Themed Books

20+ Picture Book Biographies

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. Thank you!)

Are you looking for biographies for kids to read? If so, make sure to check out these 15+ Biography Book Series for Kids (With Hundreds of Book Biographies to Choose From), along with this post that includes 25+ picture book biographies.

The books I have included here are all labeled as biographies, but some may be better described as “based on the life of . . .” I explained this further in the post with the biography book series for kids list.

Here is what I said there:

Some books are categorized as biographies, but they don’t contain only facts about that person. I attended a picture book meeting with some other authors earlier this year, and we discussed how frustrating this can be. Sometimes, there may be just a small note in the beginning or at the end of the book that says something about the author taking liberties with the story.

This is especially true when it comes to dialogue since there may not be any documentation showing exactly what someone had said in specific situations. In one book that was categorized as a biography, we learned there wasn’t much known about the subject’s childhood, so the author invented that entire portion (which happened to be the majority of the book). So, with that in mind, the books listed here are categorized as biographies, but there may be some that would be better described as “based on the life of . . .”

From 15+ Biography Book Series for Kids (With Hundreds of Book Biographies to Choose From)

Let’s begin our list of 20+ picture book biographies for kids.

20+ Picture Book Biographies

A Super Sticky Mistake: The Story of How Harry Coover Accidentally Invented Super Glue! by Alison Donald and illustrated by Rea Zhai, 2020

Yaba daba! Read about chemist Harry Coover’s accidental creation of cy-an-o-ac-ryl-ate (AKA “sticky stuff”), which he was able to perfect into something very useful called super glue.

Follow this book with a reading of Too Much Glue by Jason Lefebvre and illustrated by Zac Ret, published in 2013.

All the Way to the Top: How One Girl’s Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything by Annette Bay Pimentel and illustrated by Nabi H. Ali, 2020

Read about Jennifer Keelan, who stood up for herself and others with disabilities as a young girl. She decided to not let anything STOP her from climbing the stairs of the U.S. Capitol on hands and knees (since she couldn’t use her wheelchair to ascend the steps). Reporters and bystanders watch as “tiny bits of dirt and rock dig into her skin” and “she drags herself up another step” and then another, all the way to the top!

Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet, 2011

Read about puppeteer Tony Sarg and “the upside-down puppets” that are seen each year in the Macy’s parade.

Before She was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James E. Ransome, 2019

Read about Harriet Tubman before she was “Harriet”. (You can listen to author Lesa Cline-Ransome read this book on YouTube here if you would like.)

Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs: The Story of Ken Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation by Kate Messner and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe, 2018

“It starts with one.” Read about one man named Ken Nedimeyer who used his passion to rebuild coral reefs and start the Coral Restoration Foundation. (According to the book, he once had 30 aquariums in his bedroom!)

Counting the Stars: The Story of Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by Raul Colon, 2019

Read about a “human computer” named Katherine Johnson who used her love of math to become a NASA mathematician.

Digging for Words: Jose Alberto Gutierrez and the Library He Built by Angela Burke Kunkel and illustrated by Paola Escobar, 2020

Read about a garbage collector named Jose Alberto Gutierres who searches for discarded books and starts a library for others to enjoy.

Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, The First Paleontologist by Linda Skeers and illusrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens, 2020

Read about Mary Anning whose curiosity and determination helped her to become a paleontologist, even when others didn’t believe women could be scientists.

(Note: This book does mention millions of years.)

Fauja Signh Keeps Going: The Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon by Simran Jeet Singh and illustrated by Baljinder Kaur, 2020

Read about Fauja Signh who ran his first marathon at the age of 81. And he kept going and became the first person to run a marathon at 100 years of age.

Hello Neighbor: The Kind and Caring World of Mr. Rogers by Matthew Cordell, 2020

“Let’s make the most of this beautiful day” and read about the life of Fred McFeely Rogers, who is more commonly known as Mr. Rogers, and the creation of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Jonas Hanway’s Scurrilous, Scandalous, Shockingly Sensational Umbrella by Josh Cruite and Eileen Ryan, 2020

Read about Jonas Hanway who introduced the idea of using an umbrella to the people of London. A scurrilous, scandalous, and shocking idea at the time!

Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines by Sarah Aronson and illustrated by Robert Neubecker, 2019

Read about Rube Goldberg who drew cartoons of complex creations to perform simple tasks in exaggerated ways.

Even though Rube Goldberg never actually built one of his creations, people today build what has become known as Rube Goldberg machines. Here is a video of the largest Rube Goldberg machine according to the Guinness World Records.

Little Libraries, Big Heroes by Miranda Paul and illustrated by John Parra, 2019

Read about Todd Bol who started the Little Free Library movement and became a literacy superhero.

Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando by Andrea Wang and illustrated by Kana Urbanowicz, 2019

Read about Momofuku Ando who had a desire to create a quick and convenient bowl of noodles to feed hungry communities. His passion, desire, and determination led to the creation of ramen noodle soup.

Noah Webster’s Fighting Words by Tracy Nelson Maurer and illustrated by Mircea Catusanu, 2017

Read about Noah Webster, the man who wrote the first dictionary in the English language. Even though Noah Webster lived from 1758–1843, he supposedly corrected, commented, and edited the text throughout this book. Of course, he didn’t really do that, but it does make the text more interesting and engaging.

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky, 2016

Read some interesting facts about Albert Einstein, such as he didn’t like to wear socks and he started talking at a later age than most children.

(Note: This does mention a smoking pipe.)

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon, 2015

Read about the inspirational true story of a woman named Isatou Ceesay who creatively solves the problem of plastic bags piling up in her community.

