Picture Book Biography Round-Up #2


Not Done Yet: Shirley Chisholm’s Fight for Change by Tameka Fryer Brown, illustrated by Nina Crews

This is a pretty basic, good starter biography for introducing readers to Shirley Chisholm. Nothing wrong with it, but just kind of basic—gets a pretty good rhythm with the prose, but not too poetic. Computer-ish illustrations, but engaging, larger font good for developing readers.

Courage in Her Cleats: The Story of Soccer Star Abby Wambach by Kim Chaffee, illustrated by Alexandra Badiu

Hm, this was okay. Again, computer-ized images, but bright and vibrant. The pacing is weird–it skips from a kid loving soccer to HS to the National team, but I appreciated the focus on her determination after loss and in the face of tough things, and didn’t know about her broken leg and recovery. It did not mention her being queer at all, and didn’t cover the end…decade… of her career. It didn’t touch the World Cup, for example. Odd.

Justice Ketanji: The Story of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson

I was excited to see a picture book biography of her already–but I was disappointed by this title. Poorly structured–nothing special driving it other than a timeline and the pacing jumped around (I mean, i get it, no child needs a recap of law) and the computer-heavy illustration style makes this feel forced out the pipe quickly, and a little undersold.

Kentanji Brown Jackson: Justice for All by Tami Charles, illustrated by Jemma Skidmore

This biography of Justice Jackson though, it has a structure! It has a distinct perspective from the POV of a young girl seeing her succeed, and has a verse element that is a little confusing at time, but at least is carried through well. It has a sweet author’s note and a lot of people illustrations that will make you go “I see what you’re going for there” but the heart of it is the little Black girl seeing that girls like her can be heroes too.

Song After Song: The Musical Life of Julie Andrews by Julie Hedlund, illustrated by Ilaria Urbanati

I appreciated that this book took a specific focus on Julie Andrews through her music, and none of it was BAD, but I kept waiting to be wow-ed with this book. It’s a bit saccharine sweet a times, being an all encompassing biography of a beloved grandmother figure, of course. The illustrations felt tired and more like Eloise meets…something more boring, than anything else. A fine book, interesting, but not really a book for kids to excite them to learn about her.







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