2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

More Biography Picture Book Recommendations

More biography picture book recommendations are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.*

Biography picture book cover of Charles Drew with a doctor in a white lab coat and stethoscope around his neck

Charles Drew: The Innovator of the Blood Bank (Bright Minds) 

by Aaron Talley (Author), Subi Bosa (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Children’s Press. 2023. Grades 4-6. Paperback or Hardcover Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1338865356.

Brief summary: Charles Drew created a technique that separates the different parts of blood called centrifuging, which helped the blood stay fresh longer in storage. He is known for improving the blood banks and just in time for World War II when bloodmobiles and the American Red Cross enabled people to give and receive blood wherever they lived.

The back pages have sections such as a glossary, legacy, questions, index, and further reading.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3.5/5 📗📗📗1/2

Biography picture book cover of the cover of Eleanor Roosevelt: Her Path to Kindness with a young girl with long blond hair wearing a pink dress sitting on a rock with a book in one hand and violets in the other

Eleanor Roosevelt: Her Path to Kindness

by Helaine Becker (Author), Aura Lewis (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Christy Ottaviano Books. 2023. Grades 1-3. Hardcover Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0316316415.

Brief summary: Eleanor Roosevelt’s parents and brother died within two years of each other. She lived with her Grandmother. At age fifteen, she was sent to a girls’ boarding school in England, where a teacher helped her realize her potential. Eleanor became a leader of the girls and helped everyone. She left her senior year to return to the USA, where she was expected to debut and find a husband but had other plans.

The Author’s note in the back gives more details about Eleanor Roosevelt’s life. Several of her famous quotes are cited.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3.5/5 📗📗📗1/2

Cover of You Gotta Meet Mr. Pierce with a man sitting on a chair carving a wooden elephant with shelves of paint

You Gotta Meet Mr. Pierce!: The Storied Life of Folk Artist Elijah Pierce

by Chiquita Mullins Lee (Author), Carmella Van Vleet (Author), Jennifer Mack-Watkins (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kokila. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593406502.

Brief summary:  Columbus, Ohio, artist Elijah Pierce shares with a young artist how he was inspired to carve wood. Elijah cuts the boy’s hair and continues how he got ideas for his many art pieces hanging all around the barbershop. The boy leaves with a fresh cut and thoughts of creating with his new box of colored pencils his mother gave him earlier.

The back pages contain Elijah Pierce’s honors, Authors’ Notes, Artist’s Note, and information about Elijah Pierce’s Art used in the book.

I remember going to the Columbus Museum of Art and seeing his art and getting to know who the artist was based on his subject matter in the art.

This book contains quotes from Elijah, but the boy in the story is fictional.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 📗📗📗📗

Biography picture book cover of Never Give Up with Dr. Kati Kariko wearing a white lab coat. Microscope and beakers are on a table.

Never Give Up: Dr. Kati Karikó and the Race for the Future of Vaccines 

by Debbie Dadey (Author), Juliana Oakley (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Millbrook Press ™ . 2023. Grades 2-5. Hardcover Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1728456331.

Brief summary: Hungarian-American scientist Dr. Kati Kariko has always wanted to be a scientist. She studied mRNA(messenger ribonucleic acid) in a biology research center, wondering if she could make new mRNA that would send the message to make suitable proteins for people to heal.

She moved to America and failed to get mRNA to work with cells, so she worked at various universities. She met Drew Weissman, another scientist interested in mRNA. After eight years, they wrote a paper about mRNA. She was offered several jobs but chose to work at BioNTech in Germany. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, scientists at BioNTech and Pfizer worked together to design a vaccine using an mRNA vaccine to fight the virus.

The back pages include Timeline, Steps To Making a Vaccine, Author’s Note, Glossary, Source Notes, and Further Study sections.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3/5 📗📗📗

Cover of Ice Cream Man with Augustus Jackson offering a scoop of ice-cream with a nice smile

Ice Cream Man: How Augustus Jackson Made a Sweet Treat Better 

by Glenda Armand (Author), Kim Freeman (Author), Keith Mallett (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Crown Books for Young Readers . 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover Narrative Nonfiction Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593563229.

Brief summary: Augustus Jackson left his home in Philadelphia at twelve to go to Washington, DC, to follow his dream as a cook. He became an expert at making ice cream. He was hired at the White House and stayed for five years.

He returned home and opened his own ice cream parlor. He created a faster way to freeze ice cream, as refrigerators/freezers still needed to be invented. He could come up with making ice cream in half the time and ship his own ice cream by train without it melting.

Nicknamed the “Father of Ice Cream”

The back pages include Make Your Own Ice-Cream, Afterword, and Sources sections.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 📗📗📗📗

Cover of The Firs Woman Cherokee Chief with Wilma Pearl Mankiller talking behind a podium that has a microphone

The First Woman Cherokee Chief: Wilma Pearl Mankiller (Step into Reading) 

by Patricia Morris Buckley (Author), Aphelandra Messer (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Random House Books for Young Readers . 2023. Grades 1-2. Paperback or Hardcover Reader Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593568507.

Brief summary: Wilma Pearl Mankiller lived in Oklahoma on Cherokee lands until a drought caused her father to move to the city for work. Pearl(the name she preferred) hated the city and stayed at her grandmother’s farm for a year. She moved back to the city and connected with other Native people at the American Indian Center.

In 1969, there was a protest at Alcatraz about the Native lands stolen by the government. Pearl supported and helped Native people many times and later became the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating 3/5 📗📗📗

Cover of Carol Burnett wearing a blue evening dress with dangling earrings. She is tugging on her left ear.

Carol Burnett: A Little Golden Book Biography 

by Andrea Posner-Sanchez (Author), Kelly Kennedy (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Golden Books. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593481912.

Brief summary: Carol Burnett was born in Texas and was raised by her grandmother, Nanny. When she was seven, they moved to Hollywood, California, where Nanny would take Carol to see several movies weekly. Carol would reenact them on their apartment’s rooftop and later study theater arts in college. After seeing her perform, a stranger gave her $1,000, urging her to go to New York. She had to promise to pay him back in five years and to never reveal his identity. Carol became famous on the Garry Moore Show and then had her own tv show that aired for eleven seasons.

Carol’s famous left ear tug on TV was her way of saying hello to her grandmother, something she did even after the woman’s passing.

If you are unfamiliar with Little Golden Books, they are smaller than a “regular” picture book–Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.63 x 0.19 x 8 inches.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3/5 📗📗📗

If you enjoy A Little Golden Book Biographies like I do , click here for more titles; priced affordably.

Biography picture books of Temple Grandin as a child sitting on grass with dogs and cows in the background

I am Temple Grandin (Ordinary People Change the World)

by Brad Meltzer (Author), Christopher Eliopoulos (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Rocky Pond Books. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593405970.

Brief summary: Temple Grandin was born with autism and did not act or respond like other babies and toddlers did to things and situations. Her mother found a speech therapist to help Temple speak her first words at age four. Through her sensitivity and empathy towards cattle, she was able to help better design the cattle chute for them to feel calmer and how to build round pens because she noticed they could go around a curve easier. She also discovered how to make cows feel calmer by going down into the water for a bath to get rid of insects on them by changing the steel ramp to a textured concrete one.

Temple was able to go to college and even receive a doctorate degree. She teaches and does research at Colorado State University. The book explains how she thinks and feels in the first-person narrative.

I highly recommend this book for parents, teachers, and librarians to share with those with autism to be inspired by Temple’s life’s accomplishments.

Smaller than an average picture book–Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 7.94 x 0.33 x 7.88 inches

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3.5/5 📗📗📗1/2

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