Picture Book Biographies
Wednesday, January 12, 2022 Mr. Everett







Make Meatballs Sing“Make Meatballs Sing: The Life & Art of Corita Kent” written by Matthew Burgess, illustrated by Kara Kramer
This book tells the story of Corita Kent: nun, educator, artist, activist, and more. The pages are as vibrant and full of joy as the descriptions of the life Corita Kent lived. I like that the illustrator used collage in a biography about an artist whose medium was collage and screen printing. This gives the book and story some depth, texture, and realism. At the same time the text seamlessly balances information and storytelling so as not to overwhelm the reader.

If you haven't heard of Corita Kent before, you’ll be glad you read this and learned about her fascinating life and the many paths it took.




Areli is a dreamer“Areli is a Dreamer: A True Story” written by Areli Morales, illustrated by Luisa Uribe
This is an autobiography about Areli Morales, a DACA recipient. The narrative specifically takes place when she was young and is just immigrating from Mexico to the USA. Morales paints a full picture of her life: everyday life in Mexico, a missing family who have already immigrated, the sadness of leaving your home and those you love, and the struggles of adjusting to life in a new country where you don’t know the language. The text expertly balances biographical information that grounds the story in contemporary-historical context with smooth and well-timed storytelling. The illustrations are solid, deep colors, ranging from oranges and browns to light greens and blues making for a warm and inviting read.



Child of the Flower Song People“Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua” written by Gloria Amescua, illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
This book tells the life story of Luz Jiménez, a Nahua girl, who grew up to be a model, teacher, and active leader in preserving her culture and language. The narration goes through her life at a nice even pace with minimal detail. The illustrations match up well with the text; reinforcing the story. The book could be discussed on multiple levels about her life, the Nahua culture, and historical context. It’s not that often that you read a picture book biography written so well and with actual research put in that successfully tells an important life story. Readers will want to learn more about Luz, the Nahua, and Mexican history. 



A Boy Named Isamu“A Boy Named Isamu” written and illustrated by James Yang
If you’re looking for a picture book biography with an emphasis on illustrations versus information, then I highly recommend reading this story about Isamu Noguchi. This is a story based on the life of artist Isamu Noguchi that encourages readers to ask questions about the world around them, use their imagination, and create art. A great book to read aloud at home or in the classroom that will prompt readers to use their imagination to discover and make their own creations. The author’s note at the end gives brief biographical details. Beautiful, peaceful, and inspiring.