Summary: The leadership skills I learned as a commander in the U.S. Navy helped earn me a place first as a congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives, and later as a U.S. senator-but that was just the beginning. I became another kind of commander, the commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces, when I was elected president. Though I accomplished a great deal in my short life, I was assassinated at the age of forty-six. Still, my brave choices changed the lives of generations to come. I am John F. Kennedy.
Summary: Osceola, Cochise, and Tecumseh are three Native American heroes who fought valiantly for their land and for their people. This book is divided into three parts–each part recounting the life of one of these great heroes. Their true stories are emotionally gripping and tragic, and Ann McGovern handles delicate topics, such as violence and racism, expertly for young readers.
Summary: An introduction to the life of young Benjamin Franklin describes how, as a rebellious teen in 1732, he ran away from his family and a Boston apprenticeship to Philadelphia, and how throughout subsequent decades he rose to become a distinguished statesman, renowned author and world-famous scientist.
Good Sports series
Summary: Baseball is a great sport, but not all players had the home life as kids that nurtured their talent. Babe Ruth, Jim Peirsall, Torii Hunter, Ron LeFlore, and Joe Torre dealt with poverty, abuse, and addiction when young, and had to turn their lives around to play the game they loved. A moving look at the lives of these four great players.
Sandpiper/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Lee & Low Books
Summary: Zora Neale Hurston was confident, charismatic, and determined to be extraordinary. As a young woman, Hurston lived and wrote alongside such prominent authors as Langston Hughes and Alain Locke during the Harlem Renaissance. But unfortunately, despite writing the luminary work Their Eyes Were Watching God, she was always short of money. Though she took odd jobs as a housemaid and as the personal assistant to an actress, Zora often found herself in abject poverty. Through it all, Zora kept writing. And though none of her books sold more than a thousand copies while she was alive, she was rediscovered a decade later by a new generation of readers, who knew they had found an important voice of American Literature.
Summary: An acclaimed biographer writes the remarkable story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s most influential and fascinating founding fathers, and his untimely death in a duel with Aaron Burr.
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Summary: A Newbery Medalist presents one of the most compelling rags-to-riches stories of modern times, in this biography of the legendary Little Tramp, Charlie Chaplin. Includes archival prints and photos.
Greenwillow, 268 pages
Summary: How did Jon Scieszka get so funny? He grew up as one of six brothers with Catholic school, lots of comic books, lazy summers at the lake with time to kill, babysitting misadventures, TV shows, and jokes told at family dinner. 106 p., Viking.
Summary: Watercolor illustrations and lyrical prose combine to tell the true story of Wangari Maathai, the winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, who changed the fate of her village in the highlands of Kenya by teaching her people how to care for it. 32 p., Farrar, Straus & Giroux.