Based On A True Story: Books For Kids

So You Want to be President? book
#1
So You Want to be President?
Written by Judith St. George and illustrated by David Small
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

This new version of the Caldecott-winning classic by illustrator David Small and author Judith St. George is updated with current facts and new illustrations to include our forty-second president, George W. Bush. There are now three Georges in the catalog of presidential names, a Bush alongside the presidential family tree, and a new face on the endpaper portraiture. Hilariously illustrated by Small, this celebration by St. George shows us the foibles, quirks and humanity of forty-two men who have risen to one of the most powerful positions in the world. Perfect for this election year–and every year!

Mary Wears What She Wants book
#2
Mary Wears What She Wants
Written and illustrated by Keith Negley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Once upon a time (but not too long ago), girls only wore dresses. And only boys wore pants. Until one day, a young girl named Mary had a bold idea: She would wear whatever she wanted. And she wanted to wear pants! Inspired by the true story of Mary Edwards Walker, a trailblazing doctor who was arrested many times for wearing pants, this fresh, charming picture book encourages readers to think for themselves while gently challenging gender and societal norms.

Ferdinand Magellan (Little Guides to Great Lives) book
#3
Ferdinand Magellan (Little Guides to Great Lives)
Written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Dalia Adillon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-11

Explorer, sailor, and navigator, Ferdinand Magellan led the first expedition to sail all the way around the world. He encountered lands and creatures that he could never have imagined, and the journey was fraught with danger and difficulty…

Join Magellan’s amazing adventure in this colorful guide, encountering mutineers and monsters along the way!

From artists to aviators and scientists to revolutionaries, Little Guides to Great Lives is a brand new series of small-format guides introducing children to the most inspirational figures from history in a fun, accessible way.

September Roses book
#4
September Roses
Written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-12

A tribute to the memory of September 11

On September 11, 2001, two sisters from South Africa are flying to New York City with 2,400 roses to be displayed at a flower show. As their plane approaches the airport, a cloud of black smoke billows over the Manhattan skyline. When they land, they learn of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. All flights are canceled; the sisters cannot go home, and they are stranded with boxes and boxes of roses.

In the days that followed September 11, Jeanette Winter was drawn to Union Square and saw, among the hundreds of memorial offerings, twin towers made of roses. In the pages of this small and vibrant book, she tells a moving story.

The Glorious Flight book
#5
The Glorious Flight
Written and illustrated by Martin Provensen and Alice Provensen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Winner of the Caldecott Medal, this stunningly illustrated book depicts Louis Bleriot’s historic first cross-Channel flight.

“Factually accurate, yes-but also a witty pictorial reincarnation of Bleriot’s first experience of an airship”—Kirkus Reviews

  1. Guitar Genius - This is the story of how Les Paul created the world’s first solid- body electric guitar, countless other inventions that changed modern music, and one truly epic career in rock and roll. How to make a microphone? A broomstick, a cinderblock, a telephone, a radio. How to make an electric guitar? A record player’s arm, a speaker, some tape. How to make a legendary inventor? A few tools, a lot of curiosity, and an endless faith in what is possible. Featuring richly detailed, dynamic illustrations by Brett Helquist, this unforgettable biography will resonate with inventive readers young and old.

  2. Little Feminist Picture Book - Celebrate 25 amazing women throughout history with Mudpuppy’s Little Feminist Picture Book. With easy to process words by Yelena Moroz Alpert and colorful illustrations by Lydia Ortiz and Patrick Rafanan, this book is the perfect way to introduce young children to these inspiring women. Features artists, scientists, politicians, athletes and much more!

    • 52 pages
    • Book Trim: 9.25 x 9.25’’
    • Hardcover with soft-touch finish

  3. Anne Frank (Little Guides to Great Lives) - Anne Frank was an ordinary girl living in extraordinary times. Forced to go into hiding to escape the Nazis’ persecution of Jews in World War II, Anne kept a diary that would become one of the most famous books in the world. Meet one of history’s most inspiring figures in this beautifully-illustrated guide to her amazing life. From artists to aviators and scientists to revolutionaries, Little Guides to Great Lives is a brand new series of small-format guides introducing children to the most inspirational figures from history in a fun, accessible way.

  4. Juliane's Story - This is the real-life story of 12-year-old refugee Juliane. At 3 years old, Juliane was separated from her mother due to the violence in her country of Zimbabwe. Told in Juliane’s own words, the story tells of her fear and isolation growing up in an orphanage, how she was reunited with her mother, and how the two of them fled to another country to establish a new life together.

Audrey Hepburn book
#10
Audrey Hepburn
Written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara and illustrated by Amaia Arrazola
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

This board book version of Audrey Hepburn—an international bestseller from the beloved Little People, BIG DREAMS series—introduces the youngest dreamers to this iconic Hollywood movie star.

