Autobiographies and Biographies


Diego by Jeanette Winter. Text by Jonah Winter. Text © 1991 by Jonah Winter. Illustrations © 1991 by Jeanette Winter.

Biographies tell the story of a real life. This book, for example, is about the famous painter, Diego Rivera. Diego was very sick, when he was a little boy, but he was strong in spirit, and he recovered to become one of the most respected artists in the world.


This book tells the story of Diego's life, and includes many wonderful pictures that represent the colorful forms he used in his art. The story begins in the mountains of Mexico, and all the illustrations are vivid, like the ones here. We recommend this book for kids 6 and up!

Knoxville, Tennesse by Nikki Giovanni; Illustrations by Larry Johnson. NY: Scholastic, 1994.


Famous poet Nikki Giovanni writes about her memories of growing up in this book, where we learn all about feeling wonderful and safe during a summer the Southeast. Children and parents alike will find the fine illustrations by Larry Johnson as soothing and evocative as the text.

Tar Beach, Story and Illustrations by Faith Ringgold. NY: Scholastic, 1992.


Faith Ringgold is one of the world's most famous and respected artists. For many years, she has made what she calls "story quilts": in the tradition of her peoples, she uses fabric to make the kind of quilt that once was sewn for bed covers or to hang on walls. Faith combines this traditional art with writing, sometimes painting the words right on the cloth. In Tar Beach Faith tells the story of growing up in a large city, where the roof of her building was the "tar beach." Her quilted images make the sides of the pages beautifully inviting.







Family Pictures/Cuadros de familia
by Carmen Lomas Garza
Children's Book Press 1990

Truly gifted Chicana artist Carmen Lomas Garza brings a bilingual text to her wonderful paintings, as she tells the story of growing up in Kingsville, Texas, near the Mexican border. An excellent picture book for even the youngest listeners and early readers.

One Smiling Grandma: A Caribbean Counting Book
by Ann Marie Linden
Dial, 1992

The author tells us about all the happy times she spent with her grandmother in the Carribe, while introducing the numbers one to ten. Recommended for very young listeners and early readers. Recommended for young listeners and early readers.

Working Cotton
by Sherley Anne Williams
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992

Respected African-American poet and fiction writer Sherley Anne Williams tells what her life was like, as a young girl traveling with her family, who are migrant farm workers in the cotton fields of central California. Recommended for older readers.

Katie Henio: Navajo Sheepherder
by Peggy Thomson, Photographs by Paul Conklin
Cobblehill, 1995

A biography with photographs that tell the story of how Grandmother Katie Henio travels between her traditional Navajo world and the very different world of her great-grandchildren. Recommended for young to older readers.

All for the Better: The Story of El Barrio
by Nicholasa Mohr
Steck-Vaughn, 1993

Noted Puerto Rican writer Nicholasa Mohr inspires with the true story of a young girl, Evelina Lopez Antonetty (1984-1992), who gave her all to make a true difference in her community. Recommended for older readers.

The Journey: Japanese Americans, Racism, and Renewal
by Sheila Hamanaka
Orchard Books, 1990

In this autobiographical work, Hamanaka brings the reader to a mural she painted depicting the racism her relatives and other Japanese-Americans endured, while imprisoned in U. S. internment camps during World War II. Recommended for older readers. **Editors' Note: We urge you to also read Beyond Words, edited by Gesenway, Deborah, for a pictorial biography of the Japanese internment camps, with many paintings and oral interviews from the survivors.

Alvin Ailey
by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Hyperion, 1993

What is the shape and contour of Modern Dance? Find out by reading this biography about dancer/choreographer Alvin Ailey, whose work became part of the explosion of praise for Modern Dance stylings in the United States. The author's emphasis here provides readers with another important role-model among 20th-century African-Americans.

Viva México!: The Story of Benito Juárez and Cinco de Mayo
by Argentina Palacios
Steck-Vaughn, 1993

The inspiring true story of Zapotec Mexican Indian Benito Juárez, who became president of all of Mexico. Find out here more about Cinco de Mayo, a major holiday celebrated by Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.




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