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Picture Book Biographies

Learn about amazing awe-inspiring people!

Cover of Sharice's Big Voice: A Nat
Sharice Davids with
Nancy Mays
Joshua Mangeshig Pawls-Steckley
2021

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids explains how as a child she was told that she talked too much.  But, she learned to use talking and listening to understand and help people. Sharice worked and studied hard, and decided to put her voice to work in government. Bright illustrations enhance the story as do the author’s note, illustrator’s note and information about the Ho-Chunk nation. 

Cover of Without Separation: Prejud
Larry Dane
Brimner
Maya Gonzalez
2021

Roberto Alvarez was returning to school after winter break - only to find he could not. All the Mexican and Mexican American students were told that they had to go to a different school. Roberto and his community fight for equal access. And, in 1931, they won! It was the first successful school desegregation case in the United States. Bright, dynamic illustrations by Maya Gonzalez.

Cover of Drawing On Walls: A Story
Matthew
Burgess
Josh Cochran
2020

Thirty years since his death, Keith Hering’s art still delights. This book takes readers from Keith’s interest in drawing as a child, to his time in New York, to his final masterpiece mural in Pisa. 

Cover of King of Ragtime: The Story
Stephen
Costanza
2021

Young Scott grew up in a musical family, with a mother who recognized and supported his special talent. And Scott worked hard too.  He played piano in saloons and worked as a piano teacher. But what he really wanted to do was compose his own music.  Finally, he got a contract and his first published song “Maple Leaf Rag” was a hit - and it still is today.

Cover of Saving American Beach: the
Heidi Tyline
King
Ekua Holmes
2021

As a child, MaVynee loved the beach her grandfather created for African Americans in Jim Crow Florida. Years later, after the beach had fallen into disrepair, MaVynee became an eco-warrior to clean up the beach and save it from commercialization. Bright, colorful illustrations by Ekua Holmes really make this book a winner.

Cover of The People’s Painter: Ho
Cynthia
Levinson
Evan Turk
2021

As a child, Ben Shahn wanted to draw, but had no money for paper.  When Ben was four, his father was sent to Siberia. His father escaped and made his way to America, and in 1906, Ben, his mother and siblings joined him. Ben wanted to go to art school, but had to go to work to help support the family. Eventually, his hard work and skill paid off.  During the Depression, he took photographs of Americans in desperate conditions.  For the rest of his life, Ben used his art to document the lives of Americans.

Cover of The Highest Tribute: Thurg
Kekla
Magoon
Laura Freeman
2021

An introduction to a civil rights champion. Growing up, young Thurgood could see inequality all around. He knew things were unfair and worked to make changes.

Cover of Flying High: The Story of
Michelle
Meadows
Ebony Glenn
2020

A short picture book biography of Simone Biles told in rhyme. The book mentions her time in foster care and some of her struggles, as well as her well known triumphs.

Cover of Queen of Physics: How Wu C
Teresa
Robeson
Rebecca Minhsuan Huang
2019

When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China in the early 1900’s, her parents wondered, “What would become of her?” because then, girls didn’t go to school, and certainly, they didn’t become scientists. But, Chien Shiung did. First in China and then in the United States

Cover of Runaway: The Daring Escape
Ray Anthony
Shepard
Keith Mallett
2021

A poem recounting how Ona Judge, who was enslaved by George and Martha Washington, risked her life to emancipate herself.

Cover of Classified: The Secret Car
Traci
Sorell
Natasha Donovan
2021

Mary Gold Ross loved math and solving math related problems. With this love of math and guided by her Cherokee values, she became a trailblazer. Mary worked on top-secret projects and much of what she did is still classified.
 

Cover of Nina: A Story of Nina Simo
Traci N.
Todd
Christian Robinson
2021

Even as a very young child, Nana’s musical talents were obvious. With the support of her family and community, and her love of music, Nina was able to become a great success despite setbacks and racism.

Cover of Shirley Chisholm Dared: Th
Alicia D.
Williams
April Harrison
2021

Shirley was an outspoken girl who worked hard to become a trailblazing woman. Her hard determination and hard work are an inspiration to all. Beautiful folk-art inspired illustrations.