Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children's Books


Michelle Markel - 2017
    While most children's books in the 18th century contained lessons and rules, John Newbery imagined them overflowing with entertaining stories, science, and games. He believed that every book should be made for the reader's enjoyment. Newbery—for whom the prestigious Newbery Medal is named—became a celebrated author and publisher, changing the world of children's books forever. This book about his life and legacy is as full of energy and delight as any young reader could wish.

The Shape of the World: A Portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright


K.L. Going - 2017
    She gave him blocks to play with and he learned that shapes are made up of many other shapes. As he grew up, he loved finding shapes in nature. Wright went on to study architecture and create buildings that were one with the natural world around them. He became known as one of the greatest American architects of all time.

Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet


Elizabeth Rusch - 2019
    Growing up in Mexico City, Mario was a curious boy who studied hidden worlds through a microscope. As a young man in California, he discovered that CFCs, used in millions of refrigerators and spray cans, were tearing a hole in the earth's protective ozone layer. Mario knew the world had to be warned--and quickly. Today Mario is a Nobel laureate and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His inspiring story gives hope in the fight against global warming.

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams


Jen Bryant - 2008
    Willie’s notebooks filled up, one after another. Willie’s words gave him freedom and peace, but he also knew he needed to earn a living. So he went off to medical school and became a doctor -- one of the busiest men in town! Yet he never stopped writing poetry. In this picture book biography of William Carlos Williams, Jen Bryant’s engaging prose and Melissa Sweet’s stunning mixed-media illustrations celebrate the amazing man who found a way to earn a living and to honor his calling to be a poet.

Dangerous Jane: the Life and Times of Jane Addams, Crusader for Peace


Suzanne Slade - 2017
    From the time she was a child, Jane's heart ached for others. At first the focus of her efforts was on poverty, and lead to the creation of Hull House, the settlement house she built in Chicago. For twenty-five years, she'd helped people from different countries live in peace at Hull House. But when war broke out, Jane decided to take on the world and become a dangerous woman for the sake of peace.Suzanne Slade's powerful text written in free verse illuminates the life of this inspiring figure while Alice Ratterree's stunning illustrations bring Jane Addams and her world to life.

The Fantastic Ferris Wheel: The Story of Inventor George Ferris


Betsy Harvey Kraft - 2015
    But the Fair's planners wanted something really special, something on the scale of the Eiffel Tower, which had been constructed for France's fair three years earlier. At last, engineer George Ferris had an idea—a crazy, unrealistic, gigantic idea. He would construct a twenty-six-story tall observation wheel.The planners didn't think it could be done. They called it a "monstrosity." It wouldn't be safe. But George fought for his design. Finally, in December 1892, with only four months to go until the fair, George was given permission to build his wheel. He had to fight the tight schedule, bad weather, and general disapproval. Against all odds, the Ferris Wheel turned out to be the talk of the Fair, and proof that dreaming big dreams could pay off. Today, George's Ferris Wheel is an icon of adventure and amusement throughout the world.

The Road to Oz: Twists, Turns, Bumps, and Triumphs in the Life of L. Frank Baum


Kathleen Krull - 2008
    Frank Baum from his dreamy privileged childhood in mid-19th-century upstate New York through the many detours on his road to Oz. A failure as an actor, a breeder of prize chickens, a merchant in a wild west town, among other occupations, he finally made a success doing exactly what he had always loved to do: tell stories for children. Along the way, we see the antecedents of the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, green glasses, and other characters and attributes of the famous fantasy land. This is the first biography of L. Frank Baum that children can enjoy.With the same verve she brought to her biography of Dr. Seuss, Kathleen Krull's wry prose couples with Kevin Hawke's exuberant paintings and drawings to create a book not to be missed by Oz fans of all ages.

Revolutionary Friends: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette


Selene Castrovilla - 2013
    Lafayette has come to America to offer his services to the patriotic cause. Inexperienced but dedicated, he is a much-needed ally and not only earns a military position with the Continental Army but also Washington’s respect and admiration. This lively picture book presents the human side of history, revealing the bond between two famous Revolutionary figures. Both the author and illustrator worked with experts and primary sources to represent both patriots and the war accurately and fairly.

