How I wish that these books had been around when I was younger! When I was in the 6th grade, I went through a crazy biography phase. Remember the Childhood of Famous Americans series? Well, my school library probably had about 50 of them and I read every single one of them during that school year (except for one that always seemed to be checked out). Everytime my family went on vacation and I saw one of those books, that what I wanted instead of souvenirs. I just couldn't get enough. Reading these books brought back some of these memories.
Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World & Akira to Zoltan: Twenty-Six Men Who Changed the World by Cynthia Chin-Lee (and illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy) are exactly what you'd expect from the title. Each page covers a different famous person in history, in alphabetical order by first name, from A-Z. Though the descriptions are incredibly brief (each person does only get a page), I feel that the author really did her research and does a good job capturing the person in that small amount of space. I think that these books are perfect for any teachers that plan to assign biographies to their students. I remember getting such assignments and watching the majority of my classmates struggle to find someone to write their paper on. I think these books would be an excellent first step in that process. Students could read the book and find someone they are interested in and then begin the more in depth research process. I certainly would have enjoyed these books when I was younger.
I can't talk about these books without mentioning the illustrations- they are gorgeous! It is clear that a lot of time and effort went in to the design of this book. The pictures are made up of various elements- images of the people, paint, paper and other found objects that are tied together beautifully. I think I spent more time pouring over the illustrations than the text (teachers, this might also be an idea for an assignment too). Halsey and Addy certainly are talented and I plan to look for more of their projects soon. These books are my current favorite reads of the year (so far)!