Best Kids Books About Important historical figures

28 Kids Books About Important historical figures

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Maya Angelou book
#1
Maya Angelou
Written by Lisbeth Kaiser and illustrated by Leire Salaberria
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In the Little People, Big Dreams series, discover the lives of outstanding people from designers and artists to scientists. All of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. The book follows Maya Angelou, from her early traumatic childhood to her time as a singer, actress, civil rights campaigner and, eventually, one of America's most beloved writers. This inspiring and informative little biography comes with extra facts about Maya's life at the back.

Martin's Big Words book
#2
Martin's Big Words
Written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This picture-book biography is an excellent and accessible introduction for young readers to learn about one of the world’s most influential leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Doreen Rappaport weaves the immortal words of Dr. King into a captivating narrative to tell the story of his life. With stunning art by acclaimed illustrator Bryan Collier, Martin’s Big Words is an unforgettable portrait of a man whose dream changed America—and the world—forever.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg book
#3
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Stacy Innerst
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

To become the first female Jewish Supreme Court Justice, the unsinkable Ruth Bader Ginsburg had to overcome countless injustices. Growing up in Brooklyn in the 1930s and '40s, Ginsburg was discouraged from working by her father, who thought a woman's place was in the home. Regardless, she went to Cornell University, where men outnumbered women four to one. There, she met her husband, Martin Ginsburg, and found her calling as a lawyer. Despite discrimination against Jews, females, and working mothers, Ginsburg went on to become Columbia Law School's first tenured female professor, a judge for the US Court of Appeals, and finally, a Supreme Court Justice. Structured as a court case in which the reader is presented with evidence of the injustice that Ginsburg faced, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the true story of how one of America's most "notorious" women bravely persevered to become the remarkable symbol of justice she is today.

Pocket Bios: Anne Frank book
#4
Pocket Bios: Anne Frank
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Born into a Jewish family in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1929, Anne Frank was only thirteen years old when her family went into hiding to escape persecution during the Holocaust. Anne kept a diary detailing their years spent living in a concealed room behind a bookcase prior to their arrest-a diary so widely published following her death that it is one of the period's most influential books.These colorful, pocket-size biographies are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Pocket Bios titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 book
#5
Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13
Written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

The bold story of an African-American mathematician who worked for NASA during the space race and was depicted in the film "Hidden Figures, " and how she made sure that the crew of Apollo 13 returned home. Full color.

Lincoln and Kennedy book
#6
Lincoln and Kennedy
Written and illustrated by Gene Barretta
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

President Abraham Lincoln grew up in a one-room log cabin. President John F. Kennedy was raised in the lap of luxury. One was a Republican and one a Democrat. They lived and served a hundred years apart. Yet they had a number of things in common. Some were coincidental: having seven letters in their last names. Some were monumental: Lincoln's support for the abolitionist movement and Kennedy's support for the civil rights movement. They both lost a son while in office. And, of course, both were assassinated. In this illuminating book, Gene Barretta offers an insightful portrait of two of our country's most famous presidents.

Pocket Bios: Gandhi book
#7
Pocket Bios: Gandhi
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Mahatma Gandhi was the celebrated leader of the Indian independence movement, and an inspiration for many similar movements around the world. Gandhi began his push for nonviolent civil disobedience as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, eventually bringing the practice to India where he led the Indian National Congress. He is referred to as the Father of the Nation, and remains a symbol of freedom and nonviolence to this day. These colorful, pocket-size biographies are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Pocket Bios titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

Pocket Bios: Albert Einstein book
#8
Pocket Bios: Albert Einstein
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A colorfully illustrated, pocket-size picture book biography of famed physicist Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein, a theoretical physicist, developed the theory of relativity and is popularly known today for his mass-energy equivalence formula E=mc^2. In 1921, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to theoretical physics, particularly for discoveries and research that proved pivotal for quantum theory. Pocket Bios are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