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating and illustrated by Mara Alvrez Miguens, 2017

Read about Eugenie Clark, a woman who devoted her life to learning about sharks.

(Note: This book does mention millions of years.)

Sisters and Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Howard Bryant and illustrated by Floyd Cooper, 2018

Read about Venus and Serena Williams, two sisters who became female tennis player champions.

Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Raul Colon

Read about Marie Tharp who created the first map of the Atlantic Ocean floor.

The Boy Whose Head was Filled with Stars: A Life of Edwin Hubble by Isabelle Marnov and illustrated by Devorah Marcero, 2021

Read about Edwin Hubble who pursued seeking answers to his questions about the universe, such as how the universe began and where it came from.

The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons by Natascha Biebow and illustrated by Steven Salreno, 2019

Read about Edwin Binney, the inventor of Crayola crayons, and learn how crayons are made.

The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Brb Rosenstock and illustrated by Mary Grandpre, 2014

Read about Vasya Kandinsky who didn’t paint like a “proper artist.” He heard colors and became one of the first painters of abstract art.

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard and illustrated by Oge Mora, 2020

Read about a woman named Mary Walker who learned to read at the age of 116.

The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter, 2011

Read about Jane Goodall and her life of observing chimpanzees in the wild.

The World is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeanette Winter, 2017

Read about a Muslim woman named Zaha Hadid who became an architect and designed buildings all over the world.

Make sure to check out these 15+ Biography Book Series for Kids (With Hundreds of Book Biographies to Choose From) for additional picture book biographies that are part of a series.

What is your favorite picture book biography? Are there any you like that I didn’t include? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

Themed Books

15+ Biography Book Series for Kids (With Hundreds of Book Biographies to Choose From)

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. Thank you!)

I have enjoyed sharing themed book lists for kids on my website over the last couple of years, but I have never made a list as long as this one.

Who knew there were so many different biography series for kids available? And I didn’t even list them all!

In this post, I have listed more than fifteen biography series for kids to choose from and enjoy. Of course, each series contains multiple books, so this list includes over two hundred biography books for kids (and adults).

So many choices!

Some Considerations

I do have some caveats with this list that I’d like to mention before I share the book titles.

First, some books are categorized as biographies, but they don’t contain only facts about that person. I attended a picture book meeting with some other authors earlier this year, and we discussed how frustrating this can be. Sometimes, there may be just a small note in the beginning or at the end of the book that says something about the author taking liberties with the story.

This is especially true when it comes to dialogue since there may not be any documentation showing exactly what someone had said in specific situations. In one book that was categorized as a biography, we learned there wasn’t much known about the subject’s childhood, so the author invented that entire portion (which happened to be the majority of the book). So, with that in mind, the books listed here are categorized as biographies, but there may be some that would be better described as “based on the life of . . .”

You can’t really believe everything you read online or in books, I guess.

Second, everyone has a worldview. You have a worldview. I have a worldview. We all have a worldview. And, oftentimes, those worldviews are incorporated within books like these. Even if it’s unintentional. For example, consider two authors writing about the same person. One author is enamored by that person, but the other author has a strong distaste for that person. Even if they stick to the facts, the way in which they write and how they present the information may vary. It’s just something to keep in mind as you read about different people in books that have been written by different people and published by different companies.

Third, although my daughters and I have enjoyed reading many of these books, I have not personally read them all. So, I am not necessarily recommending all of these books. I simply wanted to share a list of some possible book biography series for kids. Please read them at your own discretion.

Fourth, if there is a particular person’s biography you are looking for, you may want to try using “cntrl” + “f” and type that person’s name in the search bar. I did not list all of the names of the people, though, so if you don’t find the name of the person you are looking for in this post, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the biography series I have listed don’t have a book about that particular person.

Fifth, affiliate links are included for your convenience, so you can easily find more information about many of the books. (I do make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on one of those links and make a purchase. I did spend many hours putting together this list, and the only compensation I make is from those purchases, so I do greatly appreciate it! Thank you for your support! Even if you don’t make a purchase, thank you for your support by visiting my website!)

Sixth, all of the Christian book series are marked with an asterisk.*

Seventh, since this post only contains biography series, I do hope to put together a list in the future of single picture book biographies (that are not part of a series). In the meantime, you are welcome to check out some of the other themed book lists I have on my website.

Themed Book Lists

Finally, below is the list of biography book series for kids. They are listed in alphabetical order by series. The books within each list may or may not be listed in any particular order. Books that I saw were numbered were listed by number. Otherwise, I listed the books as I found them (or in order of how the pictures loaded). I may not have found all of the books included within each series. So, some of these series may actually contain more books than I listed here. I still hope this list helps in some way.

Happy reading (and learning)!

Amazing Scientist

Read about Dr. Temple Grandin (The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin), Dr. Patricia Bath (The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath), Raye Montague (The Girl with a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague), and Dr. Ella Ochoa (The Astronaut with a Song for the Stars: The Story of Dr. Ella Ochoa) in the Amazing Scientist series written by Julia Finley Mosca and illustrated by Daniel Rieley.

Christian Heroes: Then & Now*

In Christian Heroes: Then & Now gift set 1-5, you can read about Gladys Aylward (Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime), Nate Saint (Nate Saint: On a Wing and a Prayer), Hudson Taylor (Hudson Taylor: Deep in the Heart of China), Amy Carmichael (Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems), and Corrie ten Boom (Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of Angels Den) written by Janet and Geoff Benge.

