We can all be heroes. That’s the inspiring message of this lively, collectible picture book biography series from New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer.
“Kids always search for heroes, so we might as well have a say in it,” Brad Meltzer realized, and so he envisioned this friendly, fun approach to biography – for his own kids, and for yours. Each book tells the story of one of America’s icons in an entertaining, conversational way that works well for the youngest nonfiction readers, those who aren’t quite ready for the Who Was series. Each book focuses on a particular character trait that made that role model heroic. For example, Amelia Earhart refused to accept no for an answer; she dared to do what no one had ever done before, and became the first woman to fly a plane all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. This book follows her from childhood to her first flying lessons and onward to her multi-record-breaking career as a pilot.
This engaging series is the perfect way to bring American history to life for young children, and to inspire them to strive and dream.
Thriller writer Meltzer, who also hosts the history-themed TV show Decoded, introduces groundbreaking historical figures in the Ordinary People Change the World series, which launches with this title and I Am Abraham Lincoln (a third book, I Am Rosa Parks, is scheduled for summer 2014). Beyond the underlying message that average people are capable of greatness, the conceit on which the series turns is that each famous protagonist is pictured as a child, even at the peak of his or her adult accomplishments and fame. Eliopoulos draws Earhart as an eager, try-anything kind of girl whose oversize head, stumpy limbs, and expressive reactions strongly evoke the work of Charles Schulz and Bill Watterson. Early scenes show Earhart getting her first taste of flight via a homemade roller coaster ("That was awesome!" shouts Amelia after her "un-ladylike" crash landing), before the book moves on to her record-setting feats of aviation. Anachronisms are embraced wholeheartedly, and moments of humor balance out the plainly stated message: "Whatever your dream is, chase it." Archival photos wrap up this entertaining and inspiring primer, though source notes are absent. Ages 5 8.