This year I'm highlighting 2020 picture-book biographies that are inspiring, informative, and match a child's specific interest. Do you know kids who love tennis, bunnies, or television? Then these new releases are the perfect #pbbiopicks for them:
For kids who play tennis
Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis' Fleet-of-Foot Girl
Megan Reid and Laura Freeman
She couldn't just sit around. Althea was off to travel the world!
Forehands in France, ground strokes in Germany, backhands in Burma, serving in Sweden!
In the 1940s, Althea Gibson was known as the quickest, tallest, and most fearless athlete on Harlem's Play Streets—an area closed to traffic for kids to play outside during the summer. One fall, after the streets were reopened to traffic, Althea discovered a rare tennis club allowing African Americans to join. Working in exchange for lessons, Althea started her journey to making history. She travelled the world as a competitive tennis player but Althea had her heart set on Wimbledon. Kids will love seeing how Althea's big personality, confidence, and athletic skills served her well whether she was ruling the Play Streets of Harlem or battling racial discrimination. And kids who play tennis will give an extra cheer when Althea aces the "biggest and best tournament of them all."
For kids who love bunnies
Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit
Linda Elovitz Marshall and Ilaria Urbinati
On the third floor of a London Town house, a young girl sketched pictures of her pet rabbit,
Certainly this biography on author/illustrator Beatrix Potter would be a gorgeous gift for the young artists in your life. But also, if you know kids who are crazy for all things bunnies, see if they can resist this story about the creator of Peter Rabbit. With bunnies on almost every spread, this book shows young readers how Beatrix's childhood pet bounced his way into her art, stories, and children's hearts. The Tale of Peter Rabbit made Beatrix so successful (at a time when women weren't supposed to have careers!) that she was able to purchase four farms and 4,000 acres of countryside, saving it from developers, caring for its people and animals, and preserving it for future generations. Now that's some serious bunny power!
For kids who love TV
Fred's Big Feelings: The Life and Legacy of Mister Rogers
Laura Renauld & Brigette Barrager
To Fred, television had potential....
What if a TV show could leave someone feeling welcomed? Loved?
As a child of the '70s, I spent a good chunk of time in front of a TV that only had a few channels. Thankfully Mr. Rogers was on one of them. Calm yet playful, Fred Rogers welcomed children into a safe world where they could learn about all their feelings. Today there are countless shows and networks for children. But do your kids know how one of the most popular and longest-running children's television show started? The candy-colored illustrations will pop them into the story of how Mr. Roger's Neighborhood was created—from its inspiration to behind the scenes to legendary scenes (Koko the Gorilla!)—and how Mr. Rogers saved the show from being cancelled. So the next time your child asks for more screen time, snuggle up and read about Fred Rogers and the TV show that made millions of children feel special.