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February 15, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Biographies for Youth
Could there be a more diverse group of subjects in this year’s list of top 10 biographies for youth? Spotlighting figures from Jane Austen to Janis Joplin, Henry Hudson to Joe Louis, the following titles, all reviewed in Booklist in the past year, will draw readers into intriguing life stories.
Benjamin O. Davis Jr.: Air Force General & Tuskegee Airmen Leader. By Sari Earl. 2010. illus. ABDO, lib. ed., $32.79 (9781604539615). Gr. 6–9.
Davis was a trailblazer, and the magnitude of his accomplishments comes through in this well-written, handsomely designed entry in the Military Heroes series.
Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift’s Chocolate Pilot.
By Michael O. Tunnell. 2010. illus. Charlesbridge, $18.95 (9781580893367). Gr. 4–7.
Tunnell tells the story of the Cold War soldier who made a difference during the 1948 Berlin Airlift by dropping candy from his airplane to children waiting below.
Frederick Douglass: A Noble Life. By David A. Adler. 2010. illus. Holiday, $18.95 (9780823420568). Gr. 6–10.
Adler offers a thoroughly researched, lucidly written biography of one of America’s most celebrated abolitionists, orators, and champions for the freedom of African Americans.
Hudson. By Janice Weaver. Illus. by David Craig. 2010. Tundra, $22.95 (9780887768149). Gr. 3–6.
This dramatic and meticulously documented picture-book biography presents explorer Henry Hudson, warts and all.
Jane Austen: A Life Revealed. By Catherine Reef. 2011. illus. Clarion, $18.99 (9780547370217). Gr. 7–12.
Reef offers an encompassing, neatly synthesized introduction to Austen, who is characterized as both a “sweet, forgiving creature” and a wickedly funny, unsparing observer of human behavior.
Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing.
By Ann Angel. 2010. illus. Abrams/Amulet, $19.95 (9780810983496). Gr. 9–12.
Long overdue, this portrait of the first “queen of rock” is written with both a reporter’s forthright, detached tone and a fan’s full-hearted enthusiasm. Angel includes numerous revealing quotes from friends and family members in this winner of the 2011 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction.
Lafayette and the American Revolution. By Russell Freedman. 2010. illus. Holiday, $24.95 (9780823421824). Gr. 6–9.
In this handsomely designed book, Freedman creates a vivid portrait of Lafayette as he matures from an impetuous young man and inexperienced solider to a leader capable of wisdom and valor.
A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis. By Matt de la Peña. Illus. by Kadir Nelson. 2011. Dial, $17.99 (9780803731677). Gr. 1–3.
Sometimes a boxing match is just a sport played out on the fists and jaws of two determined contenders. But sometimes it is so much more, as in the 1938 bout between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. This spectacularly illustrated, smoothly cadenced picture book introduces the historic fight.
Sir Charlie: Chaplin, the Funniest Man in the World. By Sid Fleischman. 2010. illus. Greenwillow, $19.99 (9780061896408). Gr. 6–10.
Published shortly before Fleischman’s death in 2010, this chronicles the famous comedian and integrates details of the early days of moviemaking in the narrative.
The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps. By Jeanette Winter. Illus. by the author. 2011. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (9780375867743). Gr. 2–4.
Winter distills her subject’s life into elegantly simple language that has the lyrical rhythm of poetry, while her vibrant acrylic paintings echo the graceful polish of the words.
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