Yes, yes. We’ve all heard the sobering account of an over-saturated picture book biography market. The grave Magic 8-ball predictions that say, “Enough, already, with the biographies!”
For those unfamiliar with picture book biographies or beginning to doubt their impact, please consider (and then reconsider) the following:
Jen Bryant’s A Splash of Red illustrated by the sparkling Melissa Sweet about Horace Pippin’s journey as an artist—really no better picture book to read this month to celebrate Black History Month/Future. It’s a favorite at our house every month of the year.
The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies and again illustrated by Melissa Sweet (is there anything she does that isn’t brilliant?).
Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez and illustrated by Felicita Salta is a straight-up win all around. It propelled me to do some additional digging about her life. A book that does that earns my applause.
Last year’s Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed and illustrated by Stasia Burrington is a breath-taking sweep of a story, filled with the rich emotions of a dream nearly derailed, but taken up again.
Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist
Written by: Jess Keating, Illustrations by Marta Alvares Miguens
Swimming With Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark
Written by: Heather Lang, Illustrations by Jordi Solano
For a comparison between the last two books on my list, stay tuned for my next post.
And feel free to add your favorite biographical picture books to the comments section.