In Christian Heroes: Then & Now gift set 6-10, you can read about Eric Liddell (Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold), William Carey (William Carey: Obliged to Go), George Muller (George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans), Jim Elliot (Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose), and Mary Slessor (Mary Slessor: Forward into Calabar) written by Janet and Geoff Benge.

In Christian Heroes: Then & Now gift set 11-15, you can read about David Livingstone (David Livingstone: Africa’s Trailblazer), Betty Greene (Betty Greene: Wings to Serve), Adoniram Judson (Adoniram Judson: Bound for Burma), Cameron Townsend (Cameron Townsend: Good News in Every Language), and Jonathan Goforth (Jonathan Goforth: An Open Door in China) written by Janet and Geoff Benge.

In Christian Heroes: Then & Now gift set 16-20, you can read about Lottie Moon (Lottie Moon: Giving Her All for China), John Williams (John Williams: Messenger of Peace), William Booth (William Booth: Soup, Soap, and Salvation), Rowland Bingham (Rowland Bingham: Into Africa’s Interior), and Ida Scudder (Ida Scudder: Healing Bodies, Touching Hearts) written by Janet and Geoff Benge.

In Christian Heroes: Then & Now gift set 21-25, you can read about Lillian Trasher (Lillian Trasher: The Greatest Wonder in Egypt), Wilfred Grenfell (Wilfred Grenfell: Fisher of Men), Florence Young (Florence Young: Mission Accomplished), Loren Cunningham (Loren Cunningham: Into All the World), and Sundar Singh (Sundar Singh: Footprints Over the Mountains) written by Janet and Geoff Benge.

In Christian Heroes: Then & Now gift set 26-30, you can read about C.T. Studd (C.T. Studd: No Retreat), Rachel Saint (Rachel Saint: A Star in the Jungle), Clarence Jones (Clarence Jones: Mr. Radio), Count Zinzendorf (Count Zinzendorf: Firstfruit), and Brother Andrew (Brother Andrew: God’s Secret Agent) written by Janet and Geoff Benge.

In Christian Heroes: Then & Now gift set 31-35, you can read about Jacob DeShazer (Jacob DeShazer: Forgive Your Enemies), David Bussau (David Bussau: Facing the World Head-on), John Wesley (John Wesley: The World His Parish), C.S. Lewis (C. S. Lewis: Master Storyteller), and Isobel Kuhn (Isobel Kuhn: On the Roof of the World) written by Janet and Geoff Benge.

In Christian Heroes: Then & Now gift set 36-40, you can read about Elisabeth Elliot (Elisabeth Elliot: Joyful Surrender), D.L. Moody (D.L. Moody: Bringing Souls to Christ), Paul Brand (Paul Brand: Helping Hands), Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Dietrich Bonhoeffer: In the Midst of Wickedness), and Francis Asbury (Francis Asbury: Circuit Rider) written by Janet and Geoff Benge.

In Christian Heroes: Then & Now gift set 41-45, you can read about Samuel Zwemer (Samuel Zwemer: The Burden of Arabia), Klaus-Dieter John (Klaus-Dieter John: Hope In the Land Of the Incas), Mildred Cable (Mildred Cable: Through the Jade Gate), John Flynn (John Flynn: Into the Never-Never), and Charles Mulli (Charles Mulli: We Are Family) written by Janet and Geoff Benge.

In Christian Heroes: Then & Now gift set 46-50, you can read about Richard Wurmbrand (Richard Wurmbrand: Love Your Enemies), John Newton (John Newton: Change of Heart), Helen Roseveare (Helen Roseveare: Mama Luka), Norman Grubb (Norman Grubb: Mission Builder), and Albert Schweitzer (Albert Schweitzer: Le Grand Docteur) written by Janet and Geoff Benge.

For more buying options, check out Rainbow Resource Center (not an affiliate link).

DK Life Stories

Read about Jane Goodall, Jesse Owens, Albert Einstein, Amelia Earhart, Ada Lovelace, Nelson Mandela, Leonardo da Vinci, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Katherine Johnson, Queen Elizabeth II, Gandhi, Alexander Hamilton, and Florence Nightingale in the DK Life Stories series.

For more buying options, check out Rainbow Resource Center (not an affiliate link).

Do Great Things for God*

Read about Corrie ten Boom (Corrie ten Boom: The Courageous Woman and The Secret Room), Betsey Stockton (Betsey Stockton: The Girl With a Missionary Dream), Gladys Aylward (Gladys Aylward: The Little Woman With a Big Dream), and Betty Greene (Betty Greene: The Girl Who Longed to Fly) in the Do Great Things for God series written by Laura Caputo-Wickham.

Food Heroes

Read about Alice Waters (Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious), Roy Choi (Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix), and Will Allen (Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table) in the Food Heroes series written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.

Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists

Read about the following artists in this series: Eugene Delacroix, James McNeill Whistler, Henri Rousseau, Camille Pissarro, Alexander Calder, Horace Pippin, Rene Magritte, Dorothea Lange, Titian, Francisco Goya, Winslow Homer, Frederic Remington, Giotto, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edward Hopper, Grandma Moses, Raphael, Jacob Lawrence, Paul Gauguin, Marc Chagall, Roy Lichtenstein, Faith Ringgold, El Greco, Pieter Bruegel, Paul Klee, Sandro Boticelli, Diego Rivera, Georges Seurat, Johannes Vermeer, Henri Matisse, Norman Rockwell, Grant Wood, Paul Cezanne, Salvador Dali, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Frida Kahlo, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Georgia O’Keeffe, Rembrandt, Leonardo Da Vinci, Claude Monet, Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent Van Gogh.

