12 Exceptional Picture Biographies
Children love to learn about real heroes! July is when we read books about artists, musicians, astronomers, pilots, scientists, athletes, explorers - all ordinary people who have changed the world and are worthy of sharing with your children.
Sharing with our children how others have become heroes and heroines requires books that are not preachy or boring. Books about people with all the character traits we want to see in our kiddos must be exceptional - exceptional writing and exceptional illustration.
Here are 12 books that more than meet these requirements! Enjoy!
Heroes & Heroines Overcome Obstacles
I admire Stephen Hawking for his dark humor as much as I admire his brilliance in the face of debilitating ALS. I mean, who throws a birthday party where everyone must come dressed as an object in the sky and comes as Pluto, God of the Underworld himself?!!!
Hawking's discoveries changed the way we think about the world and his accomplishments in spite of his disease are inspiring. Recently, I read this book to Little Guy who was fascinated by this introduction to Hawking, but I could see his mind working overtime when he realized such a wonderful person has passed on - this picture book sticks with our children.
Making It Real
What are your child's obstacles - those challenges in life which may keep them from reaching for their dreams? It's important to help your kiddo name any of the things which will get in their way, but please don't teach them to be "realistic." Help them to develop a mindset which is always looking for ways to overcome the obstacles in their path!
Hope is the most powerful of superpowers and we should cultivate it deeply into our children's souls.
Heroes & Heroines are Family
Shoham's Bangle is not a biography about a famous person, but about a heroine closer to home - Shoham's Nana. When I first heard about this picture book in a podcast interview with author Sarah Sasson, I was fascinated by the story with the secret hope in my heart that I will be a heroine in my grandchildren's memories.
Sasson's Nana Aziza told her the story of how her family was airlifted from Iraq to Israel in 1951 in Operation Ezra & Nehemiah - relocated along with 120,000 other Iraqi Jews. Sasson was inspired to write this children's story as a reminder for all immigrant children it's not about the home we leave behind, but the home we rebuild.
Making It Real
What stories about your life's journey do you share with your children? How about your parents' stories? Telling our children these stories builds their identity and gives them their history far beyond their own lives. Telling these stories also shows them the way forward in their own lives. Maya Angelou's quote about the importance of these stories is one of my favorite!
Today, people are so disconnected that they feel they are blades of grass, but when they know who their grandparents and great grandparents were, they become trees, they have roots, they can no longer be mowed down.
Conversations prompted by questions about our lives is the best way to share life stories with our children/grandchildren. But if you need resources to help, look at sites such as StoryWorth or about memory books and legacy videos for ideas on additional ways to keep of record of family history.
If you want something a bit more concrete to make it real, there are family tree activities for children of all ages. A surprisingly relevant place to start is with the National Archives' Genealogy Activities for Kids.
The Stories Matter
Disclaimer: Most of the books reviewed can be found at your public library or purchased through your local bookstore.
I am affiliate of Bookstore.org and will earn a commission if you click through the links and make a purchase from the Stories Matter storefront.
But, really, VISIT YOUR LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY!