Our committee of five mothers chose the four books above and two picture biographies as well. Children and parents will relish the many wonderfully drawn dragons in Caroline McAlister’s John Ronald’s Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien (Roaring Brook). McAlister’s well-done endnotes and engaging style make this a book that will bear repeat readings, inspire perseverance under difficulty, and whet appetites for Tolkien’s writings. One of our committee members said the book “carried all of my kids’ attention (from a 14-year-old Tolkien fan to a 2-year-old enthralled with dragons).”
Sherri Duskey Rinker’s Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) will carry readers back to the 1930s, when Burton’s Mike Mulligan was first published. Big Machines captures the creative process: Illustrations imagine the artist creating something out of the ideas in her head. The book celebrates Burton and shows her family inspiring her creativity.