For more buying options, check out Rainbow Resource Center (not an affiliate link).

Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers

Read about the following composers in this series: Frederic Chopin, Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Ludwig Van Beethoven, George Handel, PeterTchaikovsky, John Philip Sousa, and Johann Sebastian Bach.

For more buying options, check out Rainbow Resource Center (not an affiliate link).

Heroes of History for Young Readers*

Read about Meriwether Lewis (Meriwether Lewis: Journey Across America), George Washington Carver (George Washington Carver: America’s Scientist), George Washington (George Washington: America’s Patriot), Daniel Boone (Daniel Boone: Bravery on the Frontier), Louis Zamperini (Louis Zamperini: Survivor and Champion), Laura Ingalls Wilder (Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Little House Life), and Clara Barton (Clara Barton: Courage to Serve) in the Heroes of History for Young Readers series published by YWAM Publishing.

Lightkeepers*

The Lightkeepers Boys Box Set includes the following books:

  • Ten Boys Who Changed the World: Brother Andrew; John Newton; Billy Graham; Eric Liddell; William Carey; David Livingstone; Nicky Cruz; Adoniram Judson; George Muller; and Luis Palau
  • Ten Boys Who Used Their Talents: Wilfred Grenfell; C.S. Lewis; James Clerk Maxwell; Ghillean Prance; Paul Brand; Johann Sebastian Bach; Samuel Morse; George Washington Carver; C.T. Studd; and John Bunyan
  • Ten Boys Who Made History: Samuel Rutherford; John Owen; Jonathan Edwards; George Whitefield; Robert Murray McCheyne; Dwight L. Moody; Billy Sunday; Charles H. Spurgeon; Aiden W. Tozer; and Martyn Lloyd–Jones
  • Ten Boys Who Didn’t Give In: Polycarp; Alban; Sir John Oldcastle; Thomas Cranmer; George Wishart; James Chalmers’ Dietrich Bonhoeffer; Nate Saint; Ivan Moiseyev; and Graham Staines
  • Ten Boys Who Made a Difference: Augustine of Hippo; Jan Hus; Martin Luther; Ulrich Zwingli; William Tyndale; Hugh Latimer; John Calvin; John Knox; Lord Shaftesbury; and Thomas Chalmers

The Lightkeepers Girls Box Set includes the following books:

  • Ten Girls Who Changed the World: Isobel Kuhn; Mary Slessor; Joni Eareckson; Corrie Ten Boom; Evelyn Brand; Gladys Aylward; Jackie Pullinger; Amy Carmichael; Elizabeth Fry; and Catherine Booth
  • Ten Girls Who Used Their Talents: Anne Lawson; Selina Countess of Huntingdon; Mildred Cable; Katie Ann Mackinnon; Sarah Edwards; Patricia St John; Helen Roseveare; Harriet Beecher Stowe; Mary Verghese; and Maureen McKenna
  • Ten Girls Who Made History: Mary Jane Kinnaird; Emma Dryer; Florence Nightingale; Lottie Moon; Ida Scudder; Jeanette Li; Henrietta Mears; Bessie Adams; Betty Greene; and Elisabeth Elliot
  • Ten Girls Who Didn’t Give In: Blandina; Perpetua; Lady Jane Grey; Anne Askew; Lysken Dirks; Marion Harvey; Margaret Wilson; Judith Weinberg; Betty Stam; and Esther John)
  • Ten Girls Who Made a Difference: (Monica of Thagaste; Katherine Luther; Susanna Wesley; Ann Judson; Maria Taylor; Susannah Spurgeon; Bethan Lloyd–Jones; Edith Schaeffer; Sabina Wurmbrand; and Ruth Bell Graham

Little Lights*

In Little Lights box set 1, you can read about Amy Carmichael (Amy Carmichael: Can brown eyes be made blue?), Hudson Taylor (Hudson Taylor: Could somebody pass the salt?), Corrie ten Boom (Corrie Ten Boom: Are all of the watches safe?), George Muller (George Müller: Does money grow on trees?), and Helen Roseveare (Helen Roseveare: What’s in the parcel?).

In Little Lights box set 2, you can read about David Livingstone (David Livingstone: Who is the bravest?), John Calvin (John Calvin: What is the truth?), Martin Luther (Martin Luther: What should I do?), Eric Liddell (Eric Liddell: Are you ready?), and Mary Slessor (Mary Slessor: What is it like?).

In Little Lights box set 3, you can read about C. S. Lewis (C.S. Lewis: Can you imagine?), Gladys Aylward (Gladys Aylward: Are you going to stop?), Lottie Moon (Lottie Moon: What do you need?), John Knox (John Knox: Who will save you?) and Charles Spurgeon (Charles Spurgeon: Who Is the Greatest?).

On My Own Biographies

Read about Booker T. Washington, Aunt Clara Brown (Aunt Clara Brown: Official Pioneer), Martha Washington, Alexander Graham Bell, Nathan Hale (Nathan Hale: Patriot Spy), Laura Ingalls Wilder, Leif Eriksson, Florence Nightingale, Jackie Robinson, and Pocahontas in this series.

Ordinary People Change the World

In the Ordinary People Change the World series written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos, you can read about Malala Yousafzai, Oprah Winfrey, I. M. Pei, Frida Kahlo, Benjamin Franklin, Anne Frank, Leonardo da Vinci, Walt Disney, Marie Curie, George Washington, Jane Goodall, Sacagawea, Martin Luther King, Jr., Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein, Amelia Earhart, Abraham Lincoln, and more.

Activities and guides are available for this series here.

