Category Archives: Biographies
The Scraps Book: notes from a colorful life
Call #: J 741.64092 Ehler
by Lois Ehlert
The renowned Caldecott Honoree and illustrator of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom provides a moving, intimate, and inspiring inside look at her colorful picture book career.
Lois Ehlert always knew she was an artist. Her parents encouraged her from a young age by teaching her how to sew and saw wood and pound nails, and by giving her colorful art supplies. They even gave her a special spot to work that was all her own.
Today, many years and many books later, Lois takes readers and aspiring artists on a delightful behind-the-scenes tour of her books and her book-making process. Part fascinating retrospective, part moving testament to the value of following your dreams, this richly illustrated picture book is sure to inspire children and adults alike to explore their own creativity.
Phenomenal Female Entrepreneurs
Call #: J 338.09252 Bry
by Jill Bryant
Meet ten hard-working and accomplished entrepreneurs from the U.S., Canada, and around the world. These leaders are taking charge, creating new businesses, and holding down top-tier executive positions. From Madam C.J. Walker, who built up her own hair care company in the early 1900s, to Anita Roddick, socially conscious founder of The Body Shop, these ground-breaking women led companies, helped others prosper, and brought about positive change.
Entrepreneurs working today include Naina Lal Kidwai, a high-profile investment banker from India, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and Susan Mashibe, a Tanzanian aircraft pioneer. Brimming with enthusiasm and full of useful tips, these women teach us to be bold, take charge, and strive for success.
Reporter in Disguise: the intrepid Vic Steinberg
Call #: J 070.92 Stein-W
by Christine Welldon
“Who was Vic Stein? A man who enjoyed a pint of beer at the rugby match? A young woman who worked behind the counter at a local department store? A seamstress in a sweatshop? Yes—she could be any and all of these characters, depending on the story she was chasing for her popular column in the Toronto News.
Over 100 years ago, Vic Stein was breaking ground. She was one of the New Women, a Bachelor Girl who pursued a career in investigative journalism— hardly the type of lifestyle for an upper-middle class young lady. But she had to be stealthy, secretive, and cunning if she wanted her scoop.
There are many details we do not know about this secretive and feisty journalist—we don’t even know her real name!—but one thing we know for sure: Vic Steinberg would be laughing if she knew that decades after her death, people are still wondering about her and trying to solve the puzzle that was her life.”
On a Beam of Light: a story of Albert Einstein
Call #: J 530.092 Einst-B
by Jennifer Berne
pictures by Vladimir Radunsky
“A boy rides a bicycle down a dusty road. But in his mind, he envisions himself traveling at a speed beyond imagining, on a beam of light. This brilliant mind will one day offer up some of the most revolutionary ideas ever conceived. From a boy endlessly fascinated by the wonders around him, Albert Einstein ultimately grows into a man of genius recognized the world over for profoundly illuminating our understanding of the universe. Jennifer Berne and Vladimir Radunsky invite the reader to travel along with Einstein on a journey full of curiosity, laughter, and scientific discovery. Parents and children alike will appreciate this moving story of the powerful difference imagination can make in any life.”
Who says Women can’t be Doctors? The story of Elizabeth Blackwell
Call #: J 610.92 Black-S
by Tanya Lee Stone
illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
“In the 1830s, when a brave and curious girl named Elizabeth Blackwell was growing up, women were supposed to be wives and mothers. Some women could be teachers or seamstresses, but career options were few. Certainly no women were doctors.
But Elizabeth refused to accept the common beliefs that women weren’t smart enough to be doctors, or that they were too weak for such hard work. And she would not take no for an answer. Although she faced much opposition, she worked hard and finally—when she graduated from medical school and went on to have a brilliant career—proved her detractors wrong. This inspiring story of the first female doctor shows how one strong-willed woman opened the doors for all the female doctors to come.”
Call #: J 782.421649092 JayZ-S
by Richard Spilsbury
“Why did Shawn Carter choose the stage name “Jay-Z”?
How did Jay-Z change his music to appeal to a wider audience?
What types of businesses make up his empire?
You may be familiar with his music, but how much do you know about Jay-Z the businessman? Jay-Z rose from humble beginnings on the mean streets of New York to become the head of an enormous business empire. Discover how he became involved with the hip-hop scene, and why he decided to start his own recording company. After achieving success as a recording artist, he branched out into clothing, films, restaurants, and even cars. Many of his ventures have been successful; a few have been failures-but they have all made the headlines.
The Titans of Business series looks at some of the most famous and successful businesspeople in the world. Starting with their childhood and early projects, these information-packed biographies trace the path they followed to become successful. Each book includes hints and tips on how to become an entrepreneur yourself.”
