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May 15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Biographies for Youth
This batch of the best biographies for youth, reviewed in Booklist between June 2016 and February 1, 2017, features a wide range of historic figures, from activists and writers to athletes and musicians.
Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko. By Misuzu Kaneko. Illus. by Toshikado Hajiri. Tr. by David Jacobson and others. 2016. Chin Music, $19.50 (9781634059626). Gr. 2–5.
Kaneko’s children’s poetry is translated into English for the first time in this slim volume, which incorporates an emotive glimpse into her sometimes troubled life in early twentieth-century Japan.
Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights. By Rich Wallace and Sandra Neil Wallace. 2016. Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek, $18.95 (9781629790947). Gr. 8–12.
The Wallaces tells the thoroughly researched story of white seminarian Jonathan Daniels, whose work in the day-to-day struggle for civil rights in Alabama ultimately led to his murder.
Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman’s Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights. By Mary Cronk Farrell. 2016. Abrams, $19.95 (9781419718847). Gr. 5–8.
Fannie Sellins risked her life advocating for labor unions around the country, and this engaging narrative makes her story and the fight for workers’ rights leap from the page.
Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History. By Walter Dean Myers. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. 2017. Harper, $17.99 (9780060277093). Gr. 1–4.
Written in a focused, informative style and with expressive artwork, this picture-book biography demonstrates how Frederick Douglass’ work left an indelible mark on U.S. history.
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark. By Debbie Levy. Illus. by Elizabeth Baddeley. 2016. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (9781481465595). Gr. 1–3.
Dissent is the powerful through line in this picture-book biography, which emphasizes the importance of bravely voicing opinions. Baddeley’s lively artwork adds plenty of verve.
The Legendary Miss Lena Horne. By Carole Boston Weatherford. Illus. by Elizabeth Zunon. 2017. Atheneum, $17.99 (9781481468251). Gr. 2–4.
Weatherford covers not only Lena Horne’s notable music career but her staunch advocacy of civil rights. Zunon’s expressive artwork is a perfect complement to the succinct text.
Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger. By Anita Silvey. 2016. Clarion, $17.99 (9780547330129). Gr. 5–8.
Silvey’s lively biography of “the Johnny Appleseed of folk music” details Seeger’s early life and cross-country journey to perform folk music after being blacklisted in the 1950s.
The Plot to Kill Hitler: Dietrich Bonhoeffer—Pastor, Spy, Unlikely Hero. By Patricia McCormick. 2016. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $18.99 (9780062411082). Gr. 7–10.
McCormick takes a levelheaded approach in her account of quiet, scholarly Bonhoeffer, whose attempt to assassinate Hitler was grounded in his belief that one should “heil” God, not a government.
Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White. By Melissa Sweet. Illus. by the author. 2016. HMH, $18.99 (9780544319592). Gr. 2–5.
On pages bedecked with her signature collage illustrations, Sweet offers an inviting, genial account of the life of the notable wordsmith and children’s author.
Strong Inside: The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball’s Color Line. By Andrew Maraniss. 2017. Philomel, $17.99 (9780399548345). Gr. 7–10.
Though this biography of Perry Wallace doesn’t shy away from the ugly truths of his beleaguered college basketball career, it remains hopeful: Wallace refused to back down, successfully paving the way for future black athletes.
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