Tuesday, December 24, 2019

A Love Letter To (And Defense of) Picture Book Biographies

Over at Electric Lit, J.M. Farkas writes "You Should Be Getting Your Biographies in Children’s Picture Book Form"

“Reading PBBs is an amazing hack for readers who want to know the general beats of notable lives.... But beyond acquiring facts and increasing your Jeopardy! score*, what I relish most about PBBs is how they infuse history with much-needed empathy and emotion.”

“There’s also one more hidden benefit: reading them will make you a better writer. A biography in a picture book format is a master class in distillation. All writing involves making choices, sometimes excruciating choices, of what to leave in and what to leave out—but the art of a biographer takes this excision to the next level. And the scissory task of a picture book biographer is even more arduous: how to fit an entire life into a 32-page container. It’s no coincidence that some of the best PBBs have the fewest words.”
And then the author lists some of their favorite picture book biographies. Some I knew, others I've added to my to-be-read list.

The whole piece is well-worth reading!

Illustrate and Write On,

*For a fun sidebar, see the shout out that 'Jeopardy!' Star James Holzhauer gave to children's books as his strategy to become a game show millionaire.

1 comment:

Wendy BooydeGraaff said...

I love reading pb biographies! Thanks for the link :)