Just as Saturday mornings were reserved for kids on TV programing in the 50s and 60s, this blog reserves Saturday Mornings for book recommendations for kids.

Today’s recommendations both come from a Kane Miller EDC Publisher’s “Extraordinary Life” series of very readable, fantastically illustrated biographies.

The first is The Extraordinary Life of Malala Yousafzai, written by Hiba Noer Khan and illustrated by Rita Petruccioli. It pulls no punches, and covers the attack on Malala in a straight-forward manner without making that the only thing about her life.

The second is a biography of Neil Armstrong , The Extraordinary Life of Neil Armstrong written by Martin Howard and illustrated by Freida Chiu. Chronicling the life of the first man to step foot on the moon, this biography describes Armstrong’s life as a “nerd,” and gives hope to young nerds everywhere.

Both of these books are wonderfully written and illustrated and should interest kids from 8 to 14. This reviewer, although an adult learned many things about the two individuals from reading their biographies. I ordered these books from the publisher for young friends, and will look for more biographies in this series. These are darned good reads for kids!




Book “D” of the Alphabet Soup Challenge is one I picked out at a library near the university where I work, Over the Hills and Far Away by Matthew Dennison. Published in 2017, it is a fine biography of Beatrix Potter, renowned children’s author and illustrator. I learned many fascinating facts about Potter that demonstrated how ahead of her time and what a resilient, versatile woman she was. The photographs and illustrations added a nice touch to the author’s description of a woman I have come to admire.


I received four huge boxes of discarded books from a nearby town’s public library and have been sorting them, looking through them, and distributing them for two days. One book I’ve exercised my “First Dibs” privilege on is Fall of Frost by Brian Hall (pub. 2008).  For this Lit major, it is definitely a “keeper.” Its dedication page is one of the most interesting ones I’ve read :

“In memory of Louis Alton Hall

physicist and father, who recited to me the first lines of Frost I ever heard

‘Home is the place where when you have to go there,

                                    They have to let you in.’

and who kept hidden in his desk, where no one found it until after his death, a copy of Frost’s, “Revelation”

‘We make ourselves a place apart

Behind light words and tease and flour,

But, oh the agitated heart

Till someone find us really out.’ “


THE BOOK OF AWESOME WOMEN: Boundary Breakers, Freedom Fighters, Sheroes, and Female Firsts

This non-fiction book by Becca Anderson would make an excellent reference book and is also, at the same time extremely readable.  It was fun to go through and learn about “famous” women, who are presented in a way that kept me reading and wanting to learn more. The title, cleverly, says it all.  The chapters are divided into women who broke boundaries of race, gender and personal obstacles to be overcome; those who fought for freedom from the earliest days to the twenty-first century; “Sheroes” some of whom were my personal “heroes” as a young girl and as an adult; and those females who dared to be the first to do whatever needed to be done.

The forward by Vicki Leon made the statement that, “Well behaved women rarely make history,” so some of the women were considered unseemly,  un-ladylike, pushy etc. when they were just ahead of their time in their thinking and actions. Anderson chooses environmentalists, athletes, scientists, women of color, music muses, resistors, and artists, in the broadest definition of the word.

This book is a catalog of “Sheroes” that would make a great outline for a women’s study course or a personal study of women in general. Many of my “old friends” from sixth grade forward like Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor; Florence Nightingale, who reformed the institution of nursing; Marie Curie, the discoverer of Uranium and the “inventor” of x-rays; and many many more of the childhood biographies I read were discussed in excellent, attention-keeping detail, and readable entries. The section on Women of Color is especially well done, including women from Sojourner Truth to Michelle Obama, as the author discussed the women’s lives and the real “obstacles” they overcame to make their contributions to our culture and our society.

Some of the entries were short, little known (to me) ancient women in leadership positions whom little is known about, but the author included them in her listings.  Others, more familiar, had longer entries which often gave little known facts about these sheroes that were fascinating to read and made me admire them even more.

It is not a book for just women. Young men and women, older adults who hear of names that sound familiar but aren’t sure of what they’re “famous” for, and anyone who wants information presented in a reader-friendly, interesting way should read this fine book.

The exciting news is that this book will be released on July 20th by Mango publishing  at

Information is available at or