Audrey Hepburn grew up in Arnhem in the Netherlands. After living through the hardships of World War Two, she moved to study ballet in London. She went on to star in plays and films, eventually becoming one of the most iconic actresses of all time. Babies and toddlers will love to snuggle as you read to them the engaging story of this fascinating star, and will also enjoy exploring the stylish and quirky illustrations of this sturdy board book on their own.

Little Guides to Great Lives: Stephen Hawking book
#11
Little Guides to Great Lives: Stephen Hawking
Written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Marianna Madriz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-11

Stephen Hawking was one of the world’s most famous scientists. His ground-breaking research into black holes and the Big Bang has helped to explain the beginnings of our universe and his book A Brief History of Time has sold over 10 million copies. Diagnosed with a form of motor neurone disease when he was a young man, Stephen was inspired to achieve his goals as fast as possible. Through incredible determination and skill, he became a legendary scientist, a best-selling author, and the man that changed the way we think about the universe.

The House That Jane Built book
#12
The House That Jane Built
Written by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Kathryn Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

This is the story of Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, who transformed a poor neighborhood in Chicago by opening up her house as a community center.

A Life Made by Hand book
#13
A Life Made by Hand
Written and illustrated by Andrea D'Aquino
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Ruth Asawa (1926-2013) was an influential and award-winning sculptor, a beloved figure in the Bay Area art world, and a devoted activist who advocated tirelessly for arts education. This lushly illustrated book by collage artist Andrea D’Aquino brings Asawa’s creative journey to life, detailing the influence of her childhood in a farming family, and her education at Black Mountain College where she pursued an experimental course of education with leading avant-garde artists and thinkers such as Anni and Josef Albers, Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, and Robert Rauschenberg. Delightful and substantial, this engaging title for young art lovers includes a page of teaching tools for parents and educators.

The Unabomber book
#14
The Unabomber
Written by Bryan Denson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A new true-crime series that follows FBI agents behind the scenes as they work to keep Americans safe.

A case of homegrown terrorism: the Unabomber. Agent Kathleen Puckett was a successful linguist and a highly trained psychologist before she was recruited for the UNABOMB investigation. The Unabomber had evaded capture for 17 years, carried out 13 bombings, and killed three men. Agent Puckett was a catalyst in understanding the psychology behind the Unabomber crimes. She led the team to make the arrest of Theodore Kaczynski on April 4, 1996, bringing down one of the most notorious domestic terrorists in American history.

  1. Little Guides to Great Lives: Amelia Earhart - The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart was a superstar of aviation in the 1920s and 1930s and a pioneer of women’s rights. Her disappearance in 1937, while attempting to fly around the world, remains an unsolved mystery. From artists to aviators and scientists to revolutionaries, Little Guides to Great Lives is a brand new series of small-format guides introducing children to the most inspirational figures from history in a fun, accessible way. Launching with Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Nelson Mandela, and Amelia Earhart, Little Guides to Great Lives tells the stories of the most amazing people from all over the world and across history, with full-color illustrations and fresh design to bring their incredible stories to life.

  2. Little Guides to Great Lives: Maya Angelou - Maya Angelou was an African-American author, poet, playwright, and civil rights activist. She wrote seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and a long list of plays, movies, and television shows. Never taking ‘No’ for an answer, Maya used her voice and her art to overcome prejudice and difficulty and to become an inspiration to those around her and to future generations.

  3. King of the Tightrope - In 1859, Jean-Francois Gravelet, known as The Great Blondin, walked across the Niagara River on a tightrope. What kind of man would do something like that? And more importantly, how do you become that man? At the age of four, Jean-Francois Gravelet walked across his first balance beam. Later, he took to the tightrope like a spider to its web, and with his family troupe, he climbed toward stardom. Though his feats became more and more marvelous, he grew bored. That is, until he visited Niagara Falls and imagined doing something that no one else had ever accomplished. To cross the raging river, The Great Blondin needed an engineering process, determination, and a belief that what he could imagine, he could accomplish. In 1859, with all of the work completed, Blondin would step out onto the most dangerous tightrope walk he’d ever faced. Author Donna Janell Bowman’s trademark in-depth research gives readers a clear and exciting look into the accomplishments of The Great Blondin, as well as the hard work, determination, and meticulous mathematic and scientific planning it took to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Adam Gustavson’s detailed illustrations turn this book into an experience that will inspire readers of all ages.

  4. Little Guides to Great Lives: Charles Darwin - Charles Darwin’s ideas about evolution caused both outrage and wonder, and quickly made him one of the most famous men in history. From his five-year voyage across the high seas to 20 years of research, follow Darwin on his adventure to prove a theory that would change the world. Little Guides to Great Lives is a brand new series of small-format guides introducing children to the most inspirational figures from history in a fun, accessible way. From Curie to Kahlo and Darwin to Da Vinci, Little Guides to Great Lives tells the stories of the most amazing people from all over the world and across history, with colorful illustrations and fresh design to bring their incredible stories to life.

