Archive for ‘Biography’

May 26, 2011

When Marian Sang

When Marian Sang
Author: Pam Munoz Ryan
Illustrator: Brian Selznick
Copyright 2002 Scholastic Press
ISBN: 0-439-26967-9
Genre: Biography

There are many amazing stories of individuals who made remarkable strides in the movement toward equal rights during the Civil Rights Era.  Some are very famous – who could forget the impact of Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King, Jr? – while others blend into the background of history.  Although they may be a bit forgotten, those who don’t stand out worked to create change in many ways in order to secure equal rights for all.  Marian Anderson is one of those individuals.  In the children’s book When Marian Sang the author describes how Marian changed the performing arts scene for African Americans with her magnificent voice.  The historically accurate illustrations in this book are based on photographs from the time period, and the reader is able to gain more knowledge from the books appendix in which the author and illustrator describe how they came to tell Marian’s story.  It is an inspirational story about how one person can overcome the odds and create a change for many.

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May 20, 2011

Through My Eyes

Through My Eyes
Author: Ruby Bridges
Editor: Margo Lundell
Copyright 1999 Scholastic Press
ISBN: 0-590-18923-9
Genre: Biography

Through My Eyes is an excellent introductory story to the Civil Rights Movement and the integration of schools in the Deep South of 1960.  As told by the now-grown first grade student who alone integrated one of the two schools first attended by African American students in New Orleans, the story of events surrounding school integration unfolds in a manner that is accessible to young students.  Complex topics are described in simple language, and the vivid photographs and newspaper excerpts enhance the text without overwhelming the younger reader.  However, because the issue of racism and civil rights is such a complex issue, teachers and parents should use this book in conjunction with other texts as well as discussion in order to fully ensure that students gain an understanding as they get older.

May 19, 2011

The Art Lesson

The Art Lesson
Author/Illustrator: Tomie de Paola
Copyright 1989 Putnam & Grosset Group
ISBN: 978-0698115729
Genre: Biography

As a well established illustrator and artist, Tomie de Paola uses a unique and inventive way to tell his autobiographical story in The Art Lesson.  By writing the story in the format of a fictional children’s book, de Paola captures the attention of younger readers, and his lively illustrations enhance the text.  This book is a great introduction to the purpose of biographies and autobiographies, and because it is written as a children’s book, all students will have the knowledge to access it.