John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J. R. R. Tolkien


Caroline McAlister - 2017
    R. R. Tolkien.John Ronald loved dragons. He liked to imagine dragons when he was alone, and with his friends, and especially when life got hard or sad. After his mother died and he had to live with a cold-hearted aunt, he looked for dragons. He searched for them at his boarding school. And when he fought in a Great War, he felt as if terrible, destructive dragons were everywhere. But he never actually found one, until one day, when he was a grown man but still very much a boy at heart, when he decided to create one of his own. John Ronald's Dragons, a picture book biography by Caroline McAlister and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, introduces the beloved creator of Middle Earth and author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to a new generation of children who see magic in the world around them.

Two Brothers, Four Hands


Jan Greenberg - 2019
    . . but even more devoted to each other. A Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young PeopleA Capitol Choices Noteworthy TitleEveryone who knew them agreed. Alberto was the genius of the family. His younger brother Diego was his opposite--he didn't care much for books or schoolwork, and he had no idea what he would be when he grew up. But despite their differences, the two brothers shared an intense bond.Alberto Giacometti became one of the iconic artists of the twentieth century, whose tall, spindly sculptures grace the collections of museums around the world. Diego was always at his side, helping and encouraging, and in his spare time creating remarkable pieces of furniture, works of sculpture in their own right.The poignant story of brothers and sculptors Alberto and Diego Giacometti is skillfully brought to life in the hands of multiple Sibert Honor authors Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, and the spectacular artwork of Hadley Hooper.This lavishly illustrated 64-page book includes extensive backmatter, complete with a timeline, source notes, photographs, and an essay on how to look at a Giacometti sculpture.A Horn Book Best Book of the Year A Washington Post Best Children's Book of the YearA Bank Street Best Book of the Year

16 Words: William Carlos Williams & "The Red Wheelbarrow"


Lisa Jean Rogers - 2019
    What do you see? If you are Dr. William Carlos Williams, you see a wheelbarrow. A drizzle of rain. Chickens scratching in the damp earth." The wheelbarrow belongs to Thaddeus Marshall, a street vendor, who every day goes to work selling vegetables on the streets of Rutherford, New Jersey. That simple action inspires poet and doctor Williams to pick up some of his own tools--a pen and paper--and write his most famous poem.In this lovely picture book, young listeners will see how paying attention to the simplest everyday things can inspire the greatest art, as they learn about a great American poet.

My Name Is Georgia: A Portrait by Jeanette Winter


Jeanette Winter - 1998
    While other girls played with toys and braided their hair, Georgia practiced her drawing and let her hair fly free. As an adult, Georgia followed her love of art from the steel canyons of New York City to the vast plains of New Mexico. There she painted all day, and slept beneath the stars at night. Throughout her life Georgia O'Keeffe followed her dreams--and so found her way to become a great American artist.

Brave Jane Austen: Reader, Writer, Author, Rebel


Lisa Pliscou - 2018
    Jane didn’t have much opportunity to go to school but she read everything she could, including the books in her father’s study. And before long, she began to write her own stories, filled with funny, clever, and inventive characters.Today, Austen’s novels ― including Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma ― are widely read around the world. She's recognized as one of the most important and influential writers of all time; about her J.K. Rowling has said, "Jane Austen is the pinnacle to which all authors aspire."

Nonsense! The Curious Story of Edward Gorey


Lori Mortensen - 2020
    As a child, he taught himself to read and skipped several grades before landing at Harvard (after a brief stint in the army). Then he built a name for himself as a popular book illustrator. After that, he went on to publish well over one hundred of his own books, stories that mingled sweetness and innocence, danger and darkness, all mixed with his own brand of silliness. Illustrated with Gorey-like humor and inspiration by Chloe Bristol, this stunning picture book biography about this beloved creator is the first for children.

A Home for Mr. Emerson


Barbara Kerley - 2014
    The more experiments you make the better."Before Ralph Waldo Emerson was a great writer, he was a city boy who longed for the broad, open fields and deep, still woods of the country, and then a young man who treasured books, ideas, and people. When he grew up and set out in the world, he wondered, could he build a life around these things he loved?This moving biography--presented with Barbara Kerley and Edwin Fotheringham's inimitable grace and style--illustrates the rewards of a life well-lived, one built around personal passions: creativity and community, nature and friendship.May it inspire you to experiment and build the life you dream of living.