Gifted Biographies, Gifted Readers!
Higher Order Thinking with Picture Book Biographies
by Nancy Polette
April 2009, 143pp, 8 1/2x11
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-59158-879-5
$40, £30, 34€, A58

In our current emphasis on standardized testing and the basics in American education we are in danger of permanently dimming the light of inquiry and curiosity which shines from the eyes of our brightest children. The majority of children identified as gifted in most school settings are those who are academically talented. They are attentive and learn rapidly and easily. They enjoy learning and often tackle difficult subjects. These students conform to school structure and rules. However, a study of biography will reveal many individuals who were not successful as students, yet later used their gifts to the fullest. Albert Einstein, Stephen Spielberg and Roald Dahl to name but a few. This new book from writer and educator, Nancy Polette discusses how to use picture book biographies to help students recognize traits of giftedness that they possess themselves. Stretch young minds to creative and productive thought with some of the best picture book biographies currently available. Polette shows you how to promote critical thinking, and foster inquiry in students through building excitement for the reading experience and increasing students’ active participation in learning. Included are over 90 annotated recommendations and open ended discussion questions for picture book biographies plus pages and pages of reproducible activities to promote critical thinking and inquiry.

Nancy J. Polette is professor of education at Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO, author of more than 100 professional books, and an in-demand speaker at state and national library, gifted, and reading conferences.


"Polette (Lindenwood U., Missouri) has 40-plus years of experience as an educator and is the author of some 150 professional books. Her latest text explains how teachers and librarians can use picture book biographies to help young students learn about the wide range of special talents people possess and to recognize forms of giftedness in themselves. Following general discussion and guidelines, the text contains 90-plus annotated recommendations of picture book biographies published since 2000, each accompanied by discussion questions to foster critical thinking. The materials are organized into sections on heroes and heroines; leaders in government and social change; discovery, invention, and exploration; literary giants; music and dance; artists; and gifted athletes. The text also includes a selection of reproducible reader response activities and handouts."—Reference & Research Book News, November 1, 2009

"This book is geared to be used with gifted students; however, it can be used by teachers of elementary classes as a guide in teaching these higher level skills to all students. Recommended."—Library Media Connection, November 1, 2009

"... Polette uses these biographies as a springboard to encourage critical thinking skills and substantial inquiry. Creative 'Reader Response and Research Reporting Models' to use with students, such as a poetry chant, an acrostic, and a biography songbook, are presented as alternatives to the standard book report. Reproducible activities, with samples to share with students, give great opportunities for students to use their creativity and research skills to demonstrate understanding. A section with higher-level thinking skills, questions, and reproducible comparison checklists is also included."—Catholic Library World, June 1, 2011
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