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May 15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Biographies for Youth
This year served up a bumper crop of excellent biographies for youth, and these 10 titles, reviewed in Booklist from June 2015 to May 15, 2016, are the best of the best.
Breakthrough! How Three People Saved “Blue Babies” and Changed Medicine Forever. By Jim Murphy. 2015. Clarion, $18.99 (9780547821832). Gr. 7–10.
Concisely assembling a complicated set of facts, Murphy tells the moving story of a team of scientists who developed a groundbreaking technique for treating neonatal heart defects.
Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine. By Heather Lang. Illus. by Raúl Colón. 2016. Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek, $16.95 (9781620916506). K–Gr. 3.
With the help of Colón’s pointillist illustrations, Lang recounts the life of Ruth Law, who, in 1916, was determined to fly from Chicago to New York in one day, a feat never before attempted.
Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras. By Duncan Tonatiuh. Illus. by the author. 2015. Abrams, $18.95 (9781419716478). Gr. 3–5.
This thought-provoking volume profiles Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada, highlighting his artistic technique as well as the longstanding influence of his witty, iconic works.
Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood from Sports Legends. By David Stabler. Illus. by Doogie Horner. 2015. Quirk, $13.95 (9781594748028). Gr. 3–6.
In a lively tone accompanied by humorous cartoon illustrations, this collection of sports stories examines the childhoods of an impressively diverse group of influential athletes.
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War. By Steve Sheinkin. 2015. Roaring Brook, $19.99 (9781596439528). Gr. 6–9.
Sheinkin offers a fascinating portrait of Daniel Ellsberg, whose decision to leak the Pentagon Papers revealed unsavory government secrets about America’s involvement in Vietnam.
Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune. By Pamela S. Turner. Illus. by Gareth Hinds. 2016. Charlesbridge, $16.95 (9781580895842). Gr. 5–8.
Not only is Turner’s biography of twelfth-century samurai Minamoto Yoshitsune pure excitement but its fast-moving chapters offer a clear-eyed view of changes in Japanese culture.
Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and Defender of His People. By S. D. Nelson. Illus. by the author. 2015. Abrams, $19.95 (9781419707315). Gr. 3–6.
Told in a subdued first-person narrative and colorful, dynamic Ledger Book–style art, this enthralling account outlines the life of the great chief and warrior Sitting Bull.
Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad. By M. T. Anderson. 2015. Candlewick, $25.99 (9780763668181). Gr. 9–12.
Dmitri Shostakovich witnessed a sea change in his native Russia, and Anderson arrestingly profiles the composer and his music while offering keen insight into the historical context.
Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America. By Susan Campbell Bartoletti. 2015. HMH, $17.99 (9780544313675). Gr. 6–9.
With a gimlet eye, Bartoletti relates the story of Mary Mallon, better known as Typhoid Mary, examining her treatment and infamy while offering sharp analysis of public-health practices.
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer; Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. By Carole Boston Weatherford. Illus. by Ekua Holmes. 2015. Candlewick, $17.99 (9780763665319). Gr. 4–7.
Organized in a sequence of first-person, free-verse poems accompanied by gorgeous multimedia collage, this stunning biography describes Fannie Lou Hamer’s life and commitment to activism.
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