Review Blog

Jan 23 2017

Little People, Big dreams series

cover image

Frances Lincoln, 2016.
Amelia Earhart by Isabel Sanchez Vegara. Ill. by Maria Diamantes. ISBN 9781847808851
Maya Angelou by Lisbeth Kaiser. Ill. by Leire Salaberria. ISBN 9781847808905
(Age: 5-8) Highly recommended. Frances Lincoln Children's Books have published a new series Little People, Big Dreams, which celebrates the lives of exceptional women activists, designers, scientists, artists and authors. These simple biographies suited to preschool and junior primary classes, are centred on a little girl with a dream and their life journey, the struggles, hardships and sheer determination needed to attain their goals. Each story concludes with timeline, photographs, biographical information, websites to visit and additional books to read.
Amelia Earheart's dream was to fly like a bird, and in her young imagination she sees her arms stretch like wings ready to take flight. In her early twenties, her dreams become a reality and she learns to fly, soon she is crossing the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean in her tiny plane. She is an inspiration to other women and encourages them to dream big as well. Her final flight when her plane disappears is carefully worded for the young audience. Maria Diamantes' colourful graphic illustrations use space, light and shade, simple backgrounds and layering to complement the narrative. Take time to engage with each spread, especially the Atlantic Ocean with the mid-turquoise sea, huge whale shadow and small red bi-plane flying bravely above.
Maya Angelou's complex and confronting life story is carefully and succinctly written. She experienced a traumatic incident as a young girl and became mute for five years. Maya grew up in Missouri where she faced the extreme difficulties of racial prejudice. With the encouragement of a family friend, Maya learned to love reading and began her writing journey. As an adult, she became a singer, an actor, civil rights campaigner and a famous author and poet. Leire Salaberria's illustrations support the story; she celebrates the triumphs of Maya's life, her classroom, the graduation, her overseas travels and many careers.
This series supports the social justice curriculum and Health education, linking to personal wellbeing in the kindergarten and the early years of schooling. In English and History lessons, students can write their own biographies, discuss their plans for the future, and engage in additional research as well.
Rhyllis Bignell

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