Linking Picture Book Biographies to National Content Standards

200+ Lives to Explore

by Liz Deskins and Christina H. Dorr


Picture book biographies are ideal for promoting nonfiction reading at all ages. This single-volume book saves you time by handing you the best in new picture book biographies accompanied by unit and lesson ideas.

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Cover image for Linking Picture Book Biographies to National Content Standards

November 2015

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 153
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Librarian's Instructional Role/Curriculum and Instruction, K-12
  Librarian's Instructional Role/Teaching Resources, K-12

Presenting beautifully illustrated picture book biographies, this book pairs narrative nonfiction biographies rich in language and illustrations with national content standards in the social studies, science, and the arts.

The current focus on promoting nonfiction reading at all ages has brought to attention the value of narrative nonfiction in the form of new picture book biographies. But which of the thousands of these types of titles will have maximum teaching impact and be interesting to students? This book identifies the "best of the best" in new picture book biographies that are rich in language and illustrations and best support national content standards in science, social studies, and the arts.

Written by authors with a combined experience of more than 50 years in teaching as well as extensive knowledge of children's literature and the review of such books, the book provides—in a single resource—the best in recently published picture book biographies that rely on primary and secondary sources, the best in storytelling styles, and the most engaging illustrations. The unit and lesson ideas within can be used as is or modified as needed. The selected biographies enable connections between the stories of individuals' lives in history and required areas of study.


  • Provides more than 100 picture book biographies (primarily from 2010 to the present) that offer the newest in engaging literature
  • Supplies lessons and units of instruction—including technology and web tools—that can be used to teach collaboratively with content area teachers
  • Links directly to national content area standards to ensure rigorous teaching
  • Provides clear evidence of the value of using higher-level picture books with middle grade students
  • Lends the unique perspective of authors who hold graduate degrees in children's literature, have been book reviewers for many years, have presented at state and national conferences on children's literature, and possess extensive experience with review committees of children's resources at the state and national levels on the subject of determining the quality of books for children
Author Info

Liz Deskins has been a school librarian for more than 25 years, teaching at the elementary and high school levels, most currently in the Hilliard City School district, as well as at the college level. In addition to writing articles and book reviews for several library journals, she is past president of Buckeye Children and Teen Book Awards and is vice president of the Ohio Educational Library Media Association (OELMA). She is currently chair of the (Andrew) Carnegie Notable Children's Videos for ALSC, and also sat on the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) task force that created the AASL Top Websites for Teaching and Learning award. This experience fueled her passion for using websites and web tools. Deskins has presented at many different conferences on a number of topics, such as new literature for content area teaching, websites for teaching and learning, libraries and literacies, and inquiry.

Christina H. Dorr, PhD, teaches at Weaver Middle School, part of the Hilliard City School District, Hilliard, OH. She has been a media specialist for 25 years and has also taught literature, literacy, technology, and library science courses for the past 12 years as an adjunct instructor for 5 universities in Ohio, including Kent State University and the Ohio State University, where she had earned a doctorate in education with a specialty in literature and literacy. Dorr has written book reviews and columns for various journals for many years, presented at numerous state and national organizations, and served on several book award committees for the American Library Association—most recently the 2014 Geisel Committee—and currently the 2015 and 2016 Coretta Scott King Committees. Her most recent accolade was the 2014 Leadership in Action Award through the Ohio Educational Library Media Association, an affiliate organization of the American Association of School Librarians.



"Teachers and librarians will find this tool quick and easy to use. . . . This title also serves as a model for using picture books in classrooms to deliver content beyond reading skills. Teachers can take concepts used in the book to branch out into other picture book biographies and standards."VOYA

Other Titles of Interest

Every Book Is a Social Studies Book cover imageTeaching Economic Concepts with Picture Books and Junior Novels cover imageGifted Biographies, Gifted Readers! cover image
Linking Picture Books to Standards cover imageTeaching Thinking Skills with Picture Books, K–3 cover imageUsing Picture Books to Teach Language Arts Standards in Grades 3-5 cover image

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