Archive | 5:44 am

It’s raining beginning biographies!

13 Jul

There just seem to be a ton of beginning biographies out right now. Or maybe they all my holds on biographies came in at once. I can’t remember having so many checked out at one time. Here’s what I have on my shelf right now, in no particular order.

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Gandhi: A March to the Sea is written by Alice B. McGinty, and illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez. As the subtitle suggests, the book focuses on the famous march to the sea to protest Britain’s monopoly on salt production. McGinty uses this to introduce kids to Gandhi’s life & work. Gonzalez’s illustrations are beautifully realistic and remind me a little of Kadir Nelson’s work, in the way he fills a page.

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Like many people, I’ve always had a fondness for Albert Einstein and even had a poster  hanging in my dorm room in college. On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein, by Jennifer Berne and Vladimir Radunsky, celebrates the way Einstein looked at the world and explains Einstein’s thoughts in a way kids can really understand. Radunsky’s illustrations capture the book perfectly match the book simple and complex at the same time, like E = mc2.

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In 1830,  The Beagle,  not yet carrying Charles Darwin, “took”   indigenous people from Tierra del Fuego back to England. Jemmy Button illustrated by Jennifer Uman & Valerio Vidali with words by Alix Barzelay, tells the story of young Orundellico, named Jemmy Button by the Captain, who gave his family a button in exchange,  and his experiences in England, where he met the King.

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Here is wonderful book that captures the energy of a great collaboration. When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky by Lauren Stringer is all about the collaboration of these two Russian artists and The Rite of Spring, which caused a sensation when it debuted in Paris in 1913.

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Mister and Lady Day: Billie Holiday and the Dog Who Loved Her,  by Amy Novesky and Vanessa Brantley Newton is a moving testament to a great singer and her love for dogs. And it shows the steadfast love dogs have for their two-legged family members.

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For people who love Math and numbers, and everyone else The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman and LeUyen Pham is a must. After reading it, I sort of wonder if Erdos was on the autism spectrum. But I love the way the words and pictures work together to capture Erdos’ quirky personality and obsession with math.

I hope you’ll find something great in these books for you, your classroom, you kids or your library.

Randy Ribay

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