The Story of: A Biography Series for New Readers

Read about Thomas Jefferson, Katherine Johnson, Misty Copeland, Benjamin Franklin, Michelle Obama, Eliza Hamilton, Jim Henson, Jackie Robinson, Princess Diana, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, the Wright Brothers, Barack Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Alexander Hamilton, Malala Yousafzai, Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman, Fred Rogers, Helen Keller, John Lewis, Gandhi, Kamala Harris, Ruby Bridges, Nelson Mandela, Neil Armstrong, Leonardo Da Vinci, Frida Kahlo, Simone Biles, George Washington, Marie Curie, Jane Goodall, Anne Frank, and Stan Lee in this series for young readers.

Trailblazer Books*

There are forty books available in the Trailblazer Books series. I have not listed them all, but you can see the full list here.

There are curriculum guides (free at this time) available to go along with the following people (and books): Amy Carmichael (The Hidden Jewel: Introducing Amy Carmichael), Harriet Tubman (Listen for the Whippoorwill: Introducing Harriet Tubman), Martin Luther (Spy for the Night Riders: Introducing Martin Luther), Nate Saint (The Fate of the Yellow Woodbee: Introducing Nate Saint), George Müller (The Bandit of Ashley Downs: Introducing George Müller), David Livingstone (Escape from the Slave Traders: Introducing David Livingstone), Florence Nightingale (The Drummer Boy’s Battle: Introducing Florence Nightingale), and Hudson Taylor (Shanghaied to China: Introducing Hudson Taylor).

See the full list of books from the Trailblazer Books series here (not an affiliate link).

Trailblazers*

In Trailblazers box set 1, you can read about the following evangelists and pioneers: Billy Bray (Billy Bray: Saved From the Deepest Pit), Bill Bright (Bill Bright: Dare to be Different), Billy Graham (Billy Graham: Just get up out of your Seat), David Brainerd (David Brainerd: A Love for the Lost), and Joni Eareckson Tada (Joni Eareckson Tada: Swimming Against the Tide).

In Trailblazers box set 2, you can read about the following missionaries and medics: John G. Paton (John G. Paton: South Sea Island Rescue), Amy Carmichael (Amy Carmichael: Rescuer By Night), Adoniram Judson (Adoniram Judson: Danger on the Streets), Hudson Taylor (Hudson Taylor: An Adventure Begins), and Paul Brand (Paul Brand: The Shoes That Love Made).

In Trailblazers box set 3, you can read about the following preachers and teachers: John Stott, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Charles Spurgeon, George Whitefield, and Johnathan Edwards.

In Trailblazers box set 4, you can read about the following reformers and activists: John Knox, John Calvin, William Wilberforce, John Welch, and John Newton.

In Trailblazers box set 5, you can read about the following heroes and heroines: Corrie ten Boom, Brother Andrew, Richard Wurmbrand, George Müller, and Eric Lidell.

In Trailblazers box set 6, you can read about the following people in these books about arts and science: Michael Faraday, John Bunyan, Fanny Crosby, C.S. Lewis, and Patricia St. John.

In Trailblazers box set 7, you can read about the following American trailblazers: Jim Elliot, Elisabeth Elliot, Betty Greene, D. L. Moody, and Lottie Moon.

Trailblazers

Read about Lin-Manuel Miranda (Trailblazers: Lin-Manuel Miranda: Raising Theater to New Heights), Amelia Earhart (Trailblazers: Amelia Earhart: First Woman Over the Atlantic), Martin Luther King Jr. (Trailblazers: Martin Luther King, Jr.: Fighting for Civil Rights), J.K. Rowling (Trailblazers: J.K. Rowling: Behind the Magic), Stephen Hawking (Trailblazers: Stephen Hawking: A Life Beyond Limits), Simone Biles (Trailblazers: Simone Biles: Golden Girl of Gymnastics), Albert Einstein (Trailblazers: Albert Einstein: The Greatest Mind in Physics), Beyoncé (Trailblazers: Beyoncé: Queen of the Spotlight), Neil Armstrong (Trailblazers: Neil Armstrong: First Man on the Moon), Jackie Robinson (Trailblazers: Jackie Robinson: Breaking Barriers in Baseball), Harriet Tubman (Trailblazers: Harriet Tubman: A Journey to Freedom), and Jane Goodall (Trailblazers: Jane Goodall: A Life with Chimps) in this Trailblazers series.

Who Was/ Who Is

I included pictures for 48 books from the Who Was? series, but there are over 200 titles available. You can see the list of titles here on the Penguin Random House website.

There is also a What is the Story of? series (found here) and a What Was? series (found here) and a Where Is? series (found here) that offer even more information about a variety of topics and places.

I searched for a while but have had trouble finding box sets for the Who Was? series. The only box set I found on Amazon is this What Is? America box set, which includes the following twenty-five books (with a mixture of books from the Who Was? series, Where Is? series, and What Was? series).

1. What Was the First Thanksgiving?
2. What Was the Boston Tea Party?
3. Who Was George Washington?
4. What Is the Declaration of Independence?
5. What Is the Constitution?
6. Where Is the White House?
7. What Is the Statue of Liberty?
8. What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition?
9. What Was the Underground Railroad?
10. Who Was Abraham Lincoln?
11. What Was the Battle of Gettysburg?
12. Who Was Sojourner Truth?
13. Who Was Sitting Bull?
14. What Was the Wild West?
15. Where Is the Grand Canyon?
16. Where Is Mount Rushmore?
17. Who Was Amelia Earhart?
18. What Was the Great Depression?
19. Who Was Eleanor Roosevelt?
20. What Was Pearl Harbor?
21. What Was the March on Washington?
22. Who Was Neil Armstrong?
23. Who Was Cesar Chavez?
24. What Is the Women’s Rights Movement?
25. What Were the Twin Towers?

