Get to know some of the icons and famous figures throughout history through these top books about famous people! Your little ones will learn about some of the world’s popular movie stars, musicians, activists, and creators. With this wide variety of people who have led prominent lives, your kids will learn to dream big and follow their hearts!
Through My Eyes - Ruby Bridges recounts the story of her involvement, as a six-year-old, in the integration of her school in New Orleans in 1960.
Twelve Rounds to Glory - A brief biography in verse of boxer Muhammad Ali.
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - This picture book biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. brings his life and the profound nature of his message to young children through his own words. Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of the most influential and gifted speakers of all time. Doreen Rappaport uses quotes from some of his most beloved speeches to tell the story of his life and his work in a simple, direct way. Bryan Collier’s stunning collage art combines remarkable watercolor pain
Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe - Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. On the outside, you couldn’t find two girls who looked more different. But on the inside, they were alike—full of hopes and dreams and plans of what might be. Ella Fitzgerald’s velvety tones and shube-doobie-doos captivated audiences. Jazz greats like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington couldn’t wait to share the stage with her, but still, Ella could not book a performance at one of the biggest clubs in town—one she knew would give her career its biggest break yet. Marilyn Monroe dazzled on the silver screen with her baby blue eyes and breathy boo-boo-be-doos. But when she asked for better scripts, a choice in who she worked with, and a higher salary, studio bosses refused. Two women whose voices weren’t being heard. Two women chasing after their dreams and each helping the other to achieve them. This is the inspiring, true story of two incredibly talented women who came together to help each other shine like the stars that they are.
Want to see books about African Americans?
Hard Work, but It's Worth It: The Life of Jimmy Carter - The first picture book about the inspiring life of humanitarian Jimmy Carter, the thirty-ninth president of the United States and a Nobel Prize winner—from Alabama Spitfire author Bethany Hegedus. Even before Jimmy Carter became president, he knew the value of hard work. Living on his family’s peanut farm, Jimmy saw how hard work yielded strong results. At least it did for some people. But growing up in the segregated South, Jimmy also saw firsthand how white people and black people were not treated equally. None of it was right. None of it was fair. So Jimmy created a list of Good Mental Habits to help him navigate life’s challenges. The list guided his thoughts and actions and helped him fight for change, whether working with civil rights leaders to end racial discrimination in his home state of Georgia, helping to negotiate peace in the Middle East, or building homes for the poor through Habitat for Humanity. From the statehouse to the White House and beyond, Jimmy has worked to make change for all people, devoting decades to public service and becoming one of the most respected humanitarians of our time. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.
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.
Want to see books about activism?
Becoming Kareem - In his first memoir written especially for young readers, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will focus on his relationships with several important coaches in his life - including his father, his high-school coach and Coach Wooden - as he tells the story of his life and career. Like many kids in elementary school, Kareem (then Lew Alcindor) struggled with fitting in, pleasing a strict father, and severe shyness that made him socially awkward. Unlike most kids, he also had to grapple with a sudden growth spurt that shot him up taller than pretty much everyone around him, including students, teachers, and even his own father. His increasing fame as a basketball player throughout high school brought new challenges as this shy boy was shoved into the national spotlight. At the same time, social unrest in the country, particularly involving the growing civil rights movement, tugged at his conscience as he tried to find his place in it. After all, he was just a kid. What could he do? Recruited to UCLA, his fame as an unstoppable center made him a college superstar. But as his fame rose, so did the social turmoil in the country: Vietnam War protests, Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., large-scale riots, the Women’s Movement. He could have hidden from all the turmoil as a sports celebrity, but he chose to join in the social evolution. The result was converting to Islam and changing his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The public backlash was blistering, but he didn’t waver.
Fantastic Failures - Even the most well-known people have struggled to succeed! Find out what they learned and how they turned their failures into triumphs with this engaging and youthful guide on how to succeed long term. There is a lot of pressure in today’s society to succeed, but failing is a part of learning how to be a successful person. In his teaching career, Luke Reynolds saw the stress and anxiety his students suffered over grades, fitting in, and getting things right the first time. Fantastic Failures helps students learn that their mistakes and failures do not define their whole lives, but help them grow into their potential. Kids will love learning about some of the well-known people who failed before succeeding and will come to understand that failure is a large component of success. With stories from people like J. K. Rowling, Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Sonia Sotomayor, Vincent Van Gogh, Julia Child, Steven Spielberg, and Betsy Johnson, each profile proves that the greatest mistakes and flops can turn into something amazing. Intermixed throughout the fun profiles, Reynolds spotlights great inventors and scientists who discovered and created some of the most important medicines, devices, and concepts of all time, including lifesaving vaccines and medicines that were stumbled upon by mistake.
