Posts tagged ‘Biography’


bring-me-some-applesGreat cooks will tell you to boil the water, run out to the field, pick the corn, and then rush back to plop the ears into the pot; from field to fire with little time delayed. That’s the way to savor the freshest, tastiest corn on the cob. Edna Lewis knew this. She learned this as a child growing up in Freetown, Virginia. Her grandfather and two other emancipated slaves founded and farmed this community.

The first notes of the whippoorwill in early spring told her that the strawberries were ripe for picking. When the first frost arrived, she and her siblings gathered pecans and walnuts. Edna and her hardworking family picked and potted and canned and baked all kinds of vegetables, fruit, nuts, and greens. She took her early training seriously and became a well-known chef and author of several cookbooks that celebrated fresh produce for healthy eating. This colorful book captures the seasonal harvests and the joy of good eating. Recipes, food related rhymes and an afterward about Edna Lewis completes this picture book biography.

J Picture Book Biography Recommended- Lillian Hecker (Pelham)


May 7, 2009 at 1:19 pm Leave a comment

BARACK by Jonah Winter and illustrated by AG Ford

barackThis introductory picture book traces Barack Obama’s childhood in Indonesia, return to Hawaii to live with loving grandparents, through college, his days in Chicago helping poor people and his presidential candidacy.  The simple text nicely explains Obama’s biracial heritage, and emphasizes his life journey, repeating the questions “Who am I?” and “Where do I belong?”  Written before the election, it’s already a bit outdated.  AG Ford’s paintings convey a message of hope.  Heartfelt and inspiring, if a bit adulatory, this is still a worthwhile introduction to our new president for young readers and a good read aloud for preschoolers. 

J Biography

Additional, Diane McCrink (Yonkers Will)

February 20, 2009 at 4:37 pm Leave a comment

CORETTA SCOTT by Shange Ntozake and illustrated by Kadir Nelson

corettaStriking, luminous illustrations enhance this poetic introduction to Coretta Scott.  Rhythmic, abstract verse follows young Coretta and her siblings as they struggle to simply get to school.  After Coretta marries, she and Martin begin their journey that takes them through boycotts, sit-ins, marches to the March on Washington.

But it is Nelson’s rich oil paintings that add emotion and power to this inspiring story.  The cover alone portrays Coretta Scott looking into the future, her gaze fixed on a faraway goal, tender, yet determined.  The breadth of the crowd at the Washington Monument is stirring and vast, and the scene of marchers carrying flags silhouetted against a bright, hopeful yellow sky is stirring.  A moving, lyrical portrait as well as a wonderful read aloud.

Highly Recommended.  Diane McCrink- Yonkers Grinton I. Will Library

February 12, 2009 at 2:56 pm Leave a comment

WHAT LINCOLN SAID by Sarah L. Thompson and illustrated by James E. Ransome.

lincoln-saidThe text is built around the brief quotes (highlighted in red or yellow) from Lincoln.  Short simple paragraphs depict events from Lincoln’s youth and effectively convey his convictions as he opposed slavery and tried to keep the country united.  For a simple picture book, this is an excellent presentation of Lincoln’s life and accomplishments.  Since the book ends in 1862, three years before his death, as Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation, an author’s note and timeline provide further information

While it seems the bold and colorful illustration seek to portray Lincoln’s gangliness, he ends up at times, looking a bit goofy.  A worthwhile effort, nonetheless, that serves as a good introduction to Lincoln for young children

Recommended, Diane McCrink- Yonkers Grinton I. Will Library

February 12, 2009 at 2:55 pm Leave a comment


Abraham Lincoln’s two sons had the White House as playground, and they got into lincolns-boysmischief at every turn.  Lincoln lovingly indulged their pranks even as they annoyed the staff. When the boys find themselves in a dilemma of their own doing, they turn to the President and his powers to help them resolve it.  Realistic, masterly illustrations with a perspective on Lincoln as a father and the boys’ imaginative world celebrate an intimate portrait of family life.

Ages 6 up.  36 pages.  Recommended, Amelia Carling- Pelham


December 23, 2008 at 4:06 pm Leave a comment

SEVEN MILES TO FREEDOM : THE ROBERT SMALL STORY by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Duane Smith

seven_milesBorn into slavery in South Carolina, Robert Smalls yearned for freedom as he grew up a house servant and worker on the docks in Charleston. He became a skilled navigator and boatman. It was 1861 and the Civil War broke out. He found work on the Planter, a Confederate steamer, eventually becoming an expert wheelman. Married and with a child, he was more intent than ever in gaining freedom for his family, hoping that the Union would win the war. The next year, putting himself, his family, and his crew at great risk, Smalls outmaneuvered the Confederate forces in Charleston Harbor and steered the Planter, white flag hoisted, into Union waters.  Met by the Union navy as a hero, Smalls succeeded in making his way to freedom. This story of brave determination is illustrated with bold impressionistic strokes.

Picture book, Biography.   Ages 6-11, 40 pages

Recommended.  Amelia Carling- Pelham

December 10, 2008 at 2:14 pm Leave a comment