Obviously, I did not include individual links for all of the books in this series, but I hope the links and pictures I did provide help guide you in the right direction if you want more information about them.

Please share any other recommendations for book biography series in the comments below.

Ramblings · Writing Appearances

10 Books for Young Writers

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Last year, I had the opportunity to have two courses I created published on SchoolhouseTeachers.com.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com offers over 400 different courses for preschool through high school along with many other resources all for one low price for the entire family.

My daughters have really enjoyed taking some of the courses available on SchoolhouseTeachers.com over the past year, which I have been sharing on a Pinterest board I have labeled as Completed SchoolhouseTeachers.com Courses.

One of my daughters has been keeping busy with some of the writing courses available on SchoolhouseTeachers.com.

So far, she has completed Paint with Your Words, Writing Advertising Copy, Into the Elements, Exploring Creative Writing, and Creating Dynamic Characters. I hope to have her give me a summary of each of the courses in her own words when she is done with school for the year.

Last month, SchoolhouseTeachers.com added seven new courses to their website, which included a writing course I created called Weekly Writing Challenge.

The Weekly Writing Challenge discusses the importance of writing, choosing a place to write, points of view, brainstorming, characters, settings, problems and challenges, finding solutions, dialogue, beginnings, endings, details, synonyms, verb tenses, nouns and verbs, showing instead of telling, genres, different writing examples, and revising and rewriting with a total of 34 writing challenges.

If you have a child interested in writing or learning more about what authors (and illustrators) do but don’t have a SchoolhouseTeachers.com account, then you may want to check out these books about writing, authors, and illustrators.

Books about Writing

Look at my Book: How Kids Can Write and Illustrate Terrific Books by Loreen Leedy

Look at My Book goes through the process a young boy, girl, and even a dog go through to create their own books. It discusses how to get ideas, brainstorming, genres, research, characters, setting, rough drafts, rough sketches, titles, and more in a fun (and busy) format. After reading this book (intended for ages 4-7/ preschool-3rd grade), children may be eager to create their own fun stories to share with others.

Pick a Picture, Write a Story! by Kristen McCurry

Pick a Picture, Write a Story! is a fun book to get some creative juices flowing for story writing. Throughout the book, pictures are presented with questions to create some story ideas. The book also discusses what stories are, the parts of a story, points of view, characters, plots, challenges, settings, dialogue, kinds of stories, action, brainstorming, and putting it all together. It is recommended for children ages 4-8/ preschool-2nd grade; however, this is a great book for anyone stuck with writer’s block.

You Can Write an Amazing Journal by Jennifer Fandel

You Can Write an Amazing Journal is intended for a younger audience. It talks about finding a place to write, materials needed to journal, “rules” to journaling, and finding the time to journal. It provides multiple exercises to get kids to use their senses, find facts, and get them thinking about writing.

So, You Want to be a Writer?: How to Write, Get Published, and Maybe Even Make it Big! by Vicki Hambleton & Cathleen Greenwood

So, You Want to be a Writer? is intended for ages 8-12 according to the page for it on Amazon. It discusses what it is like to be a writer, things needed to be a writer, genres, topics, writing exercises to overcome writer’s block, writing and rewriting, getting published, information about choosing writing as a career, and resources for writers.

Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter

Spilling Ink is intended for tweens, teens, and even adults. It discusses first drafts, where to find inspiration, characters, story ideas, plot, voices, setting, suspense, dialogue, descriptions, revising, journaling, keeping the story interesting, writer’s block, how to approach criticism, and how to develop a writing habit.

Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink by Gail Carson Levine

Writer to Writer is intended for grades 3-6 according to Amazon’s listing, but I think an older audience would appreciate it possibly even more. It discusses advice for writers, character development, plot information, parts of a story, word tenses, and poetry.

Seize the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write by Victoria Hanley

Seize the Story is intended for tweens, teens, and maybe even adults who want to write novels. The chapters include: freeing your imagination, creating characters, beginnings, setting, the heart of a writer, writing dialogue, showing and telling, plotting and scheming, conflicts, middles and ends, polishing your writing, point of view, into the future, interviews with authors, and questions and answers. My daughters both really liked this one. They said it really made them want to write!

Books about Authors

What Do Authors and Illustrators Do? (2 Books in One) by Eileen Christelow

What Do Authors and Illustrators Do? really is “2 Books in One” as the cover says. It has combined the books What Do Authors Do? and What Do Illustrators Do? into one easy to read book. There is simple text on each page along with illustrations similar to a comic strip that include two authors, a talking dog, and a talking cat. Although this book is rated for ages 4-7/ preschool-3rd grade, there is a lot of useful information for older kids (and maybe even adults) to learn.

What Do Authors Do? goes through the process authors experience as they publish a book. It shows how two authors may have the same idea but end up with different stories, how difficult writing is at times, how authors may gather information, how long it may take for a story to be finished (more than what a lot of people may think), how authors persist even after receiving rejection letters, how authors edit their work (again!), and more.

What Do Illustrators Do? goes through the illustrator’s process. It shows how two illustrators who are illustrating a similar book may end up with much different illustrations due to their techniques and imaginations. Through the story, children learn about creating a dummy, sizes and shapes of books, sketches, point of view, using models, styles of drawing, designing books, lines, textures, artist tools, cool colors vs warm colors, and more.

