Picture Book Biographies for kids

Picture book biographies for kids inspire!  These true stories of real people that have made a difference, that have persevered, that grew up to impact others through a variety of ways will point children to the truth - they matter!

These are five of my favorites!  Children probably won't be familiar with the names (except for Winnie), but they will be inspired by the story of real people who have lived and made a difference, leaving their mark upon the world.

The next time a child catches a snowflake, colors with a crayon, cares for an animal, practices a sport or talent, or struggles to read or master a skill, they will think of these that have come before them.  These who they may not remember their names, but they will remember there are others who have walked in their shoes and succeeded, and they can too!

Snowflake picture book

1.  Snowflake Bentley - A Story of Passion & Sacrifice
written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin * illustrated by Mary Azarian

This Caldecott Award book which should be available at your local library is titled Snowflake Bentley.  

Wilson Bentley was a soul that saw beauty everywhere in the world around him, but primarily in the wonder of snowflakes.  Wanting to share these tiny wonders for others to enjoy, he invented a way to photograph them.  Copies of these are included at the end of the biography.

2. The Crayon Man - A Story of Creativity & Industry
written by Natascha Biebow * Illustrated by Steven Salerno

Crayon inventor book

The story of Edwin Binney, the creator of Crayola Crayons, will make you want to go color a picture!  This tale of a curious soul who wanted to create things people needed will inspire kids as well as adults.

Here it is read by the author:

Find out more about the author herself along with fun extended activities and facts to go along with this creatively inspiring true story!

3.  Finding Winnie - A Story of Compassion & Friendship
Written by Lindsay Mattick, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Winnie biography

Who doesn't love Winne the Pooh?!  One of the sweetest picture book biographies for kids gives the true back story of how this small cub found a home and met the real Christopher Robin!

Finding Winnie will change how you see Winnie the Pooh.  It reminds us to be kind to both people and animals.  Because it is a Cadelcott Medal winner, you should be able to find it at your local library to read for free!

It begins...

"Could you tell me a story?" asked Cole.  

"It's awfully late."  It was long past dark, and time to be asleeip.

"What kind of story?"

"You know.  A true story.  One about a Bear."

We cuddled up close.

"I'll do my best," I said.

This true tale is not only written by the real-life great-granddaughter of the man who found Winnie, but she also has included copies of real-life photos at the end of Harry, Winnie, Christopher Robin (A.A. Milne's son) and more!

4.  Catching the Moon - A Story of Dedication & Perseverance
Written by Crystal Hubbard, illustrated by Randy DuBurke

Catching the Moon

Follow your dream...persevere...is the drive behind the true life story of Marcenia Lyle also known in the baseball world as "Toni Stone."   In a world where only men set foot, a little girl determined to follow her dream; she didn't give up.  She was brave and worked hard and succeeded in realizing her dream of playing a game she loved.

5.  Thank You, Mr. Falker - A Story of Difficulty & Trust
Written & Illustrated by Patricia Polacco

picture book dyslexia

This is probably one of my favorite picture book biographies for kids! I loved to it read to my library classes to help them understand reading is a skill that is learned and practiced.  It may come easy to some, but for many it may be a struggle.  

The main character, Trisha, thinks she is dumb because she can't read; the letters swim across the page when she tries.  Finally a teacher realizes Trisha is struggling with dyslexia and steps in to help her conquer her struggles. This story also touches on being bullied and learning to trust someone else's help.

At the end of the story the author, Patricia Polacco, reveals she was Trisha.  If you notice, many of Patricia Polacco's books are small autobiographies about herself and her family.  This one in particular is truly and inspiring read for both children and adults.  It also makes a great teacher gift or a gift of encouragement to a struggling reader!

Her story begins...

She spooned honey on the cover and tasted the sweetness, and said to herself, "The honey is sweet, and so is knowledge, but knowledge is like the bee who made the honey, it has to be chased through the pages of a book!"

Meet the real Tricia as she talks about her books and family:

More Picture Book Biographies for kids:

  1. Imagine That! How Dr. Seuss Wrote the Cat in the Hat  written by Judy Sierra, Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
  2. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers written & illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein
  3. The Kid Who Changed the World by Andy Andrews
  4. Mae Among the Stars written by Roda Ahmed and illustrated by Stasia Burrington