Picture Book Biographies: Book Lovers

The people in this latest round of books come from different eras, but something they have in common is the value they placed on knowledge and the power in their words.

Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington by Jabari Asim; illustrated by Bryan Collier (his illustrations for Trombone Shorty received an honor and an award this year)
“Born into slavery, young Booker T. Washington could only dream of learning to read and write. After emancipation, Booker began a five-hundred-mile journey, mostly on foot, to Hampton Institute, taking his first of many steps towards a college degree. When he arrived, he had just fifty cents in his pocket and a dream about to come true.”–Amazon.com.

Frederick Douglass: A Noble Life by David A. Adler
When, in 1879, a bust in his likeness was placed at the University of Rochester, Frederick Douglass wrote: “Incidents of this character do much amaze me. It is not, however, the height to which I have risen, but the depth from which I have come that amazes me.” This biography tells the story of his ascent from slavery.

Frederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass by Doreen Rappaport; illustrated by London Ladd
“Shares the life of the abolitionist, including his life as a slave, how he learned to read even though it was illegal for him to do so, and his work speaking out against slavery.” – (Baker & Taylor)

Howard Thurman’s Great Hope by Kai Jackson Issa; illustrated by Arthur L. Dawson
“A biography of Reverend Howard Thurman, who overcame adversity in his youth to pursue his dream of education and ultimately become a renowned African American theologian and civil rights leader”–Provided by publisher.

A Man for All Seasons: The Life of George Washington Carver by Stephen Krensky; paintings by Wil Clay
Profiles the African American scientist George Washington Carver, who not only put the peanut on the map, but was also one of the first advocates of recycling.

Nikki Grimes by Jill C. Wheeler
A study of the life of African American poet Nikki Grimes.  (You can find a variety of picture books, chapter books, and poetry books by Nikki Grimes in the children’s collection.)

Phillis’s Big Test by Catherine Clinton; illustrated by Sean Qualls
“In 1773, Phillis Wheatley, who used the power of words to change her life, published a book of poetry, but, because she was a slave, was forced to take a test to prove that she was the actual author of these poems.” – (Baker & Taylor)

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate
“In the nineteenth century, North Carolina slave George Moses Horton taught himself to read and earned money to purchase his time, though not his freedom. Horton became the first African American to be published in the South, protesting slavery in the form of verse.” – (Peachtree Pub Ltd)

With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School by Suzanne Slade; illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
“Booker T. Washington had an incredible passion for learning. Born a slave, he taught himself to read. When the Civil War ended, Booker finally fulfilled his dream of attending school. After graduation, he was invited to teach in Tuskegee, Alabama. Finding many eager students, but no school, Booker set out to build his own school–brick by brick”– Provided by publisher.

Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illustrated by James E. Ransome
Words Set Me Free is the inspiring story of young Frederick Douglass’s path to freedom through reading”– Provided by publisher.  This title is also available as an ebook.
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3 responses to “Picture Book Biographies: Book Lovers

  1. Great list of books. Thank you so much!

  2. I love picture book biographies; these look like great choices!

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