One-Minute Book Reviews

March 3, 2007

Good Biographies for 9-to-12-year-olds

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Children's Books,Libraries,Newbery Medals,Reading — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 9:59 pm

Russell Freedman’s books help children get excited about the lives of great men and women

By Janice Harayda

If you’re looking for good biographies for 9-to-12-year-olds, I have two words for you: Russell Freedman.

Many authors have written captivating nonfiction for preteens, including the prolific and much-admired James Cross Giblin, who won the Washington Post-Children’s Book Guild Award for his body of work. But Freedman’s work is the gold standard for the sort of book known as the “photobiography,” a heavily illustrated book that takes a documentary approach to history. Along with other books, photobiographies can help 9-to-12-year-olds make the transition from simple chapter books to more complex works that may or may not have pictures.

Freedman is best known for his elegant Newbery Medal–winning Lincoln: A Photobiography (Clarion, 1987). But he has also written many other acclaimed biographies for 9-to-12-year-olds, including Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery (Clarion, 1987), Martha Graham: A Dancer’s Life (Clarion, 1998), Babe Didrikson Zaharias: The Making of a Champion (Clarion, 1999), and The Voice That Challenged: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights (Clarion, 2006). Freedman’s books tend to be as beautifully designed as they are well-written, so they make wonderful birthday and holiday gifts.

Parents and grandparents: This post was inspired by a visitor searching for “a biography for a 9-year-old.” If you can’t find what you need, why not leave a comment with your question or send an e-mail message to the address on the “Contact” page? Many teachers and librarians visit this site. So if I can’t answer your question, they may be able to help. Please put your question in the e-mail subject heading. One-Minute Book reviews is a noncommercial site that does not accept advertising or free books, so its recommendations aren’t influenced by marketing concerns.

Links: www.clarionbooks.com

© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

A Review of ‘A Drowned Maiden’s Hair’ Coming March 10

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Children's Books,Libraries,Newbery Medals,Reading — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 2:01 pm

What happened to the review of A Drowned Maiden’s Hair, the children’s novel that many people thought should have won the 2007 Newbery Medal?

A new review of a book for children or teenagers appears every Saturday on One-Minute Book Reviews with all reviews permanently archived in the “Children’s Books” category. But since Feb. 25 I’ve written more than a half dozen unplanned posts about the uproar over the 2007 Newbery Medal winner, Susan Patron’s The Higher Power of Lucky, which angered some librarians with use of the word “scrotum” on the first page. These posts have included a book review, a reading group guide, and a list of reasons why the American Library Association might have given the novel its most prestigious award for children’s literature.

So the review of Laura Amy Schlitz’s A Drowned Maiden’s Hair that was supposed to appear today will be posted on Saturday March 10. Comments on other children’s books may appear later today or tomorrow. In the meantime, if you’re looking for some light entertainment, you may enjoy my two posts about the amusing search terms people have used to find my comments on the The Higher Power of Lucky. My favorite terms include “lucky scrotum,” “a character named scrotum,” and — yes — “janice harayda scrotum.”

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

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