Biographies to Read Aloud with Kids: From Alvin Ailey to Zishe the Strongman

By Tomsu, Lindsey | Reference & User Services Quarterly, Winter 2014 | Go to article overview

Biographies to Read Aloud with Kids: From Alvin Ailey to Zishe the Strongman


Tomsu, Lindsey, Reference & User Services Quarterly


Biographies to Read Aloud with Kids: From Alvin Ailey to Zishe the Strongman. By Robert Reid. Chicago: Huron Street Press, 2014. 135 p. Paper $19.95 (ISBN: 978-1-93758957-8).

Biographies to Read Aloud with Kids is a guidebook to excellent biographies of important figures throughout history who are missing from traditional school textbooks. Reid has selected two hundred biographies that adults--parents, teachers, and librarians--can read aloud with children. He includes a wide range of complete biographies (covering a subject's entire life), partial biographies (covering an incident in a subject's life), collective biographies, and a few bilingual books as well. The choices are a good mixture of formats, too, including narratives, verse stories, and even graphic novels. Reid has chosen books with great writer's "flair," an even split of male and female subjects, and a diversity of subjects, but, perhaps most importantly, he has selected books that tell "a good story" (xiii-xiv). He also has avoided biographies of athletes, actors, and other pop culture figures because they would date the book's selections quickly. The biographies are presented in two chapters--the first on individual subjects and the second on collective biographies. Many of the selections include black and white photos of the cover or an image from the book. A few entries also include an additional "highly recommended" title or two. Three short chapters feature interviews with authors and a publisher of biographies for young readers.

The strength of this book is the wide choice of biographies. …

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