Who was Roald Dahl?
Call #: J 823.914 Dahl-K
by True Kelley
illustrated by Stephen Marchesi
“Roald Dahl is one of the most famous children’s book authors ever. Now in this Who Was . . . ? biography, children will learn of his real-life adventures. A flying ace for the British Air Force, he was married to an Academy Award-winning actress. He also wrote books and screenplays for adults. Entertaining and readable, this biography has 80 black-and-white illustrations.”
Call #: J 968.065092 Mande-N
by Kadir Nelson
“One day when Nelson Mandela was nine years old, his father died and he was sent from his village to a school far away from home, to another part of South Africa. In Johannesburg, the country’s capital, Mandela saw fellow Africans who were poor and powerless. He decided then that he would work to protect them. When the government began to keep people apart based on the color of their skin, Mandela spoke out against the law and vowed to fight hard in order to make his country a place that belonged to all South Africans.
“Kadir Nelson tells the story of Mandela, a global icon, in poignant verse and glorious illustrations. It is the story of a young boy’s determination to change South Africa and of the struggles of a man who eventually became the president of his country by believing in equality for people of all colors. Readers will be inspired by Mandela’s triumph and his lifelong quest to create a more just world.”
Helen’s Big World: the life of Helen Keller
Call #: J 362.41092 Kelle-R
by Doreen Rappaport
illustrated by Matt Tavares
“This picturebook biography is an excellent and accessible introduction for young readers to learn about one of the world’s most influential luminaries. With her signature style of prose laced with stirring quotes, Doreen Rappaport brings to life Helen Keller’s poignant narrative. Acclaimed illustrator Matt Tavares beautifully captures the dynamism and verve of Helen Keller’s life and legacy, making Helen’s Big World an unforgettable portrait of a woman whose vision for innovation and progress changed America—and the world—forever.”
Who was Steve Jobs?
Call #: J 338.76004092 Jobs-P
by Pam Pollack and Meg Belviso
illustrated by John O’Brien
“Who was Steve Jobs?
- a boy who loved to build and fix things
- a man who showed up barefoot to business meetings
- a genius who changed the way the world communicates
Find out more about the real Steve Jobs in this fun and exciting illustrated biography!”
Roll On: Rick Hansen wheels around the world
Call #: J 362.43092 Hanse-M
by Ainslie Manson
illustrated by Ron Lightburn
“As Rick Hansen wheels around the globe on his incredible Man in Motion World Tour, the children he meets are encouraged to dream their own dreams and work to make them come true. Readers also discover little-known facts about the great journey. They learn that Rick wheeled the equivalent of three marathons a day and went through 94 pairs of gloves. And they learn about the gift of a song that Rick and his team sang or hummed mile after mile. The lively text and enchanting illustrations combine to bring to life Rick’s amazing feat and the impact it has had on children everywhere. Roll On is an inspirational story for any child who has had to overcome a disability, has a friend or sibling who lives with a disability, or who has big dreams for life.”
Paiute Princess: the story of Sarah Winnemucca
Call #: J 979.0049745769 Hopki-R
by Deborah Kogan Ray
“Born into the Northern Paiute tribe of Nevada in 1844, Sarah Winnemucca straddled two cultures: the traditional life of her people, and the modern ways of her grandfather’s white friends. Sarah was smart and good at languages, so she was able to link the worlds. As she became older, this made her a great leader. Sarah used condemning letters, fiery speeches, and her autobiography, Life Among the Piutes, to provide detailed accounts of her people’s turmoil through years of starvation, unjust relocations, and violent attacks. With sweeping illustrations and extensive backmatter, including hand-drawn maps, a chronology, archival photographs, an author’s notes, and additional resource information, Deborah Kogan Ray offers a remarkable look at an underrepresented historical figure.”
Call #: J 520.92 Galil-C
by Bonnie Christensen
“Acclaimed author-illustrator Bonnie Christensen adopts the voice of Galileo and lets him tell his own tale in this outstanding picture book biography. The first person narration gives this book a friendly, personal feel that makes Galileo’s remarkable achievements and ideas completely accessible to young readers. And Christensen’s artwork glows with the light of the stars he studied.
Galileo’s contributions were so numerous—the telescope! the microscope!—and his ideas so world-changing—the sun-centric solar system!—that Albert Einstein called him “the father of modern science.” But in his own time he was branded a heretic and imprisoned in his home. He was a man who insisted on his right to pursue the truth, no matter what the cost—making his life as interesting and instructive as his ideas.”
