10 Biographies for Children: Book of the Week GIVEAWAY

September 10, 2013

10 Biographies for Children from waddleeahchaa.com

Week at a Glance

  • Book of the Week GIVEAWAY: The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino
  • Biographies for Children
  • Using Biographies to Inspire Journal Writing

Jacques Cousteau Biography

Book of the Week GIVEAWAY: The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino

Why we love this book:

I grew-up watching Jacques Cousteau on PBS and have a deep love for the sea. A love that I have passed on to my children. I was excited to introduce my children to the man who first brought the ocean right into our living rooms. He showed the world things that had never been seen before.

Jacques Cousteau Biography

Jacques Cousteau was a sickly boy who liked to tinker and build gadgets. Doctors encouraged him to swim in order to build his strength.  Soon his two worlds came together and he began tinkering to fashion a snorkel that would allow him to explore underwater more freely. With his friend, he created a breathing apparatus called the Aqua-Lung. From there the rest is history. Cousteau developed underwater cameras, lights and mini-submarines that allowed him to explore deeper and deeper depths.

Dan Yaccarino’s biography chronicles how a sickly boy who loved to tinker became the world’s ambassador of the oceans. The book inspires children to pursue their interests and to use their talents to problem solve.

Another bonus  . . . the illustrations are unique and totally cool!

Using Biographies to Inspire Journal Writing

Journal Writing Prompts for Children

Last week, I championed the idea of Every Day Journal Writing with NO More Writing Prompts! To kick-off journal writing each day, I read aloud a book to spark our own memories. This year, I’ve added reading biographies to our journal writing time. The children understand that their journals are a special place to write all about themselves and their memories. Biographies are the perfect way to introduce children to the idea of writing about their own lives. I’ll highlight a few of my children’s favorite this week. However, the list is too long. In order to do each of them justice, I’ll finish up the list next week and return with another great biography GIVEAWAY.

Tomie dePaola Biography

The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola

Now you won’t find The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola in the biography section of your library. However, when introducing children to journal writing and autobiographies, Tomie dePaola should be your first stop. Children love learning the behind the scenes story of one of their most beloved author / illustrators! How fun to read about Tomie as a young boy and to learn about his real love for drawing. Tomie’s story teaches us to follow our passions even when obstacles fall in our path.

Tomie dePaola has written many memoir style books about his family. Look for books such as Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, Now One Foot, Now the Other, Tom and Here We All Are. Tomie dePoala’s autobiography style books teach children how to write about every day life.

Jane Goodall Biography

Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell

At first glance this charming little biography looks like one for wee ones. While the target age is about 4 – 8 years-0ld, I encourage you to share with older children as well. After all, a good book is a good book! On the simplest level, McDonnell tells the charming story of a young Jane Goodall and her stuffed monkey and how she had an early interest in nature. On a much deeper level it teaches children to follow their dreams just as Jane did. She dreamed of “a life living with and helping all animals,”and her dreams came true! The book even includes real pages from Jane’s very own nature’s notebook.

Matisse Biography

Matisse The King of Color by Laurence Anholt

I would highly recommend any of the books in Anholt’s Artists Books for Children Series. My children love these books. They love both the art and the stories behind the art. Matisse The King of Color tells the true story of the friendship between Matisse and his nurse Monique. Matisse helps Monique’s poor religious order raise funds for a brilliant set of stained-glass chapel windows in Vence, France. Anholt recreates many of Matisse’s unique pieces of artwork throughout the illustrations of this book.

George Washington Biography

Big George by Anne Rockwell

So have you read Big George? I’m not sure how it happened but I think this is the book I’ve highlighted the most here at waddlee-ah-chaa. It is truly one of my children’s favorites. That’s saying something for a history book! Anne Rockwell’s narrative about our first president is an outstanding introduction to The American Revolution. Washington is not portrayed as a perfect man but rather as a shy boy who grew up to lead an army and nation to freedom. Illustrator Matt Phelan’s amazing pastel drawings bring the drama of Washington’s early days to life right on the pages of the book.  I cannot praise this biography enough!

More Biographies Next Week . . . Including a Few More Advanced Reads

Life with Jeannine

Jacques Cousteau Biography

We’re GIVING AWAY one Hard Cover copy of The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino

To enter this contest, use the Rafflecopter to answer the following question. After you leave a comment, you can move ahead with more entries.

Answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

What did you like to do when you were a child? Tinker, swim, draw, play with animals . . . ? Do you still do those things as an adult?  (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)

The Rules:

No entries after 11:59 pm Central Time, Sunday, September 15, 2013

The winner must be a resident of The United States.

The winner will be selected at random and announced Monday, September 16, 2013. Check back to claim your prize. It might be you!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

elizabeth708 September 10, 2013 at 5:13 pm

I have always wanted to sail around the world for as long as I can remember and I am working on the goal as we speak!

Tara H September 11, 2013 at 12:10 am

I was a tomboy as a a child. I was always outside…climbing trees, finding treasures, running, playing ball, etc. I guess that’s why God saw fit to give me 5 boys! :)
I need to check our library for Big George. My 2nd grader is studying the presidents this year and he has become fascinated with George Washington. He’s a struggling reader but has enjoyed reading another biography about Washington so I think he’d love Big George!

Ellie September 11, 2013 at 12:31 am

I loved to play with my dollhouse, which eventually morphed into more of an interest in collecting dollhouse stuff and arranging it inside the house. I still love miniatures, though it’s not a huge hobby or obsession anymore. ;-)

Jeannine September 11, 2013 at 7:26 am

Tara, Big George is written like a “story” and the illustrations our amazing. Thanks to this book, George Washington is a real hero in our home!

Jeannine September 11, 2013 at 7:33 am

Elizabeth, I hope I can be your first mate (or probably more appropriate, your deck hand).

Jamie September 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm

As a kid, I spent lots and lots of time building forts. Outside, inside — the furniture and all of the pillows and couch cushions were my building blocks! It was fun. Too bad I don’t do that much anymore…

Jeannine September 11, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Goodness, my children love building forts! Being a kid is so much fun!

tammy c September 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm

The thing that I did as a kid is swim I loved to swim in my swimming pool

patrick cordery September 11, 2013 at 5:11 pm

I liked to do boy things like fish, swim in our creak, play cops and robers.

Dianne September 12, 2013 at 6:19 pm

I loved to make crafts and climb trees. I still do the crafts, but haven’t climbed a tree recently.

Linda September 13, 2013 at 8:19 am

As a kid, I loved to be outdoors doing just about anything – playing with friends, pets, riding bikes, swimming. I still love to be outdoors as much as possible!

Jeannine September 16, 2013 at 7:58 am

It’s so fun to hear everyone reflecting on the simple pleasures of being a kid. We need to remember to still be a kid now and then and do the things we love just for fun!

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