Books by Theme
Artists, inventors, performers, and thinkers all live in words and pictures. Meet them when you read about them on the pages of these biographies.
Colorful Dreamer: The Story of Artist Henri Matisse
Long ago, a bespectacled boy dreamed of color in his drab industrial French town. Henri's world exploded with color when, as an adult, he was given a box of paints. The contrast in Henri's life is brought to life through straightforward text and black and white illustrations juxtaposed with those brilliantly hued to evoke the artist's recognizable style.
From the Good Mountain: How Gutenberg Changed the World
The world changed when rags and bone, sticky stuff, and other things came together in the hands of a man who lived in the German city of Mainz. Johannes Gutenberg had printed a book in a new way. Readers will be drawn in as the elements Gutenberg used unfold, illustrated in handsome, realistic illustrations. An epilogue completes this intriguing book.
Harlem's Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills
Bold, bright illustrations and a cheerful text that includes song lyrics introduce the life of an early 20th century African American performer. Though part of the Harlem Renaissance, Mills is a relative unknown who both on and off stage worked to help other African Americans and those who were less fortunate than she. An author's note concludes this charming life sketch.
The voice of an old, blind Galileo Galilei is used to look back on a life that started in Pisa where early on he challenged tradition. Though confined, the elderly Galileo asserts that, "The truth has a way of escaping into the light." Bold lines border illustrations to evoke time and place, enhanced by spot illustrations of Galileo's work and observations.
If You Spent the Day with Thoreau at Walden Pond
Who is Henry David Thoreau? What would it be like to spend a day with him? A contemporary boy depicted in blue jeans and a t-shirt knocks at his door and meets the 19th century Thoreau, as the imaginative text fills in what it might have been like. Expressive illustrations, quotes, and gentle interpretations bring Thoreau and his world to light for younger readers.
It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw
A former slave and sharecropper Bill Traylor moved to the city after his wife's death. Though he stored up memories of farm life and family, Traylor only began creating art in his 80s when he was homeless. Another artist, Charles Shannon, championed Traylor's work. Traylor is now considered among the most significant of self-taught folk artists.
Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert
Martin and his sister grew up in a Lima, Peru, barrio, children of an African slave and a Spanish nobleman. Martin was apprenticed to a cirujano, would join a Dominican monastery, and later become sought after as a healer. Jewel-like illustrations complement the accessible telling to reveal a man of faith and courage, despite the prejudices he confronted.
Molly, by Golly! The Legend of Molly Williams, America's First Female Firefighter
Molly was a cook at a firehouse but a snowstorm and influenza in 19th century New York turned Molly into a firefighter. Her quick thinking and moxie made her volunteer service as good as any man's. Animated language and lively illustrations bring the person and her time into focus. Endnotes separate fact and fiction and provide additional resources and information.
Monsieur Marceau: Actor Without Words
Born in 1923 in Strasbourg, France, Marcel Mangel grew up watching silent movies. When he was 16 years old, World War II started. Marcel joined the resistance movement, heroically helped people, and changed his name to Marceau. Understated narration combines with expressive illustrations to evoke the changes in Marcel's life while capturing his voiceless acting.
Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives
With a light touch, readers meet Thomas Alva Edison in his world of research and development. It was Edison's lab that led to things we take for granted today. For example, today we have all kinds of batteries but it all started with Edison's nickel-iron storage battery. Cartoon illustrations add humor to this lighthearted but informative look at this inventor and his work.
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