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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: biography, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 704
1. Draw What You See (2015)

Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews. Kathleen Benson. Illustrated by Benny Andrews. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Benny started to draw when he was three years old. Once he started, he never stopped. At first, he made pictures of the world around him. He drew hot suns and red clay and little wood-frame houses in the middle of cotton fields that stretched as far as he could see. He drew black people at work in the fields.

Premise/plot: Draw What You See is a picture book biography of the artist Benny Andrews. The book is illustrated by Andrews' artwork. Readers thereby get the chance to see his work for themselves and to learn his story: how he came to be an artist, what was important to him, how he saw the world, etc. The book does a great job at making art relevant to life.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed reading Draw What You See. I found the book to be simple and fascinating. This picture book biography is oh-so-easy for me to recommend.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2. The Argonauts

A seamless blend of memoir and cultural commentary, Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is, among many other things, a book about relentless introspection and transformation, about confronting one's own truths and biases and finding meaning in collisions big and small. Nelson explores the course of her relationship with the transgender artist Harry Dodge, along with their [...]

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3. The Argonauts

Perhaps what I love most about Maggie Nelson's work is her ability to bring both other writers and the reader directly onto the page to converse with her, and she does this exceptionally well in The Argonauts. Part memoir and part theory, The Argonauts is a beautiful examination of queer identity, relationships, and parenthood written [...]

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4. Magna Carta: the international dimension

The importance of Magna Carta—both at the time it was issued on 15 June 1215 and in the centuries which followed, when it exerted great influence in countries where the English common law was adopted or imposed—is a major theme of events to mark the charter’s 800th anniversary.

The post Magna Carta: the international dimension appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. Pioneer Girl (2014)

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Edited by Pamela Smith Hill. 2014. South Dakota State Historical State Society. 400 pages. [Source: Library]
Pioneer Girl is a must-read for anyone who grew up loving, or perhaps, LOVING, Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books. Pioneer Girl is an annotated autobiography. The book itself is a draft of an autobiography written by Laura Ingalls Wilder circa 1930. Mother and daughter worked with this draft preparing to send it to various publishers (not just book publishers) for a year or two. (There are several draft versions of Pioneer Girl.) Eventually, the focus shifts from writing an adult autobiography to writing a series of historical fiction novels for children. The adult autobiography was "forgotten" as a book itself, and becomes a source--a good source--for mother and daughter to use in their own fiction. I didn't know that Rose Wilder Lane borrowed generously from her mom's autobiography while writing her adult fiction. Lane wrote Free Land and Let the Hurricane Roar (Young Pioneers).

The autobiography shares Laura Ingalls Wilder's earliest memories through her wedding day. (Those earliest memories are of being a toddler in Kansas.) These memories are, of course, in her own words. The writing is natural and casual. Some paragraphs are great at capturing details and specifics of an event. Other paragraphs are more of a rush, a blend, they seem a bit fuzzier, less exact. These are her very personal reflections written first for her daughter, and, then possibly for a larger audience. Wilder has turned reflective. She's older now, feeling that very much. (Her mom died in 1924, her sister, Mary, in 1928. She's wanting to capture these memories, these stories, to hold onto them perhaps.) One also sees the book itself as an act of love, an expression of love, a way of remembering and honoring.

The annotations are wonderful. They provide background and context. The annotations includes notes on a wide variety of subjects a) people b) places c) events d) nature e) culture (songs, dances, fashion), f) writing, editing, and publishing. There are plenty of notes that compare and contrast scenes and events as they appear in Pioneer Girl and as they appear in one of the original novels. Readers see how a memory recorded in Pioneer Girl is shaped and crafted into a finished product with plenty of detail and even dialogue. Readers see how Wilder carefully--oh-so-carefully--crafted the characters of the family. One gets the definite impression that she was purposeful with every scene, every book. It was no accident that Pa is so noble, independent, strong, and bigger-than-life almost.

