Diverse Biographies for Kids

The specifics of people’s lives can give children insight into the fears and hopes of other people with quite different experiences. A way into empathy is through hearing stories and really listening to what the stories based on people’s real lives mean. Enjoy a handful of biographies in picture book form for opening up the diversity and richness of other lives and dreams.

Dreamers, written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, a memoir picture book for ages 5-9.

A moving and deeply poetic memoir of Yuyi Morales as a young Mexican immigrant to the US with her infant son. Struggling to make sense of their new world, she discovers the children’s section of the public library and learns a new language, new dreams, and hope.

28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World, written by Charles R. Smith, Jr., and illustrated by Shane Evans. The entries of this history/ group biography audiobook are spoken by various narrators. 

From the Revolutionary War to the present, the achievements of African-Americans in a wide range of arts, politics, sports, etc., are described in prose and poetry. The chapters are divided into the 28 days of Black History Month.

Pride: the Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Steven Salerno, a picture book biography for ages 6-9.

A clear and age-appropriate recounting of the life of gay activist Harvey Milk and the collaboration that created the Rainbow Flag in 1978 that is a symbol of gay pride throughout the world today.

Firebird, written by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christopher Myers, a picture book memoir for ages 5-8.

An inspiring story of achievement through hard work and the development of confidence in yourself despite obstacles and your own doubts.

ARTfull at Home with the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum

The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum wants you to get your creative energy flowing! Part of their ARTfull at Home program, they have put together a handy virtual guide of creativity prompts to inspire kids and kids at heart alike to create art with what they have.

Designed to get little ones engaging with their built and natural environments in experimental ways, the guide includes a list of objects from your home or backyard that can be used for art projects, as well as prompts for creating, such as sound sculptures, shadow art, paper planes, and looking for patterns in nature. 

The deCordova has a lot of other great virtual content, including an ARTfull at Home Story Time featuring Andrea Beaty’s Iggy Peck, Architect (you may also know Iggy’s friends Rosie Revere, Engineer and Ada Twist, Scientist, too!). They’ve also got a lot of content for the not-so-littles (i.e., grown ups), like a virtual tour of the sculpture park, that is not to be missed.

For more inspiration to jumpstart your creative projects at home, check out these titles from our digital collections:

Books for Art Project Inspiration:

Art Lab for Kids and Art Lab for Little Kids by Susan Schwake

Art For Spring (from the Outdoor Art Room Series) by Rita Storey

Books About Artists:

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant, ill. by Melissa Sweet

The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock, ill. by Mary GrandPré

Viva FridFrida Kahlo,a by Yuyi Morales

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

Books About Art & Design in Our World:

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds (also available on hoopla as an audiobook)

The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola

Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell, ill. by Rafael López

Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty (also available on hoopla as an ebook, audiobook, movie, and Read Along!)