5 New Picture Books Starring Real Life Characters

Is it just me, or has there been a noticeable upswing in quality picture book biographies lately? On account of our four-year-old son's new interest in nonfiction, biographies have been in heavy rotation at our house. And lucky for us, some really nicely illustrated and approachable ones have shown up on the bookshelves. Take for instance, these five new picture book bios released in the last couple months.

Barnum's Bones: How Barnum Brown Discovered the Most Famous Dinosaur in the World by Tracey Fern (Author), Boris Kulikov (Illustrator)
Kulivov illustrates the adventure and excitement of Barnum's discovery, but also his wild imagination - dancing with an imaginary dinosaur or conjuring up an image of a Triceratops from a single fossilized horn.

Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland
A cross between a picture book and graphic novel, Bon Appetit is jam packed with details with everything from Julia's childhood growing up in California, to her career as a spy in the OSS, to her marriage to Paul Child, and her eventual move to Paris where she ultimately developed her love of great food and desire to learn to cook.

Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat by Susanna Reich (Author), Amy Bates (Illustrator)
I know, another Julia Child bio, but I couldn't make up my mind. They're both so good. This one is an especially charming book for cat lovers, food lovers, and Julia fans, presented in a more traditional picture book format, versus the jumbled style of Bon Appetit!

The Elephant from Baghdad by Mary Tavener Holmes (Author), John Harris (Author), Jon Cannell (Illustrator)
The tale of Charlemange, the emperor of Europe, and his beloved albino elephant, Abu, gifted to him by the Muslim caliph Harun al-Rashid. Illustrated with mixed media artwork and photographic references to historical artifacts, paintings, and sculptures.

The Camping Trip that Changed America by Barb Rosenstock (Author), Mordicai Gerstein (Illustrator)
A fictional biography based on the true story of naturalist John Muir who inspired President Theodore Roosevelt's love of the great outdoors and his passion to protect America's National forests.