I learned so much by reading Pioneer Girl. I would definitely recommend it for anyone who has enjoyed spending time with Laura and her family through the years.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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6. Free e-book for June: Prospero’s Son

9780226142234

Our free e-book for June:

Prospero’s Son: Life, Books, Love and Theater by Seth Lerer

***

“This book is the record of a struggle between two temperaments, two consciousnesses and almost two epochs.” That’s how Edmund Gosse opened Father and Son, the classic 1907 book about his relationship with his father. Seth Lerer’s Prospero’s Son is, as fits our latter days, altogether more complicated, layered, and multivalent, but at its heart is that same problem: the fraught relationship between fathers and sons.
At the same time, Lerer’s memoir is about the power of books and theater, the excitement of stories in a young man’s life, and the transformative magic of words and performance. A flamboyantly performative father, a teacher and lifelong actor, comes to terms with his life as a gay man. A bookish boy becomes a professor of literature and an acclaimed expert on the very children’s books that set him on his path in the first place. And when that boy grows up, he learns how hard it is to be a father and how much books can, and cannot, instruct him. Throughout these intertwined accounts of changing selves, Lerer returns again and again to stories—the ways they teach us about discovery, deliverance, forgetting, and remembering.
“A child is a man in small letter,” wrote Bishop John Earle in the seventeenth century. “His father hath writ him as his own little story.” WithProspero’s Son, Seth Lerer acknowledges the author of his story while simultaneously reminding us that we all confront the blank page of life on our own, as authors of our lives.
***
Download your free copy of Prospero’s Son, here.

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7. Who was Amelia Edwards?

Surprisingly few people have heard of Amelia Edwards. Archaeologists know her as the founder of the Egyptian Exploration Fund, set up in 1882, and the Department of Egyptology at University College London, created in 1892 through a bequest on her death. The first Edwards Professor, Flinders Petrie, was appointed on Amelia’s recommendation and her name is still attached to the Chair of Egyptian Archaeology.

The post Who was Amelia Edwards? appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews illustrated by Bryan Collier Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2015 ISBN: 9781419714658 Grades K-5 The reviewer borrowed a copy of the book from her local library. When I look at the biography section at my school library, it's hard to find a biography of a living musician. We have biographies of Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, The Beatles, Elvis

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9. Details, Details...









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10. Hold Still

This breathtaking memoir, marrying Sally Mann's powerful photography with a personal story so captivating that it rivals great works of fiction, reveals how one's art can become thoroughly intertwined with one's life. Read this book: it's a truly powerful work of art in its own right. Books mentioned in this post Hold Still: A Memoir [...]

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11. The Wright Brothers

In The Wright Brothers, David McCullough spins a history both exhaustive and personal, sharing original correspondence and examining secondary characters like the Wright sister, Katharine. With McCullough's signature depth and thoroughness, The Wright Brothers pays captivating homage to the two men who so exemplified the American spirit. Books mentioned in this post Portland Noir (Akashic [...]

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12. The final years of Fanny Cornforth

Family historians know the sensation of discovery when some longstanding ‘brick wall’ in their search for an elusive ancestor is breached. Crowds at the recent ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ exhibition at Birmingham explored the new resources available to assist their researches, and millions worldwide subscribe to online genealogical sites, hosting ever-growing volumes of digitized historical records, in the hope of tracking down their family roots.

The post The final years of Fanny Cornforth appeared first on OUPblog.

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13.

Gordon Parks: How the photographer captures Black and White America Written by Carole Boston Weatherford; Illustrated by Jamey Christoph Albert Whitman & Company. 2015 ISBN: 9780807530177 Grades 3 thru 12 I borrowed this book out of my local public library As mentioned in the review of The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, by 1902 the gains African Americans made for equality during the

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14. Why Lincoln’s last speech matters

Lincoln’s last speech, delivered on 11 April 1865, seldom receives the attention it deserves. The prose is not poetic, but then it was not meant to inspire but to persuade. He had written the bulk of the speech weeks earlier in an attempt to convince Congress to readmit Louisiana to the Union.

