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Find more Top 10 Biographies for Youth
Legendary figures—from Mata Hari to Mahalia Jackson, the Marquis de Lafayette to Martin Luther King—appear in these best biographies for young readers. The titles were chosen from books reviewed in Booklist between June 1, 2012, and May 15, 2013.
Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves & Other Female Villains. By Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple. Illus. by Rebecca Guay. 2013. Charlesbridge, $18.95 (9781580891851). Gr. 7–10.
Girls gone wild! This attractive package rounds up some of the meanest (or perhaps most misguided) group of gals in history, including Delilah, Cleopatra, and Typhoid Mary.
Barnum’s Bones: How Barnum Brown Discovered the Most Famous Dinosaur in the World. By Tracey Fern. Illus. by Boris Kulikov. 2012. Farrar/Margaret Ferguson, $17.99 (9780374305161). Gr. 1–4.
Brown collected fossils from boyhood. As an adult, he found lots of bones, but he wasn’t satisfied until he discovered the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex. A biography brimming with personality and illustrated with lively, intricate art.
Becoming Babe Ruth. By Matt Tavares. Illus. by the author. 2013. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763656461). Gr. 1–4.
Ruth’s amazing rags-to-riches story is recounted in this engaging chronicle. The art captures Ruth’s irrepressible personality and love of baseball.
Becoming Ben Franklin: How a Candle-Maker’s Son Helped Light the Flame of Liberty. By Russell Freedman. 2013. illus. Holiday, $24.95 (9780823423743). Gr. 6–9.
Freedman writes perceptively about every stage of his subject’s life in this handsomely designed, thoughtfully illustrated, and solidly researched volume.
Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People. By Susan Goldman Rubin. 2013. illus. Abrams, $21.95 (9780810984110). Gr. 6–10.
Featuring engaging prose beautifully illustrated by Rivera’s paintings and murals, this spacious volume introduces the great Mexican artist to young people.
Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song. By Andrea Davis Pinkney. Illus. by Brian Pinkney. 2013. Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316070133). Gr. 2–4.
The Pinkneys use their considerable talents to weave together the stories of Martin Luther King and Mahalia Jackson, who forged a collaboration that carried them to King’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial.
Revolutionary Friends: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. By Selene Castrovilla. Illus. by Drazen Kozjan. 2013. Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek, $16.95 (9781590788806). Gr. 2–5.
This handsome package introduces a little-known aspect of the Revolutionary War through pithy words and dramatic pictures.
When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky: Two Artists, Their Ballet, and One Extraordinary Riot. By Lauren Stringer. Illus. by the author. 2013. Harcourt, $16.99 (9780547907253). Gr. 2–4.
In this story of the Rite of Spring, captivating words and swirling art work together to grab kids who will want to sit down and listen to the music for themselves.
Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell. By Tanya Lee Stone. Illus. by Marjorie Priceman. 2013. Holt/Christy Ottaviano, $16.99 (9780805090482). K–Gr. 3.
Stone’s short, snappy, and easy-to-read text is full of intriguing information about Blackwell. Highlighting the story are Priceman’s pictures, which feel like poetry in motion.
You Never Heard of Willie Mays?! By Jonah Winter. Illus. by Terry Widener. 2013. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (9780375868443). Gr. 2–4.
This ebullient look at a groundbreaking baseballer does a great job of introducing Mays. The Say Hey Kid had style to spare and so does this irrepressible book.
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