Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Women Who Broke the Rules #nfpb2015

nonfiction picture book challenge 2015

One of my favorite reading challenges is Kid Lit Frenzy’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge. Visit Alyson’s blog to join the fun and discover the incredible variety of nonfiction picture books.

women who broke rules

Kathleen Krull’s new series, Women Who Broke the Rules, fills a much-needed book gap for the early chapter book set: entertaining nonfiction chapter books. I bought and quickly devoured the volumes on Judy Blume and Sonia Sotomayor, and I will definitely be buying the other books in the series.

The titles are a good preview of Krull’s tone: the Judy Blume biography is called Are You There, Reader? It’s Me, Judy! and the Sonia Sotomayor volume is called I’ll Be the Judge of That. Har har.

What I loved most about these two books is the firm focus on Blume’s and Sotomayor’s work lives. I think in biographies of women, even now, there is a tendency to focus on the life rather than the work. Krull gets the balance just right. Details of the life are used to illuminate the work. I especially enjoyed seeing the seeds of Blume’s and Sotomayor’s later careers and passions being sown in childhood.

As always, Krull has an eye for the telling detail and she’s not afraid to interpret and shape her narrative according to a strong thesis. She writes in a lively, conversational tone that I found very appealing and reader-friendly. These books are designed for newly independent readers to read to themselves, but they’d also make good readalouds.

For me, the test of a good nonfiction children’s book is that it sends me to the Internet or library or bookstore for more, and both of these books passed that test with flying colors. I’ve already put library holds on a couple of Blume books and Sotomayor’s autobiography.

The only caveat I have? The books do have bibliographies and indexes, but I wish more care had been taken to cite specific sources. There are many quotations in both books, and it bothered me not to be able to track where information was coming from.

To learn more about the series, be sure to read Kid Lit Frenzy’s interview with Kathleen Krull.


9 responses to “Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Women Who Broke the Rules #nfpb2015”

  1. Jane Whittingham Avatar

    This is one of my favourite reading challenges too! I * need * to get my hands on some of these books! I have a weakness for picture book biographies as it is, and I particularly adore picture books about inspiring, trail-blazing women. I’m so excited to give these a read!

  2. trkravtin Avatar

    Ooo! Just after reading Jane’s post about Julia Child, these would also go in the “category” of Great American Women We Should Know and Remember!

  3. Linda Baie Avatar

    I will note these for the future for my granddaughters, Elisabeth. They do sound just right for young students to learn about important people, and maybe to help them learn that biographies are interesting?

  4. moddyscience Avatar

    I really enjoyed this post. I specifically like how you illuminate on how the narrative is pressed forward in these books because narrative style is something I always think about while reading children’s literature. It’s hard to get kids interested in history so narrative is imperative to tell the story in a captivating way.

  5. Annette Pimentel Avatar

    I share your frustration when quotations are unattributed. Thank goodness more publishers are giving their authors space to print their sources!

  6. Erica Avatar

    I love the sound of these books, and will have to find them for my newly independent reader! Thanks for the recommendations!

  7. […] review of Kathleen Krull’s Women Who Broke the Rules series for Nonfiction Picture Book […]

  8. jkmclain3 Avatar

    This may sound dumb but I had no idea there were nonfiction picture books! I am very interested in checking these out on my next trip to the library!

  9. Lisa Robles Avatar

    Love books about Sonia Sotomayor. Got to hear her speak in L.A. and she was inspiring.

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