Pocket Bios: Nelson Mandela book
#9
Pocket Bios: Nelson Mandela
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A colorfully illustrated, pocket-size picture book biography of activist, philanthropist, and South African President Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela was a South African revolutionary, activist, politician, and philanthropist who opposed apartheid and served as the president of South Africa as the country's first black head of state and the first representative elected democratically. He devoted much of his time in office to dismantling apartheid law and battling institutionalized racism in South Africa. He is the recipient of more than 250 honors worldwide, including the Nobel Peace Prize. Pocket Bios are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

Pocket Bios: Neil Armstrong book
#10
Pocket Bios: Neil Armstrong
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A colorfully illustrated, pocket-size picture book biography of the first man to walk on the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong. Neil Armstrong is an American astronaut most famous for being the first person to walk on the moon: "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Before enrolling in the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1962, Armstrong was an officer in the U.S. Navy and served in the Korean War. Follow this extraordinary man's life and accomplishments, from childhood to space and back again. Pocket Bios are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

Pocket Bios: Martin Luther King, Jr. book
#11
Pocket Bios: Martin Luther King, Jr.
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the most prominent leaders of the civil rights movement, is best known for his dedication to nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience. He received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in combating racial inequality and organized many notable events such as the Montgomery bus boycott and Selma-to-Montgomery marches. He posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal, and is an international icon to this day. These colorful, pocket-size biographies are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Pocket Bios titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

Pocket Bios: Isaac Newton book
#12
Pocket Bios: Isaac Newton
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A colorfully illustrated, pocket-size picture book biography of mathematician and physicist Isaac Newton. Best known for "discovering gravity" and formulating the laws of motion, Isaac Newton is often hailed as one of the most influential physicists of all time. From the apple incident that lead to his famous mathematical description of gravity, to the invention of the first reflecting telescope, and beyond, follow this extraordinary man's life and accomplishments. Pocket Bios are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

Pocket Bios: Coco Chanel book
#13
Pocket Bios: Coco Chanel
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A colorfully illustrated, pocket-size picture book biography of renowned fashion designer Coco Chanel. Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel, French fashion designer and businesswoman, is famous for founding the famous Chanel brand and for popularizing a new, more sporty and relaxed aesthetic for women's clothing. Follow Chanel's life and accomplishments from her childhood in Saumur to her eventual creation of the successful couture empire she's known for today. These colorful, pocket-size biographies are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Pocket Bios titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

Pocket Bios: Frida Kahlo book
#14
Pocket Bios: Frida Kahlo
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Frida Kahlo remains one of the most celebrated painters of her time for her exploration of themes of feminism, gender, class, and race in her artwork and frequent self-portraits. From her childhood struggle with polio, to the traffic accident that left her with chronic pain, to her artistic exploration of herself and her identity, follow this extraordinary woman's life and accomplishments.These colorful, pocket-size biographies are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Pocket Bios titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

Pocket Bios: Rosa Parks book
#15
Pocket Bios: Rosa Parks
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A colorfully illustrated, pocket-size picture book biography of civil rights activist Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks, often referred to as both "the first lady of civil rights" and the mother of the freedom movement, was an American civil rights activist who started a movement when she refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus to a white passenger. Following her arrest for this act, she became an international icon of civil disobedience and resistance to racial segregation. Pocket Bios are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

Pocket Bios: Marie Curie book
#16
Pocket Bios: Marie Curie
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A colorfully illustrated, pocket-size picture book biography of influential physicist and chemist Marie Curie. Marie Curie, the first woman ever to win a Nobel Prize and only person to win it in two different scientific fields, was a physicist and chemist. As she conducted pioneering research, Marie Curie coined the term "radioactivity," developed some of the first techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes. She also discovered two elements: polonium and radium, and developed mobile X-ray units for use in field hospitals during World War I. In 1934, at the age of sixty-six, she died of complications from long-term exposure to radiation. Pocket Bios are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

Pocket Bios: Cleopatra book
#17
Pocket Bios: Cleopatra
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A colorfully illustrated, pocket-size picture book biography of legendary Egyptian queen Cleopatra. Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt, was a powerful and passionate leader worshipped by her people as a god for her beauty and her accomplishments. Explore this legendary female ruler's illustrious beginnings through to her tragic end. Pocket Bios are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

Pocket Bios: Abraham Lincoln book
#18
Pocket Bios: Abraham Lincoln
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Filled with personality, these biographies introduce readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Pocket Bios profile men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more. Full color.