The Amazing Harry Kellar: great American magician
Call #: J 793.8092 Kella-J
by Gail Jarrow
“Presenting the amazing Harry Kellar! The first magician to receive international fame! The most well-known illusionist at the turn of the twentieth century! The model for the Wizard of Oz! Author Gail Jarrow follows Kellar from a magician’s assistant traveling and performing across the United States during the Civil War to an international superstar with a show of his own, entertaining emperors, kings, and presidents. Jarrow uses Kellar’s own words and images—his amazing four-color promotional posters—to tell his riveting story in this first Kellar biography for young readers. And she reveals the science behind Kellar’s illusions and explores nineteenth-century entertainment and transportation as well as the history of magic, spiritualism, and séances.”
Bon Appetit!: the delicious life of Julia Child
Call #: J 641.5092 Child-H
by Jessie Hartland
“In a starred review, Publishers Weekly raves, “Chef and TV personality Julia Child likely would have delighted in and hooted over this wide-ranging picture-book biography…. Readers young and old will devour this fete pour les yeux.”
Follow Julia Child—chef, author, and television personality—from her childhood in Pasadena, California, to her life as a spy in WWII, to the cooking classes she took in Paris, to the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, to the funny moments of being a chef on TV. This is a comprehensive and enchanting picture book biography, told in many panels and jam-packed with lively, humorous, and child-friendly details. Young chefs and Julia Child fans will exclaim, “ooooh la la,” about this book, which is as energetic and eccentric as the chef herself.”
Rachel Carson: and her book that changed the world
Call #: J 570.92 Carso-L
by Laurie Lawlor
illustrated by Laura Beingessner
“Once you are aware of the wonder and beauty of earth, you will want to learn about it,” wrote Rachel Carson, the pioneering environmentalist. Rachel found many adventurous ways to study nature. She went diving to investigate coral reefs and tracked alligators through the Florida Everglades on a rumbling “glades buggy”. However, one of the bravest things she did was to write and publish Silent Spring, a book pointing out the dangerous effects of chemicals on the living world. Powerful men tried to stop publication of the book, but Rachel and her publishers persisted, and Silent Spring went on to become the book that woke people up to the harmful impact humans were having on our planet.”
First Girl Scout: the life of Juliette Gordon Low
Call #: J 369.463092 Low-W
by Ginger Wadsworth
“Just in time for the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts in 2012, a lavishly illustrated account of the fascinating life of the woman who started it all.
Juliette (Daisy) Gordon Low was a remarkable woman with ideas that were ahead of her time. She witnessed important eras in U.S. history, from the Civil War and Reconstruction to westward expansion to post–World War I. And she made history by founding the first national organization to bring girls from all backgrounds into the out-of-doors. Daisy created controversy by encouraging them to prepare not only for traditional homemaking but also for roles as professional women—in the arts, sciences, and business—and for active citizenship outside the home. Her group also welcomed girls with disabilities at a time when they were usually excluded.”
Just being Audrey
Call #: J 791.43028092 Hepbu-C
by Margaret Cardillo
illustrated by Julia Denos
“From Roman Holiday to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, when Audrey Hepburn starred in a movie, she lit up the screen. Her unique sense of fashion, her grace, and, most important, her spirit made her beloved by generations. But her life offscreen was even more luminous. As a little girl growing up in Nazi-occupied Europe, she learned early on that true kindness is the greatest measure of a person—and it was a lesson she embodied as she became one of the first actresses to use her celebrity to shine a light on the impoverished children of the world through her work with UNICEF.
This is Audrey Hepburn as a little girl, an actress, an icon, an inspiration; this is Audrey just being Audrey.”
Winston Churchill: British soldier, writer, statesman
Call #: J 941.084092 Churc-H
by Brenda Haugen
“Winston Churchill is known as one of the greatest statesmen in world history. From troubled political beginnings, Churchill reached the height of his fame as the heroic prime minister of the United Kingdom during World War II. A celebrated author, Churchill won the 1953 Nobel Prize in literature. Churchill was also a noted soldier, speaker, painter, and war reporter.”
All the Way to America: the story of a big Italian family and a little shovel
Call #: J 813.54 Yacca
by Dan Yaccarino
“This is the story of four generations of an Italian American family. It begins with an immigrant who came through Ellis Island with big dreams, a small shovel, and his parents’ good advice: “Work hard, but remember to enjoy life, and never forget your family.”
Now, many years later, the man’s great-grandson, Dan Yaccarino, tells how he succeeded, and how the little shovel has been passed from father to son—along with the good advice.
It’s a story that captures the experience of so many American families. One that will have kids asking their parents and grandparents, where did we come from? Tell me our story.”