Everest: The Remarkable Story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay book
#19
Everest: The Remarkable Story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay
Written and illustrated by Alexandra Stewart
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The first illustrated telling of the Everest story that equally features Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.

On the morning of May 29, 1953, the sun was shining brightly and a gentle breeze was blowing on the highest elevation of the world—and for the first time ever, people were there to witness it. Their names were Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, and they had ascended Everest. This is the breathtaking story of how these two men battled frost- biting temperatures, tumbling ice rocks, powerful winds, and death-defying ridges to reach the top of the world’s highest mountain.

Combining fresh and contemporary illustrations by Joe Todd-Stanton with Alexandra Stewart’s action-packed text, this unique narrative tells the complete stories of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay—from their births right up through their final days—and the lasting impact they’ve had on the world.

Titan and the Wild Boars book
#20
Titan and the Wild Boars
Written by Pathana Sornhiran and Susan Hood and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Don’t miss the breathtaking true story of the international rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand! One afternoon, eleven-year-old Titan, his friends from the Wild Boars soccer team, and their coach rode their bikes to explore local caves. They crawled through the narrow tunnels in the dark to reach the center of the cave. When they turned to go home, heavy rains had flooded the tunnel. They were trapped! With rising waters and monsoon season upon them, time and oxygen were running out. The world watched with bated breath as rescuers from around the globe joined forces to try to free the boys. After eighteen harrowing days, in an unprecedented effort of international teamwork, they were finally saved. Award-winning author Susan Hood and journalist Pathana Sornhiran based this picture book on Sornhiran’s first-hand reporting of the event, and Dow Phumiruk’s beautiful illustrations bring the story to life. The book also includes a timeline and back matter with additional resources.

My Shot book
#21
My Shot
Written and illustrated by Elena Delle Donne
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“Elena is one of the brightest stars in our game today and an iconic role model.” —Lisa M. Borders, WNBA President “Inspiring in many ways.” —Kirkus Reviews

Elena Delle Donne, 2015 WNBA MVP and 2016 Olympic gold medalist, shares her inspirational story of being a young basketball prodigy who gave up an impressive basketball scholarship for family and self-discovery.

Girl Running book
#22
Girl Running
Written by Annette Bay Pimentel and illustrated by Micha Archer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
  • “A bright salutation of a story, with one determined woman at its center.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

The inspiring story of the first female to run the Boston Marathon comes to life in stunningly vivid collage illustrations.

Because Bobbi Gibb is a girl, she’s not allowed to run on her school’s track team. But after school, no one can stop her—and she’s free to run endless miles to her heart’s content. She is told no yet again when she tries to enter the Boston Marathon in 1966, because the officials claim that it’s a man’s race and that women are just not capable of running such a long distance. So what does Bobbi do? She bravely sets out to prove the naysayers wrong and show the world just what a girl can do.

Up in the Leaves book
#23
Up in the Leaves
Written by Shira Boss and illustrated by Jamey Christoph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Bob does not like the noisy, crowded streets and school hallways of his New York City home, so he decides to build a tree house in the cool, green calm of Central Park. Includes a note about the real Bob Redman.

  1. Guts & Glory: The American Civil War - From courageous cavalry rides deep into enemy territory to harrowing covert missions undertaken by spies and soldiers, the events of the American Civil War were filled with daring figures and amazing feats. This exhilarating overview covers the biggest battles as well as captivating lesser-known moments to entertain kids with unbelievable (and totally true) tales of one of America’s most fascinating conflicts. History buff, Civil War reenactor, and popular blogger Ben Thompson uses his extensive knowledge and vivid storytelling style to bring the Civil War to life in this first book in a thrilling new series featuring incredible people, events, and civilizations. Get ready to learn just how awesome history can be!

  2. Thomas Jefferson - Renowned artist Maira Kalman sheds light on the fascinating life and interests of the Renaissance man who was our third president. Thomas Jefferson is perhaps best known for writing the Declaration of Independence—but there’s so much more to discover. This energetic man was interested in everything. He played violin, spoke seven languages and was a scientist, naturalist, botanist, mathematician and architect. He designed his magnificent home, Monticello, which is full of objects he collected from around the world. Our first foodie, he grew over fifteen kinds of peas and advocated a mostly vegetarian diet. And oh yes, as our third president, he doubled the size of the United States and sent Lewis and Clark to explore it. He also started the Library of Congress and said, “I cannot live without books.” But monumental figures can have monumental flaws, and Jefferson was no exception. Although he called slavery an “abomination,” he owned about 150 slaves. As she did in Looking at Lincoln, Maira Kalman shares a president’s remarkable, complicated life with young readers, making history come alive with her captivating text and stunning illustrations.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!