Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite picture book biographies published in recent years. These books would be great to share with the children in your life all year long, but especially during the month of February, which is Black History Month:
A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin is an inspiring biography of artist Horace Pippin, with stunning illustrations you’ll marvel over. This book is by Jen Bryant and one of my favorite illustrators, Melissa Sweet. Horace Pippin is someone who did whatever it took to create his art, no matter the obstacles. Whether it was searching for charcoal or discarded paint for supplies, or figuring out a way to paint again after his arm is severely injured during World War I, he never gives up and eventually becomes a respected painter with his work in museums. For more information on the creative process behind the book, you can check out an interesting interview with the author and illustratore` from Two Writing Teachers.
Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate is a powerful story of determination and resilience. Enslaved in North Carolina, Horton loved words and manages to teach himself to read and begins to compose his own poems. When he is sent to sell produce at the University of North Carolina: Chapel Hill and is teased by students there, Horton distracts himself by reciting his poetry. The students see his talent and actually start paying Horton for poems for their sweethearts while word spreads of his poetry. George Moses Horton faced incredible adversity over the course of his life which Tate does not shy away from, including being sold and separated from his entire family at seventeen, but he perseveres to become a published, sought after poet.
You can view a book trailer from the author here:
Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills shines a light on Harlem Renaissance singer Florence Mills. With its lyrical writing and stunningly beautiful illustrations by Last Stop on Market Street’s Christian Robinson, this is a book that completely immerses you in Mills’ life and story. Florence Mills, the child of former slaves, became a prominent performer who used her incredible voice and talents to pave the way for other African American performers, help others, and promote equal rights. Highly recommended.
For an interview with author Renée Watson, check out this post from the great Mr. Schu’s Watch.Connect.Read.