Thursday, August 16, 2012

Picture Book Roundup

I'm a fan of children's biographies (and biographies in general).  We're fortunate enough to be surrounded by top-notch children's nonfiction these days, so I can be quite picky about my favorites.  We recently received two excellent picture book biographies that I'd like to share with you, about two very different people who overcame great struggles in their lives.

Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert

  The life of St. Martin de Porres was unknown to me before I read this beautifully illustrated and written picture book biography by Gary Schmidt.  Growing up biracial in 16th century Peru meant that the doors to professional religious life were initially closed to him; undaunted, Martin entered a monastery and dedicated himself to the downtrodden of his society. Legends that surround Martin's life are included in the story without commentary; his devotion to the less fortunate is the main focus of the biography. 

Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy

I was largely unfamiliar with William Hoy's life before reading this picture book biography; the only thing I really knew was that he was a deaf baseball player.  I definitely did not know that he played for the Washington Nationals! This is a fine biography for young baseball fans; not only does it explain Hoy's struggle with deafness (as a result of childhood meningitis), but it reveals Hoy's triumph over discrimination and prejudice, as well as his remarkable career.  Bill Wise sensitively discusses Hoy's nickname ("Dummy Hoy") and the reason for it. 

On vacation for a few days!  Posts will resume next week. 

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