
Used $3.46
Prices as of Jan 16