The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story Collection Edited by Colby Sharp

The Creativity Project is compiled of writing prompts some authors and illustrators had written, drawn, or photographed and the responses from other authors and illustrators they swapped the prompts with. Some of the writing prompts and responses are rather funny and creative!

Our Story Begins: Your Favorite Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally: Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew as Kids Edited by Elissa Brent Weissman

Our Story Begins includes pictures, stories, and snippets from the childhood of multiple authors and illustrators including Gordon Korman, Gail Carson Levine, Candace Fleming, Kwame Alexander, and more.

Journals for Writers

Adventure Writing Prompt Journal 

Of course, in order to be a writer, one must actually write. This writing prompt journal has 52 pictures along with writing prompts to spark the imagination and get writers writing.

Reading Journal 

Writers should read, too! These reading journals include a personalized table of contents, space to record a total of 100 books, and more. The cat cover shown in the picture above is actually one of multiple cover options available. (Click here to see all of the available cover options in one location.)

Do you have any book recommendations about writing?

Events · Ramblings

17 Books to Prepare for Upcoming Conference

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I greatly appreciate all purchases you make using these links. Thank you!)

I had the pleasure of attending the SCBWI Iowa Adventures in Nonfiction Conference earlier this year, which I really enjoyed. I read multiple nonfiction children’s books written and/or published by the speakers before attending the conference. Obviously, this is not a requirement, but it made me feel more prepared and gave me an idea of the various writing styles of the speakers.

Well, I have been busy doing some preconference research again in preparation for the SCBWI Iowa Grow Your Picture Book Garden Conference, which is already less than a week away! More information about the upcoming conference can be found on the SCBWI Iowa’s website here.

To prepare, I went to my local library and checked out all the fiction children’s books I could find written by the speakers. I was disappointed I didn’t find Chicken Wants a Nap by Tracy Marchini at my local library, but I did enjoy reading through Tracy Marchini’s blog posts on her website. I even signed up for The Quacktory.

Below is a list of the books written by the upcoming speakers I was able to check out and enjoy from the library.

I added a short summary of each of the books below their cover and title for you to have a little more information. Unfortunately, my summaries aren’t nearly as creative or interesting as the descriptions you will find listed within each of the books. For that reason, I have added links to Amazon for each of the books where you can read their descriptions and reviews.

Just so you know, these are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you if you choose to click on them and make a purchase. With that being said, you may be able to find them at your local library to read for free.

I dare you to read all of these books without laughing out loud at least once!

Fiction Children’s Books by Jill Esbaum 

How to Grow a Dinosaur

An older dinosaur sibling learns all about welcoming a new baby dinosaur to the family. Baby dino eats, burps, sleeps, and even poops, but she needs help learning how to do a variety of activities such as playing peek-a-boo and roaring.

If a T.Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party

This book will help you be prepared in the event a T. Rex decides to show up at your birthday party. A T. Rex may not be very good at some of the games such as water balloon toss and swinging at a pinata thanks to those little arms, but he does do a great job creating a mess and scaring away some guests.

I am Cow, Hear Me Moo! 

Nadine is a fearless cow, or so she tells her friends. She even offers to prove it, which leads to some unexpected adventures through the woods. Is she really as fearless as she claims to be?

I Hatched!

A baby killdeer hatches and discovers its new surroundings while learning more about itself. It runs, examines itself in a pond, sings, admires its feathers, attempts to get lunch, and plans to teach its newly hatched sister all it had learned on its first day in the world.

Elwood Bigfoot Wanted: Birdie Friends!

Elwood Bigfoot does many things alone, but he wants to be friends with the birdies. He attempts to befriend the birdies, but he does not have any success no matter how hard he tries. Being a large creature can be scary for little birdies. Finally Elwood Bigfoot and the birdies become friends, and he is no longer alone.

Tom’s Tweet

Tom the cat thinks he sees a treat in the grass, but he decides the little bird is too small to eat. Thus begins Tom’s adventure of trying to rescue the poor little creature, much to the dismay of the little bird’s protective momma. Doesn’t the momma know a cat must carry a bird in its mouth while climbing a tree?

Teeny Tiny Toady

Teeny watches helplessly as her momma is caught and placed in a bucket by a young human boy. She hops, flops, plops, and slops as fast as she can to tell her big brothers the news. They go to rescue mom but also end up in trouble. Teeny realizes even though she is a tiny toad, she doesn’t need to be big or muscular to come up with a great idea to rescue her entire family.

Fiction Children’s books by Tammi Sauer


Chicken Dance 

Marge and Lola are two chickens determined to win the barnyard talent show which offers the coveted grand prize of tickets to Elvis Poultry. Unfortunately, Marge and Lola don’t know what their talent should be. That doesn’t stop them from trying and failing many not-so-well thought out ideas. Finally, they decide they will have to “wing it” at the talent show. Thankfully, they are not too “chicken” to “bawk and roll” onstage. Even though they don’t officially win the talent show, they earn something even better.


Mr. Duck Means Business 

Mr. Duck enjoys a schedule and his time alone. He gets bothered when all the other barn animals want to jump, splash, and be noisy in his peaceful pond. After a while, though, he realizes being alone all the time can get really lonely. Schedules are good but so is time spent having fun with friends.


Princess in Training 

Princess Viola is not like all the other princesses. She splashes, karate-chops, and skateboards, but that is not how a proper princess should act. Princess Viola enters Camp Princess to learn proper princess etiquette. Being prim and proper doesn’t seem to work for Princess Viola, and she worries she is a “royal failure”. That is until her skills come in handy and save the day.


I Love Cake! 