Hedy Lamarr's Double Life - To her adoring public, Hedy Lamarr was a glamorous movie star. But in private, she was something more: a brilliant inventor. Now Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu, who collaborated on Sterling’s critically acclaimed picture-book biography Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code, tell the inspiring story of how, during World War Two, Lamarr developed a groundbreaking communications system that still remains essential to the security of today’s technology.
Just Like Rube Goldberg - Discover how Rube Goldberg followed his dreams to become an award-winning cartoonist, inventor, and even an adjective in the dictionary in this inspiring and funny biographical picture book. Want to become an award-winning cartoonist and inventor? Follow your dreams, just like Rube Goldberg! From a young age, Rube Goldberg had a talent for art. But his father, a German immigrant, wanted Rube to have a secure job. So, Rube went to college and became an engineer. But Rube didn’t want to spend his life mapping sewer pipes. He wanted to follow his passion, so Rube got a low-level job at a newspaper, and from there, he worked his way up, creating cartoons that made people laugh and tickled the imagination. He became known for his fantastic Rube Goldberg machines—complicated contraptions with many parts that performed a simple task in an elaborate and farfetched way. Eventually, his cartoons earned him a Pulitzer Prize and his own adjective in the dictionary. This moving biography is sure to encourage young artists and inventors to pursue their passions.
Fly High, John Glenn: The Story of an American Hero - The inspiring, deeply patriotic true story of John Glenn, a true hero who not only changed America’s contribution to space exploration but also spent his life proudly serving his country in many ways. This is a gorgeous picture book to introduce younger readers to John Glenn, from award-winning author Kathleen Krull and illustrator Maurizio A. C. Quarello. John Glenn wasn’t just the first American to orbit Earth. He was a family man, a soldier, a United States senator, and a national hero. He laid the groundwork for future star voyagers—and dreamers—everywhere. From the time he was a child, John Glenn loved flying. Later he did so by flying airplanes for the U.S. military, and then when space travel became a possibility, he trained for years to become an astronaut. John had to push his mind and body to the brink. But he loved his country more than anything and wanted to serve—including flying into the great unknown.
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.
Want to see books about technology?
On a Beam of Light - Follows the life of the famous physicist, from his early ideas to his groundbreaking theories.
Stephen Hawking (Little People, BIG DREAMS) - When Stephen Hawking was a little boy, he used to stare up at the stars and wonder about the universe. Although he was never top of the class, his curiosity took him to the best universities in England: Oxford and Cambridge. It also led him to make one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the 20th century: Hawking radiation. 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 brilliant physicist’s life.
When Bill Gates Memorized an Encyclopedia - Bill Gates is known as the richest man in the world. But do you know what he was like as a child? From selling peanuts to memorizing entire encyclopedias, Bill used his brain. This playful story of his childhood will help young readers connect with a historic figure and will inspire them to want to achieve greatness.
I Am Albert Einstein - Presents the life of the world-renowned German scientist, describing how his life-long curiosity and ability to question accepted theories led him to develop his famous theory of relatvitiy and win the Noble Prize for Physics.
Want to see books about science and technology?
Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment - When Parker Curry came face-to-face with Amy Sherald’s transcendent portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery, she didn’t just see the First Lady of the United States. She saw a queen—one with dynamic self-assurance, regality, beauty, and truth who captured this young girl’s imagination. When a nearby museum-goer snapped a photo of a mesmerized Parker, it became an internet sensation. Inspired by this visit, Parker, and her mother, Jessica Curry, tell the story of a young girl and her family, whose trip to a museum becomes an extraordinary moment, in a moving picture book. Parker Looks Up follows Parker, along with her baby sister and her mother, and her best friend Gia and Gia’s mother, as they walk the halls of a museum, seeing paintings of everyone and everything from George Washington Carver to Frida Kahlo, exotic flowers to graceful ballerinas. Then, Parker walks by Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama…and almost passes it. But she stops…and looks up! Parker saw the possibility and promise, the hopes and dreams of herself in this powerful painting of Michelle Obama. An everyday moment became an extraordinary one…that continues to resonate its power, inspiration, and indelible impact. Because, as Jessica Curry said, “anything is possible regardless of race, class, or gender.” FOREWORD BY ARTIST AMY SHERALD
Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit - “An exceptionally accurate portrait of Beatrix Potter told with humor and surprise. Beautifully done.” Linda Lear, author of Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature Through she’s universally known as the creator of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter did so much more. This is the true story about how she helped save the English countryside! Growing up in London, Beatrix Potter felt the restraints of Victorian times. Girls didn’t go to school and weren’t expected to work. But she longed to do something important, something that truly mattered. As Beatrix spent her summers in the country and found inspiration in nature, it was through this passion that her creativity flourished. There, she crafted The Tale of Peter Rabbit. She would eventually move to the countryside full-time, but developers sought to change the land. To save it, Beatrix used the money from the success of her books and bought acres and acres of land and farms to prevent the development of the countryside that both she and Peter Rabbit so cherished. Because of her efforts, it’s been preserved just as she left it. This beautiful picture book shines a light on Beatrix Potter’s lesser-known history and her desire to do something for the greater good.
