Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Books - Talented Women! 1.24.18

Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017
Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

I've written about strong females in history before.  Women have been strong, brave, fearless and immensely talented and I love the many books that are being published that feature them.  Make sure you take a peek at these.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
written by Margot Lee Shetterly with Winifred Conkling
illustrated by Laura Freeman
I'm so glad to have a book about these four amazing women to share with young readers.  I absolutely loved Hidden Figures and was so happy to share it with my daughter when it came out.  Sharing this book with young readers to show how to embrace what you know and fight for what you know is right is powerful.  Sharing books likes these and having conversations about them is a great thing!

Girl Running by Annette Bay Pimentel
Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb and the Boston Marathon
written by Annette Bay Pimentel 
illustrated by Micha Archer
publishes Feb. 6th
There is so much to love about this book.  I love the inspirational story - so many strong character traits to discuss when talking about this amazing and talented women.  The illustrations are gorgeous and add even more information to the text.  As an endurance athlete, I really liked seeing the parts where the other athletes were cheering her on.  I feel like people who participate in endurance sports know the work and effort that go into it and are always so supportive of each other!

A Lady Has the Floor by Kate Hannigan
A Lady Has the Floor: Belva Lockwood Speaks Out For Women's Rights
written by Kate Hannigan
illustrated by Alison Jay
Yet another woman I am not familiar with but definitely should be - Belva was such a strong advocate for women's rights, as well as other minorities.  She was the first women who accomplished many feats, including being the first female member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court and the first woman to run a presidential campaign.  The text is full of information and includes detailed endnotes, this is a book you'll want for your amazing women collection!  I really like the crackled illustrations done by Alison Jay.  Perfect for this time period!

Born to Swing by Mara Rockliff
Born to Swing: Lil Hardin Armstrong's Life in Jazz
written by Mara Rockliff
illustrated by Michele Wood
How is it that I've heard of Louis Armstrong, but never his wife, who actually rose to fame even faster than her husband.  
I'm also beginning to see there are a lot of great female jazz musicians - I'm growing quite the library section of these amazing women!
Rockliff made the decision to write this picture book biography in the first person.  As stated in her author's note, Armstrong had been writing her own book about her life, but it was never published.  Rockliff imagined these could be her words.  An interesting choice!

Alabama Spitfire by Bethany Hegedus
Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird
written by Bethany Hegedus
illustrated by Erin McGuire
The name Harper lee always has an air of mystery around it. After reading this book, a little light is shed on her but she really wanted to live her life out of the limelight. I enjoyed getting to know more about her childhood and early years.
Beautiful illustrations from Erin McGuire brings the story to life.
While I found the story interesting, I wonder how young readers, who may be too young to have even heard of the story, will react to it.

Shaking Things Up by Susan Hood
Shaking Things Up
written by Susan Hood
illustrated by 13 amazing illustrators!
This book is absolutely stellar. Filled with poetic verses about 14 young women - ranging from the known to lesser known names - who truly shook up the world they were living in.
Each woman’s story is told through beautiful poems, I love the thought Hood put into each one. They are all just a bit different from each other, but reflect the message, mood and/or character traits of each one.
The illustrations really are a thing of beauty. Each woman is portrayed by a different illustrator and they all capture the essence of the strong female and Hood’s words.
Finished off by thorough endnotes and of course, I must make mention of the amazing artwork under the book jacket!
I can’t wait to celebrate this book with readers.

What a bunch of mighty girls and mighty women!  I hope you find all of these books and share them with your readers!


  1. I'm looking forward to reading every one of these, Michele. What a wonderful list of women that we've rarely heard of. I'll need to purchase Hidden Figures for the grand-girls!

  2. Hidden Figures was fun. Can't wait to read Shaking Things Up.

  3. Thanks for including Girl Running here!

  4. I like your blog and the books.

  5. Love, love, love! So looking forward to all of these beautiful, inspiring, amazing books!!

  6. How completely fascinating that there are 2 biographies about Bobbi Gibb right now! I hadn't heard of this one, but managed to read The Girl Who Ran. I can't wait to read The Lady Has the Floor. Thanks for always putting together a great list!

  7. Great list. Several on here I never heard of. Thanks for the recommendations.

  8. Thank you for the recommendations, Michele! I just got the Hidden Figures PB out of the library, and I have Girl Running on request--can't wait to read it, as well as all of the others except the Rockliff one--adding that to the list!

    BTW, I saw that there is another PB coming out in June on Katherine Johnson called Counting on Katherine.