Picture Book Biographies

Autumn is a major publishing season, so I have been busy going through the picture book galleys that will be out this fall. I’m always intrigued by the biographies of people I don’t know.  I minored in history in college and have always loved reading about people in the past—both fiction and nonfiction. But picture books authors seem to find the most interesting people that I have either forgotten about or never heard of!

How many of you play the piano? Do you know about Bartolomeo Cristofori?  I took piano lessons in elementary school, then in college, and again as an adult—I even have one in my house—but I didn’t know the name of the man who invented the instrument.

And is there anyone who does NOT like chocolate chip cookies? Who came up with the idea? There are several myths about their creation, but consensus is that Ruth Wakefield had something to do with it. Never heard of her!

Check out the biographies below; even if you know about these people, chances are you’ll find out something new!

Want to know about more fascinating people? Check out my 2016 post on picture book biographies and also one on persistent women.

ARTISTS & MUSICIANS

Americaqn Gothic  Danza!  Fancy Party Gowns  Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos  Keith Haring

American Gothic by Susan Wood (ill. by Ross MacDonald). 9781419725333. September 2017. Gr K-2.
Danza! : Amalia Hernandez and El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico by Duncan Tonatiuh. 9781419725326. 2017. Gr 2-4.
Fancy Party Gowns : The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe by Deborah Blumenthal (ill. by Laura Freeman). 9781499802399. 2017. Gr K-2.
Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown (ill. by John Parra). 9780735842694. September 2017. Gr K-2.
Keith Haring : The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay A. Haring (ill. by Robert Neubecker). 9780525428190. 2017. Gr K-3.

Music of Life  Pocket Full of Colors  Shape of the World  Vincent Can't Sleep  World Is Not a Rectangle

The Music of Life : Bartolomeo Cristofori & the Invention of the Piano by Elizabeth Rusch (ill. by Marjorie Priceman). 9781481444842. 2017. Gr K-3.
Pocket Full of Colors : The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire by Amy Guglielmo & Jacqueline Tourville (ill. by Brigette Barrager). 9781481461313. 2017. Gr K-2.
The Shape of the World : A Portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright by K.L. Going (ill. by Lauren Stringer). 9781442478213. September 2017. Gr 1-4.
Vincent Can’t Sleep : Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky by Barb Rosenstock (ill. by Mary Grandpre). 9781101937105. October 2017. Gr PK-3.
The World Is Not a Rectangle : A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeanette Winter. 9781481446693. 2017. Gr 1-4.

 

ATHLETES

Long-Armed Ludy  Martina & Chrissie  Strong As Sandow

Long-Armed Ludy and the First Women’s Olympics by Jean L.S. Patrick (ill. by Adam Gustavson). 9781580895460. 2017. Gr 1-4.
Martina & Chrissie : The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports by Phil Bildner (ill. by Brett Helquist). 9780763673086. 2017. Gr 2-5.
Strong as Sandow : How Eugen Sandow Became the Strongest Man on Earth by Don Tate. 9781580896283. 2017. Gr 2-4.

 

AUTHORS

Balderdash!  Big Machines  Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider  Imagine That!  John Ronald's Dragons

Balderdash! : John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books by Michelle Markel (ill. by Nancy Carpenter). 9780811879224. 2017. Gr K-3.
Big Machines : The Story of Virginia Lee Burton by Sherri Duskey Rinker (ill. by John Rocco). 9780544715578. September 2017. Gr K-2.
A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider : The Story of E.B. White by Barbara Herkert (ill. by Lauren Castillo). 9781627792455. October 2017. Gr PK-3.
Imagine That! : How Dr. Seuss Wrote The Cat in the Hat by Judy Sierra (ill. by Kevin Hawkes). 9780375974298. September 2017. Gr 1-4.
John Ronald’s Dragons : The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien by Caroline McAlister (ill. by Eliza Wheeler). 9781626720923. 2017. Gr PK-3.

Miguel's Brave Knight  Someone Like Me

Miguel’s Brave Knight : Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote by Margarita Engle (ill. by Raul Colon). 9781561458561. October 2017. Gr 2-6.
Someone Like Me by Patricia MacLachlan (ill. by Chris Sheban). 9781626723344. 2017. Gr PK-3.

 

FOODIES

Chef Roy Choi  Dumpling Dreams  How the Cookie Crumbled

Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin & June Jo Lee (ill. by Man One). 9780983661597. 2017. Gr 1-5.
Dumpling Dreams : How Joyce Chen Brought the Dumpling from Beijing to Cambridge by Carrie Clickard (ill. by Katy Wu). 9781481467070. September 2017. Gr PK-2.
How the Cookie Crumbled : The True (and Not-So-True) Stories of the Invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie by Gilbert Ford. 9781481450676. October 2017. Gr K-3.

 

HUMANITARIANS & ACTIVISTS

Dangerous Jane  Ruth Bader Ginsburg  Schomburg

Dangerous Jane by Suzanne Slade (ill. by Alice Ratterree). 9781561459131. September 2017. Gr 2-4.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg : The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality by Jonah Winter (ill. by Stacy Innerst). 9781419725593. 2017. Gr 1-4.
Schomburg : The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford (ill. by Eric Velasquez). 9780763680466. September 2017. Gr 3-6.

 

INVENTORS & SCIENTISTS

Alexander Graham Bell Answers the Call  John Deere, That's Who!  Karl, Get Out of the Garden!  Lines, Bars and Circles

Alexander Graham Bell Answers the Call by Mary Ann Fraser. 9781580897211. 2017. Gr 1-4.
John Deere, That’s Who! by Tracy Nelson Maurer (ill. by Tim Zeltner). 9781627791298. 2017. Gr 1-4.
Karl, Get Out of the Garden! : Carolus Linnaeus and the Naming of Everything by Anita Sanchez (ill. by Catherine Stock). 9781580896061. 2017. Gr 2-5.
Lines, Bars and Circles : How William Playfair Invented Graphs by Helaine Becker (ill. by Marie-Eve Tremblay). 9781771385701. 2017. Gr 1-4.

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