Two New Picture Book Biographies
As promised, here are two more of my favorites from the past month. Both are new picture book biographies that can be enjoyed by both children and adults. I hope you’ll like them as much as I do!
The Boo-Boos That Changed the World: A True Story about an Accidental Invention (Really!)
By Barry Wittenstein
Illustrated by Chris Hsu
Thank you to Charlesbridge Publishing and Blue Slip Media for sharing this book. All opinions are my own. This book is released February 13, 2018.
I’ve always been intrigued about the stories behind everyday objects. I’m always asking myself, “How long ago was this invented? What prompted it to be invented? How is it made? Who invented it?” I think these questions were prompted partially by my storytelling, and partially by my frequent conversations with my father who had an endless curiosity about the world.
I can imagine just such a chat about about band-aids! And since he loved to research the answers to all our questions in library books or in our set of The World Book Encyclopedia, he would have absolutely loved The Boo-Boos that Changed the World, as I did! This marvelous book answers all of our questions about band-aids, and more, and does it with a great sense of humor. It tells the charming story of Earle Dickson who was concerned about his new bride’s constant “boo-boos”. He was worried that they might become infected or lead to more accidents, so he decided to solve the problem. Happily, he did and it led to the invention of band-aids that we all take for granted today. But really, though, can you imagine life without band-aids?!
Chris Hsu’s sweet illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to the story that takes us from Earle and Josephine’s marriage through the actual invention and finally through Earle’s struggle to make band-aids a household item. He captures Earle’s expressions perfectly from the time when Earle first ponders the problem, to when Earle has his eureka moment and lastly when Earle joyfully tells Josephine that he has convinced his boss James Johnson (of Johnson & Johnson fame) to mass produce band-aids. Finally, be sure and notice Mr. Hsu’s playful endpapers – so much fun!
Another aspect of the book that I really like is the author’s note. In a very entertaining way, it tells us more of the story behind the invention of band-aids and how many aspects of Earle’s life came together perfectly to contribute to his invention. There’s also a great timeline of Earle Dickson’s life, as well as a timeline of medical inventions from the 1920’s and 1930’s, which gives us a better perspective about the world during those years.
This picture book biography is a great choice for anyone looking for a biography; especially if they are hoping to learn about a lesser known, but extremely interesting figure in history. In addition, it would also be of great interest to a child who is wanting to read more about the steps which lead to a successful invention. Lastly, it would also be a perfect read aloud to introduce a lesson about biographies or inventions. The Boo-Boos that Changed the World needs to be on every elementary library shelf!
A boy, a mouse, and a spider: the story of e.b. white
By Barbara Herkert
Illustrated by Lauren Castillo
So many of us have a great love for E.B. White’s children’s books; Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan, which were a special part of our childhood. However, it’s always fascinating to me to learn about what inspires an author’s stories. E.B. White was a little boy who had many fears, terrible hay fever, and a great love of the outdoors. There all of his senses would come alive and he would record his observations and create poetry for his mother. He grew up to be an editor and to write for The New Yorker, but he continued to yearn for a country life. When he finally moved his family to a farm in Maine, his dreams became a reality and there he created the stories which are a part of our childhood. Barbara Herkert’s gentle biography helps even our youngest little ones get to know E.B. White when she describes his life beginning with his childhood through the time when he created his novels in A Boy, A Mouse and a Spider. Lauren Castillo’s charming illustrations pull us into the story and help us feel that we are a part of the Maine farm where our beloved Wilbur and Charlotte lived. This picture biography should be a part of the collection in every elementary school and public library. It will introduce your family to the amazing man, E.B. White as you cozy up to read one of E.B. White’s cherished novels together.
Have you found any new picture book biographies? I hope you’ll share with all of us in the comments! Look for another post soon about more new releases that have become favorites of mine.