‘Little Guides to Great Lives’ Makes Reading Biographies Fun

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Photo: Jenny Bristol

I remember having to read biographies of famous people when I was a kid. The books were definitely scaled down in depth and scope for elementary kids, but they were still pretty dry and the images weren’t terribly inspiring. I wish I had had books like the Little Guides to Great Lives series to read.

With the first set of books being released today, June 5, the Little Guides to Great Lives series covers the life stories of notable people in history, telling about important milestones and events in their lives set in front of a gorgeous artwork backdrop. This first set includes books on Amelia Earhart, Leonardo Da Vinci, Marie Curie, and Nelson Mandela. The next book, on Frida Kahlo, will be released on July 10 and one on Charles Darwin comes out in October. It didn’t get past me that they have an even number of men and women on this publication list as well as including people from all over the world. I hope they continue this trend for future books.

Each book’s canvas-y hard cover is decorated with imagery related to the person who is profiled, such as airplanes, clouds, and books for Amelia Earhart; paintbrushes, shapes, and butterflies for Leonardo Da Vinci; chemistry notations, test tubes, and pencils for Marie Curie; the South African flag, trees, pens, and dwellings for Nelson Mandela; and paint brushes, flowers, and Day of the Dead skulls for Frida Kahlo. Each one has a color theme that is carried throughout the book with imagery and illustrations that resembles colorful woodblock prints, pen and ink, or paint textures.

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The books tell the stories of these great figures from history by first describing their childhoods and families, and where they came from, physically and emotionally. Next, the books detail the notable highlights of the person’s life, mentioning but somewhat glossing over the sadness and tragedies, while peppering the glorious successes with extra exclamation marks. This excites readers and they feel like they are a part of the action. There are also actual quotes from the featured people to give readers a taste of their true thoughts and ideas.

The stories in these books convey to kids that there is no limit to what they can aim for. While the books tell of the successes and challenges of notable people in history, they also show their often humble origins, so perhaps kids can see their future selves in these accomplished people.

The back of each book also includes a timeline of the person’s life, a glossary of the underlined words in the book, and an index. Since the books cover many different time periods in history and show places around the world, kids will also learn about other times and cultures, and the glossary helps them understand what they are reading. Though of course these books don’t go into as much detail as would a biography for teens or adults, they are the perfect reading level for curious elementary-aged kids who want to learn about the world.

The Little Guides to Great Lives series is intended for kids around grades 2-6, but older kids and even adults will learn a thing or two. And they are gorgeous to just look at and page through.

If you’re looking to inspire your children to aim high and think big, the Little Guides to Great Lives series is the perfect place to start. The stories that the books convey tell kids that there is no limit to what they can aim for. These biographies will pique the interest of any young child who is already dreaming of their future.

Note: I received some of the books for review purposes.

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