Moose and his friends love cake. Unfortunately, Moose loves cake so much he eats it all by himself without sharing. This, of course, does not make his friends happy especially since the cake was a birthday cake for a friend (not him). Will Moose be able to restore his friendship with his cake-loving friends?

Your Alien

What would you do if an alien landed in your yard? You would want to keep him, wouldn’t you? This would lead to some fun adventures (after you tell your parents, of course) along with a few messes. Once you are all tucked in to bed with your little alien, you will realize he is homesick. Thankfully, you are brilliant (just like your lights), and you are able to get his parent’s attention for an “out of this world” family reunion.

Me Want Pet!

Cave boy really wants a pet. No matter how hard he tries to find the perfect pet, there is always some excuse for him to not be able to keep it. That is until all of his past attempts prove worthy of being a part of the family.

Ginny Louise and the School Showdown

Truman Elementary has a bunch of troublemakers who wreak havoc on the school. They are destructive critters who do not know what to do when little Ginny Louise becomes a new student. She is nothing like them. She doesn’t scowl or growl. She paints, sings, learns, and hears things in her own way. Her kindness and actions turn the bad bunch into a pretty good bunch of students and friends.

Roar! 

A young boy claims to be a fierce dragon, but a couple of real dragons inform him he isn’t really a scary dragon. They even go as far as to say he is “really cute”, which makes the young boy upset. He wants to be toothy, fierce, and fire-breathing. The dragons comfort him by telling him all of the things he is able do. Unfortunately, the dragons realize all of those things are things they can’t do because they are dragons, which makes them upset. Thankfully, the boy is able to figure out some activities all three of them can do together as more than just a boy and two dragons.

Fiction Children’s Books by Charlotte Gunnufson

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Halloween Hustle

A rhyming story of a clumsy skeleton dancing the Halloween Hustle as he travels to a Halloween party. He is joined by all the other monsters along the way. The skeleton’s clumsiness leads to many falls, repairs, and a new friend.

Prince and Pirate

Prince and Pirate are two fish completely content in their own fishbowls until “the dreadful journey”. They are plopped into the same fishtank. Prince and Pirate each have their own lingo, and they don’t get along with each other at all. That is until a dogfish enters the tank.

Reading through all of these books made me even more excited for the upcoming conference. These ladies are all very talented and creative. I am really looking forward to learning something from each of them.

Have you ever been to a writing conference? If so, what is one tip you learned?

 

Ramblings

Summer Reading Programs Ending for the Summer

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase after clicking on a link. Thank you!

My daughters absolutely love reading! In the past, they have been a part of a library summer reading program. This year, they decided to take part in the library’s summer reading program, Barnes and Noble’s summer reading program, and Half Price Books’ summer reading program. Now that the summer is coming to an end, the summer reading programs are also coming to an end. We have turned in all of their reading logs and tracking sheets, and they were able to get a lot of wonderful prizes due to their love of reading.

They each chose a free new book from a selection of books through Barnes and Noble’s summer reading program.

Barnes and Noble summer reading program prizes

Half Price Books offered a $5 coupon to each of them for completing their summer reading program. Since the coupons were not allowed to be combined and required a minimum of a $5 purchase before tax (no $4.99 book), we spent well over an hour searching through Half Price Books for them to choose which books they wanted. They also wanted to make sure that the books they brought home weren’t books that they could easily get from the library, so we spent quite a bit of time on my phone searching the library’s book catalog online to see what books were/weren’t available. I told them that I would pay up to $1 each beyond the $5 for any books that they chose, and they would have to pay for anything beyond that. It turned out to be a fun math lesson. They were excited to find a stack of clearance books for only $0.50 each that they were interested in. They ended up coming home with a total of 12 books, and I only had to pay $0.52 for one and $0.49 for the other (so they both kept it under the $1 each over the $5 coupon).

Half Price Books summer reading program prizes

The library summer reading program was a lot of fun! In addition to two free books, they received free tickets to a zoo, free tickets to a children’s museum, free tickets to a baseball game, free tickets to a local pool, free kids meals at various restaurants, and a few small activity packs. We won’t be able to use all of the tickets since some of the activities are hours away and only on certain dates, but we will definitely enjoy many of them.

summer reading program prize

We were also entertained during numerous programs that the library offered for free throughout the summer. We learned about places to visit, science experiments, bubbles, various animals (even touched a snake, a lizard, and a guinea pig), and more.

Did you know that if you put Pyrex glass inside of vegetable oil in a clear container, the glass is practically invisible? This reminded me of my book Jobs of a Preschooler when the preschooler is a magician trying to make things disappear.

The biggest problem with all of these wonderful summer reading programs is that I need to find a place to put all of these great books! We have become rather creative in our house using half walls and random places as book shelves (in addition to the books cases that we do have). With all of the books that we already have in our house, it amazes me that we still end up at the library at least once a week!

Now that the summer reading programs are coming to an end, we may sign up for the Pizza Hut reading program that they offer throughout the school year. (If you are interested, you can find more information here.) We did this last year, and my daughters were each able to get a free slice of pizza each month during the school year.

It seemed as though yesterday was “book day” because after we visited Barnes and Noble and Half Price Books (to collect my daughters’ books from the summer reading programs), we stopped at a book signing event with multiple authors in various genres. It was a free event open to the public nearby, so I really wanted to check it out. I didn’t go as an author to sell any of my books (they did pay a fee to be there), but we went simply to walk around the various tables, talk to authors, and see the books that they had to offer.  All of the authors that I met were very friendly, and I was able to ask a lot of questions. I received a lot of information and came home with a few new ideas.

Have a wonderful day!