The post Why Lincoln’s last speech matters appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch written by Chris Barton; illustrated by Don Tate

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch Written by Chris Barton; Illustrated by Don Tate Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. 2015 ISBN: 9780802853790 Grades 4-8 I received a copy of this book from the publisher. <!--[if gte mso 9]> <![

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16. The life of Colonel William Eddy

Missionaries and US Marines? It did not seem a natural combination. But while working on a book about American Protestant missionaries and their children I came across a missionary son who became a prominent officer in the USMC and one of the most effective agents of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Col. William Eddy was in charge of the OSS operations in North Africa [...]

The post The life of Colonel William Eddy appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. Celebrate and Teach About Baseball with Toni Stone

It’s baseball season again. It’s also the 10th anniversary of Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream written by Crystal Hubbard and illustrated by Randy DuBurke. How can you celebrate both?

 catching the moonCatching the Moon was selected by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation for its latest read aloud on Storyline Online, an interactive literacy website where well-known actors read popular, award-winning children’s books to help students fall in love with reading.

Resources for Teaching After Reading and Watching Catching the Moon

Comprehension Questions for the Video or Read Aloud

  • Describe what Marcenia loves about baseball.
  • How does Marcenia feel about the way others treat her as a ball player? How do you know?
  • What does Marcenia do that ultimately changes her father and Mr. Street’s mind about her playing baseball and attending the camp? How will this experience help her when she is an adult trying to play on a men’s professional team?
  • At what point in Toni Stone’s life does the author, Crystal Hubbard, choose to begin? Why do you think she chooses to start there and not when Toni Stone is an adult playing as a professional ball player? What message does author Crystal Hubbard want young readers to learn from this story? Why?

Activity Suggestions

1. Have students compare and contrast Catching the Moon with other baseball biographies. How are their experiences similar? What barriers do they tackle? What character traits do they share that have allowed them to overcome obstacles? What legacies do they leave behind? How do they change people’s minds?

2. Have students research Mo’ne Davis, 13-year-old Philadelphia pitcher in the Little League and compare her experiences in baseball to Marcenia Lyle’s. The Anti-Defamation League’s Current Events Classroom has put together a lesson plan to learn more about Mo’ne Davis and explore gender stereotypes in sports.

3. Science in Baseball? Check out these extension ideas from Science Buddies:

4. Have students discover other women who played and were involved in black professional baseball. Check out the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s education resources made in partnership with Kansas State University. Students can learn about the roles African American women played at all levels of the league in the NLBM’s lesson plan.

5. Put Marcenia Lyle’s story in further context. With students, create a timeline of critical moments and milestones of women in American baseball. The National Baseball Hall of Fame has created a five lesson unit on women in baseball history.

If Youtube is blocked or unavailable at your school, find Storyline Online’s Catching the Moon read aloud video at:

How have you been teaching and celebrating Catching the Moon all these years? What lessons and activities did we miss? Share with us!

img_1587Jill Eisenberg, our Senior Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her weekly column at The Open Book, she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

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18. The life and legacy of Lucy Stone

A gifted orator, Lucy Stone dedicated her life to the fight for equal rights. Among the earliest female graduates of the Oberlin Collegiate Institute in Ohio, Stone was the first Massachusetts-born woman to earn a college degree. Stone rose to national prominence as a well-respected public speaker – an occupation rarely pursued by women of the era.

The post The life and legacy of Lucy Stone appeared first on OUPblog.

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19. Enormous Smallness

 

Enormous Smallness

by Matthew Burgess and Kris Di Giacomo (Enchanted Lion, 2015)

This book is the author’s debut picture book, and as a poet and creative writing teacher he found a perfect venue for these words. And here’s a great look at the illustrator’s work over at This Picture Book Life. (If you haven’t seen Brief Thief, RUN to the library. Now.)

Then there’s Enchanted Lion. Smart, beautiful, well-crafted books. This small Brooklyn publisher is fresh off a huge and deserved recognition in Bologna.

So. Let’s take a look.

Enormous Smallness

Layers of letters and piles of words make up some of the best endpapers I’ve seen this year.

Before I flip another page, I’m keenly aware of this texture. What an exceptional way to visualize the poetry of E.E. Cummings. It makes perfect sense. A jumble of words and sounds and feelings are the foundation for E.E.’s work.

