This year my blog will focus on matching picture-book biographies to children's specific interests. Each month, I will highlight a few inspiring and informative biographies that connect readers with a beloved activity—one that they share with the main character. Do you know kids who are passionate about singing, gardening, or asking questions? Then these January releases are the perfect #pbbiopicks for them:
For Kids Who Are Singers
Katheryn Russell-Brown and Laura Freeman
"Aretha's voice had magic tucked inside. And that magic could work a spell."
If you know a girl or boy—especially a shy one—who loves to sing, this biography of the Queen of Soul is for them. Illustrated in gorgeous royal purples, reds, and golds, the book shows young readers how Aretha Franklin evolved from being a shy girl afraid to step on stage into a superstar who used her powerful voice to advocate for civil rights as well as entertain the world (including President Obama!) Bonus: if kids read the backmatter, they'll be delighted to know that the illustrator hid images of crowns throughout the book.
For Kids Who Are Gardeners
Gene Barretta and Frank Morrison
"George decided to create his own classroom in the woods
and studied the subject he loved most—nature."
Born into slavery, George Washington Carver grew up to be a celebrated botanist, scientist and inventor. But did you know that, as a child, he had a secret garden? It was there that he taught himself about plants, especially flowers. Soon he became known as the "Plant Doctor" in his community, taking his neighbors' sick plants and healing them in his garden. The book covers the many challenges and successes of Carver's life but comes full circle with a celebration of his greatest childhood love—caring for his secret garden. If you have young gardeners in your home, let them dig in to this beautiful book.
For Kids Who Are Curious
Sonia Sotomayor and Rafael Lopez
"Instead of fearing our differences or ignoring them,
we can shed light on them and explore them together."
It would be easy to say that this book is a lovely gift for kids with special needs. Beginning with little Sonia Sotomayor's story of how she manages her diabetes, the book then weaves through the experiences of other kids who each describe the challenges—and powers—that come with living with asthma, blindness, deafness, dyslexia, autism, speech impediments, Tourette's syndrome, ADHD, food allergies, Down syndrome, and using a wheelchair. But really, this book is for every kid who meets someone who seems "different" and wants to know more. And because children are curious by nature, that makes this book a must-have for every kid.
What are your favorite PBbios for singers, gardeners, and curious kids?
As always, if you have read any of these books, please take a minute to review them using the links above.