The Tale of Three Trees - Once upon a mountaintop, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. Each of their dreams come true in an unexpected way in this lovely retelling of an old folk tale. This Lion classic, beloved by young and old, is now retold in simpler text for younger readers.
Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale - That cold winter’s night, beneath the star’s light… …a Little One came for the world.
Christmas in the Manger - The gentle beauty of the story of the first Christmas is now available as a board book. With a simple, lyrical text and radiant artwork, this book is perfect for the youngest child to be a part of the wonder of the Nativity.
The First Christmas Night - A lyrical retelling of the birth of Christ, told as an adaptation of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” follows the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus, the angels’ appearance to the shepherds and the visit by the Wise Men.
The Youngest Marcher - Meet the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963, in this moving picture book that proves you’re never too little to make a difference. Nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks intended to go places and do things like anybody else. So when she heard grown-ups talk about wiping out Birmingham’s segregation laws, she spoke up. As she listened to the preacher’s words, smooth as glass, she sat up tall. And when she heard the plan—picket those white stores! March to protest those unfair laws! Fill the jails!—she stepped right up and said, I’ll do it! She was going to j-a-a-il! Audrey Faye Hendricks was confident and bold and brave as can be, and hers is the remarkable and inspiring story of one child’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.
A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr - A brief biography of Baptist minister and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
Love Will See You Through - The niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. reveals six timeless and universal principles that encompass the civil rights leader’s greatest legacy: Love will see you through. Growing up as the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Farris Watkins witnessed firsthand the principles and values that “Uncle M.L.” practiced and lived by throughout his fight for equality. Drawing from experiences and episodes both personal and well-known, Dr. Watkins artfully details the guiding beliefs of one of the greatest men in history. Including “have courage” and “love your enemies,” these six hallmarks of virtue and nonviolence reinforce the truth that “the universe honors love” and will inspire readers of all ages.
Want to see 14 more books about famous people and Martin Luther King, Jr. ?
How about books about Martin Luther King, Jr.?
Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin - What would you do if you lived in a community without a library, hospital, post office, or fire department? If you were Benjamin Franklin, you’d set up these organizations yourself. Franklin also designed the lightning rod, suggested the idea of daylight savings time, and invented bifocals-all inspired by his common sense and intelligence. In this informative book, Gene Barretta brings Benjamin Franklin’s genius to life, deepening our appreciation for one of the most influential figures in American history.
Electric Ben - A true Renaissance man, Benjamin Franklin was the first American celebrity. In pictures and text, master artist Robert Byrd documents Franklin’s numerous and diverse accomplishments, from framing the Constitution to creating bifocals. The witty, wise, and endlessly curious Franklin is the perfect subject for Byrd’s lively style and vibrant art. The pages pulse with facts, quotes, and captions, while the inventive design and intricately detailed illustrations make a striking tribute to the brilliant American.
Cheer Up, Ben Franklin! - Can this Founding Father find a friend? Introducing a new board-book series perfect for even the youngest historian! Ben Franklin is sad.No one has time to fly kites with him today.Betsy Ross is busy sewing a flag.Alexander Hamilton is busy counting money…Will things change for Ben when he reaches Independence Hall?The first volume of this new board-book series takes a tongue-in-cheek look at American history to introduce the youngest historians to some of the most prominent characters during our nation’s exciting beginning. Readers will love the amusing story, and biographies in the back of the book will ensure they’ll learn even more along the way.
Want to see books about Benjamin Franklin?