Books for young readers examine lives of people 'who made a difference'

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 11 2014 3:15 p.m. MST

Written in chronological order, this is one of the I Am series using the first-person voices of historical figures. Most valuable are the maps and timelines.

Two other recent biographical picture books on notable people in history:

CLARA AND DAVIE: The True Story of Young Clara Barton,” by Patricia Polacco, Scholastic, $17.99 (ages 3-5)

Beginning with Clara Barton’s early childhood and suffering from an inability to speak clearly because of a lisp, the story pays tribute to her brother, Davie, who guides and directs her talents for healing and love of nature.

Author’s notes include photos and details about Clara, who became the founder of the American Red Cross. Of special interest is Patricia Polacco’s familial connection to this remarkable woman.

THE KITE THAT BRIDGED TWO NATIONS,” by Alexis O’Neill, illustrated by Terry Widener, Calkins Creek, $16.95 (ages 8 and up)

In the mid-19th century, the only way to cross the Niagara River between the United States and Canada was on a ferry boat. In 1847, Charles Ellet Jr. was commissioned to build a suspension bridge across the river. He offered a prize to anyone who could anchor a string 800 feet across both banks.

“The Kite That Bridged Two Nations” is the story of 16-year-old Homan J. Walsh, who constructed a six-sided (barn-door type) kite with a string long enough to be anchored on one shore and flown and secured on the opposite bank of the river.

Author’s notes tell more of the history as Ellet built the first bridge across the chasm. Additional reference sources make this a valued and interesting piece of history about a person “who made a difference.”

Email: marilousorensen@ymail.com

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