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National Geographic Kids Biographies: George Washington

George Washington by Caroline Crosson Gilpin. National Geographic Society, 2014. 128 pgs. Reading Level: Early reader, leveled reader (ages 4-8) Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8) National Geographic Kids has a series of biographies about well-known significant figures that is nicely suited to early readers. Each book contains a variety of information and good photographs about […]

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Queen Victoria’s Bathing Machine by Gloria Whelan and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Queen Victoria’s Bathing Machine by Gloria Whelan and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. Simon and Schuster, 2014. 40 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8 Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8) It is hard for our modern sensibilities to understand the enormity of the social faux pas Queen Victoria would have committed had she allowed her subjects […]

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Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi

Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi. First Second, 2014. 125 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 4 (ages 11-12) and up This is the second of Bertozzi’s graphic series on explorers. (The first is Lewis and Clark: The Greatest Adventure in American History.) His books are notable for a casual style and […]

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The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sis

The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sis. Farrar, Straux, and Giroux, 2014. 48 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8, 8-10, 10-12 Maturity Level: 2, 3, 4 (ages 4-12) Part picture book biography of the man who wrote The Little Prince and part history of early flight, this is […]

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The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Suzy) by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by Edward Fotheringham

The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Suzy) by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by Edward Fotheringham. Scholastic, 2010. 48 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8, 8-10 Maturity Level: 2, 3 (ages 8-10) Like his famous Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain was a larger-than-life character. Famous during his own lifetime, Twain was the subject of much critical attention. […]

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Treaties, Trenches, Mud and Blood by Nathan Hale

Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood by Nathan Hale. Amulet, 2014. 128 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 4 (age 10 and up) This is the fourth volume of “Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales,” all of which employ the author’s namesake (the heroic Revolutionary-War spy) as narrator for some dark, dramatic chapters in history. […]

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The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes

The Forgotten Man: Graphic Edition by Amity Shlaes and illustrated by Paul Riuoche. Harper Perennial, 2014. 307 pages. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-14 Maturity Level: 6 (ages 15-18) Amity Shlaes’ Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression was published to great acclaim in 2009. Written for adults, it tackled the common perception […]

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Picture Book Biographies

Picture Book Biographies Picture book biographies are excellent choices for introducing students of all ages to a particular author or historical figure. Many times they are also good examples of research, characters who persevere in the midst of adversity, interesting historical anecdotes, and just plain good stories—true stories. The Criteria Essentially, a good picture book […]

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*The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet

*The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2014. 42 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8, 8-12 Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8) and up The use of language is not confined to its being the medium through which we communicate our ideas to one […]

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A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Eerdmans, 2008. 34 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8, 8-12 Maturity Level: 2, 3, 4 Although poetry anchored William Carlos Williams, he was much more than a poet; Bryant and Sweet work seamlessly together to tell […]

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Junk Drawer Physics by Bobby Mercer

Junk Drawer Physics: 50 Awesome Experiments That Don’t Cost a Thing by Bobby Mercer. Chicago Review Press, 2014. 187 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 11-12 Maturity Level: n/a Hands-on is how a lot of children learn, especially in the area of science. But if you’re a home educator you may have some experience with […]

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