Be a King book
#19
Be a King
Written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by James Ransome
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

You can be a King. Stamp out hatred. Put your foot down and walk tall. You can be a King. Beat the drum for justice. March to your own conscience. Featuring a dual narrative of the key moments of Dr. King's life alongside a modern class as the students learn about him, Carole Weatherford's poetic text encapsulates the moments that readers today can reenact in their own lives. See a class of young students as they begin a school project inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and learn to follow his example, as he dealt with adversity and never lost hope that a future of equality and justice would soon be a reality. As times change, Dr. King's example remains, encouraging a new generation of children to take charge and change the world . . . to be a King.

Rosa Parks book
#20
Rosa Parks
Written by Lisbeth Kaiser and illustrated by Marta Antelo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

New in the Little People, Big Dreams series, discover the incredible life of Rosa Parks, ' The Mother of the Freedom Movement', in this inspiring story. In this true story of an inspiring civil rights activist, Rosa Parks grew up during segregation in Alabama, but she was taught to respect herself and stand up for her rights. In 1955, Rosa refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Her decision had a huge impact on civil rights, eventually leading to the end of segregation on public transport. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!

Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence book
#21
Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence
Written by Karla Valenti and illustrated by Annalisa Beghelli
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What if superheroes didn't have supernatural powers, but were humans with amazing brain power? What if our superheroes were scientists? This first book in the My Super Science Heroes series is about Marie Curie and her power of persistence. Using a fictionalized storytelling approach, readers will learn about Marie Curie's achievements and will feel empowered to become science superheroes themselves.

The Cart That Carried Martin book
#22
The Cart That Carried Martin
Written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Don Tate
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

A unique retelling of Martin Luther King Jr.s funeral, focusing on the cart used to transport his coffin through the streets of Atlanta, Georgia, from Ebenezer Baptist Church to Morehouse College. The text also features the large number of people who walked the funeral route and were buoyed by MLKs positive influence, as well as Ada and Belle, the mules that pulled the cart.

Martin and Anne book
#23
Martin and Anne
Written by Nancy Churnin and illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr. were born the same year a world apart. Both faced ugly prejudices and violence, which both answered with words of love and faith in humanity. This is the story of their parallel journeys to find hope in darkness and to follow their dreams.

Young, Gifted and Black book
#24
Young, Gifted and Black
Written by Jamia Wilson and illustrated by Andrea Pippins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Meet 52 icons of color from the past and present in this celebration of inspirational achievement - from figureheads, leaders and pioneers such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks, to cultural trailblazers and sporting heroes, including Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams. Strong, courageous, talented and diverse, these extraordinary men and women's achievements will inspire a new generation to chase their dream … whatever it may be.

My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. book
#25
My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Written by Martin Luther King III and illustrated by A.G. Ford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What was it like growing up as a son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? This picture book memoir, My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King III, provides insight into one of history’s most fascinating families and into a special bond between father and son. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King III was one of those four little children mentioned in Martin Luther King’s groundbreaking “I Have a Dream” speech. In this memoir, Martin Luther King Jr.’s son gives an intimate look at the man and the father behind the civil rights leader. Mr. King’s remembrances show both his warm, loving family and a momentous time in American history. AG Ford is the illustrator of several other books for children, including the New York Times bestselling Barack. He is the recipient of an NAACP Image Award.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.