I am delighted to share my 10 picture books. Thank you to Mandy Robek and Cathy Mere for developing this great way to share picture books!
Like many, I started the search early and got lost in piles of wonderful reading. The 10 I’ve selected to share will serve double duty as we start the school year addressing both keeping a positive mindset and examples our first reading genre, biography. They each share a story of perseverance in personal interests that the person continued learning and studying either through their work or as a hobby for the joy of learning.
Earmuffs for Everyone! by Meghan McCarthy. Shares the story of continued perseverance of trying to perfect earmuffs as well at other items. She also sheds some light on the patent process and how inventors are continuing to try to improve things. McCarthy shares her research process in “A Note about This Book.” I appreciate her description of the challenges in determining the truth.
Barnum’s Bones by Tracey Fern is another biography of perseverance. Fern shares her challenge in trying to fact check during her writing in the “Author’s Note.” Our county historical society reminded students the importance of writing and recording our lives. The author’s note reinforces this lesson for students.
Look Up! Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer by Robert Burleigh. A little known astronomer who made important discoveries. It shares the story of her love of astronomy and her challenges as a female scientist in the early 1900’s. She was not giving the recognition she deserved during her work but continued her work as much for her own fulfillment as well as the study of astronomy for all.
Who Says Women Can’t be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell is a great example of perseverance. She heard many “No”s before being accepted to medical school. I also appreciate reading this book aloud to students as Judy Moody is a beginning of the year read aloud and Judy aspires to be like Elizabeth Blackwell.
I have seen Snowflake Bentley on other’s lists. I appreciate the beautiful illustrations as Jacquiline Briggs Martin shares the story of Wilson Bentley and his lifelong quest to photograph snowflakes.
Cloth Lullaby The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois by Amy Novesky is another example of how interests from childhood can continue into adulthood. Teaching 3rd graders I want them to know that their interests can continue life long as well as lead and extend to other areas.
I love the collage illustrations of Melissa Sweet in this biography of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant. I was drawn to the book by it’s cover and so appreciated learning about this poet. This biography shares how Williams love of words and poetry continued throughout his life not as his primary job but because of his love of words. I also appreciate that Bryant included how Williams first started writing in the form of other poets (mentor texts) and then moved to make them his own.
There are several picture book biographies of John Muir. I selected this one, John Muir America’s Naturalist, as it is part of a series by Thomas Locker. Each in the series contain beautiful artwork. This biography like the books previously listed shares how Muir’s early interest in nature continued throughout his life.
There are also many picture book biographies of Leonardo da Vinci. I selected this one as it contains many text feature examples as well as beautiful illustrations. As I think of students writing informational text about a special person, this book is a great mentor text to demonstrate how to include important or interesting facts without creating tangents in their narrative. It also gives students a glimpse at the broad interests of da Vinci.
The memoir The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer is an example of how children can make positive changes for themselves and their community. Students who are further interested in Kamkwamba’s story can read a chapter book version of his story to learn more.