Great Lives In Graphics (Button Books)

Hello, friends! We’re bringing you a special weekend review and taking a look at the latest titles in Button Books’ Great Lives In Graphics series, which introduces notable figures from history in a kid-friendly, infographic-style format.

Did you know that William Shakespeare invented 1,700 words? Or that Frida Kahlo painted over 200 paintings in her lifetime? Did you know Jane Austen invented a writing technique called “free indirect speech” that changed the fiction genre forever? Or that Nikola Tesla could speak eight languages and had a photographic memory? Young readers can learn these fascinating factoids and more, laid out in a colorful and engaging infographic style that is sure to leave the audience with a better understanding of these fascinating figures.

We’ve reviewed a couple of titles from this series before, and these six new additions – covering Tesla, Shakespeare, Austen, Kahlo, Mozart, and Einstein – are equally edifying and fun. Information on the luminaries’ lives, the time periods and societies in which they lived, and the lasting impact of their work are all organized into infographics that are packed with facts but never overwhelming, and are perfect for grabbing the attention of elementary to middle-grade readers. Occasionally, some of the details or subjects covered can feel a little extraneous (such as the biological mechanics of how we hear sound in Mozart’s biography), but most are enriching and often fun; a particular favorite for me was the Regency Name Generator in Austen’s book, and JJ loved the Shakespeare Insult Generator. Overall, these are incredible ways to gets kids engaged in historical figures and events, and we highly recommend them. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: Copies of these books were provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Brave Jane Austen: Reader, Writer, Author, Rebel (Lisa Pliscou)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Brave Jane Austen: Reader, Writer, Author, Rebel, written by Lisa Pliscou and illustrated by Jen Corace, a picture book biography of the world-famous author.

Little Jane was born to a humble household in England, loving parents, a sister and six brothers, and a household full of the boys her father tutored. Raised in a time when girls were expected to be wives and mothers (and little else), Jane found a passion for stories: the ones her father told by the fire, the ones she read in the family’s extensive library and the ones she soon began to write for herself. The family loved Jane’s stories, especially the one she had written to help heal after a broken heart, and her father submitted it to be published – but no one was interested in publishing work written by a woman. Jane continued to help her family as best she could, but always writing. At last, after years of trying, two of Jane’s books were published and proved to be smashing successes. She went on to write and publish four more, though she sadly passed away at a young age. Still, Jane had the courage to go against the norm and follow her dreams, and is still a much-beloved author 200 years later.

A fantastic introduction to Austen and her works. The story touches on all the major plot points of Jane’s life: her childhood illness, her brief and tragic romance, the sources for her inspiration and creative style and so on, giving a richly detailed look at what made Jane so unique, especially for her time. The soft yet colorful art captures the feel of the Regency era, and gives Jane’s expressions a spark that little dreamers can connect with. The length is definitely for older bookworms, though JJ was engaged nearly all the way through. A great way for little ones to learn of this literary pioneer, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)