Real-Life Reader Biographies Book Reviews

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Children's Bookwatch, March 2003

On Colin Powell, Virginia Hamilton, Ben Stiller, Condoleezza Rice, Julia Stiles, and Roberto Clemente

Contemporary, famous individuals are revealed in the 'Real-Life Reader Biography' series…recommended for grades 3-5. The larger print in these 32-page readers is still packed with facts suitable for beginning reports. New additions… [cover] the achievements and lives of each of these influential men and women.

VOYA, April 2002

The series offers solid choices for biography collections—particularly those in need of some current pop culture icons such as Sheryl Swoopes, Jennifer Lopez, and Jessica Simpson. Select from the many titles offered to fill gaps in the collection for middle schoolers.

Multicultural Review, September 2001

On Marc Anthony, Sheryl Swoopes, Tiger Woods, Bruce Lee, and Shakira

Two singers, two athletes, and one actor of diverse heritage are the latest entries in this popular series for readers at the intermediate level. The authors of the biographies are journalists, and the books themselves are characterized by short chapters filled with trivia that will interest young readers. The authors explore the mixed cultural heritage of many of their subjects, most compellingly so in the volume on Bruce Lee.

Children's Bookwatch

Grades 3-4 readers will find these simple yet lively biographical sketches perfect for easy reports. Modern personalities are profiled in biographies, which include large print and black and white photos peppered throughout.

Children's Bookwatch

Grades 3-4 readers will find the "Real Life Reader Biography" series to be a fine set of non-fictionalized stories, which examine the lives of men and women who followed their dreams against all odds. The series will best appeal to reluctant beginning readers as sets of facts within each are offset by numerous black-and-white photos to add to leisure interest.


On Jimmy Smits, Cristina Saralegui, and Oscar De La Hoya

These titles in the Real Life Reader Biography series profile contemporary multicultural role models for beginning readers. In 32 pages each biography follows the same format: full-page portrait of the subject, followed by 5 chapters recounting the story of his or her struggle for success in a standard style. The oversize text is set against non-threatening white spaces and is illustrated with black and white photos…

School Library Journal

On Cesar Chavez, Celine Dion, and Chuck Norris

Biographies on contemporary famous people. All three offer clear overviews of their subject's lives. Vertical "pull-out" quotes and facts along the sides of most pages capture reader's attention. The stock black-and-white photographs are well placed. Adequate choices for leisure reading or reports, particularly for reluctant readers.

School Library Journal

On Mariah Carey, Robert Rodriguez, and Selena

Popular subjects, large print format, and ample white space make these titles natural selections for new adult and reluctant teen readers. The biographies follow a formula to describe the artist's childhood years and the trials and tribulations that they endured before achieving success. Large, full-color photos grace the covers and average black-and-white snapshots appear throughout… all three titles provide examples of people with humble beginnings who worked hard and were able to achieve their goals.

Tucson Unified School District, Lee Instructional Center

On Brandy

This is sure to be a popular biography. The print is large… there are pictures of Brandy at different points of her career. This is a good addition of a contemporary figure to a biography collection.

Fairfax County Public Schools, Library Review Services

On Selena

This is a must for libraries serving large numbers of Hispanic students. It provides interesting information in a format that is readable.

The Children's Bookwatch

Top recommendations for reluctant readers… All are lively, engrossing accounts…