Words as art themselves.

Enormous Smallness Enormous Smallness

Here’s a simple sentence, spare but lovely, stating facts and straightening out his family tree. Understated, but lively is for sure in that ensemble. Can you see rambunctious Uncle George there, turning a cartwheel or just plain standing on his hands?

The handwritten labels, the cattywampus text layout, the warm texture. All so inviting.

Enormous Smallness

A happy home for spilling words.

Enormous Smallness

A poet, catching words like a bunny through a hoop.

An author, echoing exactly what young E.E. loved.

Estlin looked around

as if his eyes were on tiptoes

and when his heart jumped,

he said another poem.

Enormous SmallnessEnormous Smallness

An illustrator, wrapping it all up in carefully crafted texture that smacks a bit of haphazard beauty.

It’s pretty. It’s intentional. It’s rich and wonder and a treat to take in.

Enormous Smallness Enormous Smallness

A remarkable slew of back matter includes a timeline, additional poetry, a fascinating author’s note, and another really great elephant illustration.

Magic.

Lots to see and learn and celebrate here.

Out today.

ch

I received a copy from the publisher, but opinions are my own.

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20. What I'm Working On Now

I haven't forgotten about you, little blog. I've just been knee-deep in revisions, and now final art (yay!) for Charles Around The World.

I'm posting a lot more frequently over on Instagram, if you'd like to follow along...



























































(My hairy little assistants... always good for adding hair to the watercolors...)

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21. Life in the Ocean, The Story of Oceanographer SYLVIA EARLE – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Life in the Ocean, The Story of Oceanographer SYLVIA EARLE Written by and illustrated by: Claire A. Nivola Published in Canada by: D&M Publishers, Inc., 2012 Themes/Topics: women marine biologists, biography, women explorers, the ocean Suitable for ages: 7-11 Opening: Seen from … Continue reading

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22. Lincoln’s eleven greatest speeches

Leaving behind a legacy that transcends generations today, Abraham Lincoln was a veteran when it came to giving speeches. Delivering one of the most quoted speeches in history, Lincoln addressed the nation on a number of other occasions, captivating his audience and paving the way for generations to come. Here is an in-depth look at Lincoln’s eleven greatest speeches, in chronological order.

The post Lincoln’s eleven greatest speeches appeared first on OUPblog.

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23. Jonas Salk and the polio vaccination

Today, 12 April 2015 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the announcement that Jonas Salk’s vaccine could prevent poliomyelitis. We asked Charlotte Jacobs, author of Jonas Salk: A Life, a few questions about this event.

The post Jonas Salk and the polio vaccination appeared first on OUPblog.

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24. Drum Dream Girl (2015)

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music. Margarita Engle. Illustrated by Rafael Lopez. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]

On an island of music
in a city of drumbeats
the drum dream girl
dreamed
of pounding tall conga drums
tapping small bongo drums
and boom boom booming
with long, loud sticks
on big, round, silvery
moon-bright timbales.

 Margarita Engle's Drum Dream Girl is a picture book biography of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga. Millo and her older sisters formed Cuba's first all-girl dance band. (The historical note adds that she performed at a birthday celebration for FDR.)

She grew up at a time and in a place where women were not allowed to play drums, or professionally play drums. The book highlights her ambitious dreams, her diligence and perseverance. It is a beautifully written biography. I've always been a fan of Margarita Engle's narrative style, her rhythmic way with words. Drum Dream Girl did not disappoint!

I loved the bold, colorful illustrations by Rafael Lopez. This one is easy to recommend!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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25. A woman’s journey in Kashmiri politics

Nyla Ali Khan’s recent book The Life of a Kashmiri Woman: Dialectic of Resistance and Accommodation, though primarily a biography of her grandmother Akbar Jehan, promises to be much more than that. It is also a narration of the story of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the charismatic political leader who is still recognized as the greatest political leader that Kashmir ever produced.

The post A woman’s journey in Kashmiri politics appeared first on OUPblog.

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