4th Grade and Up
Here is another series of books that I had been meaning to read for a while. Each book is a collection of short childhood biographies of celebrated presidents, great athletes, groundbreaking scientists and other future legends.
The thing that bugs me about this series is that the author and the illustrator keep changing.
Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood from America’s Presidents
Forget the legends. Ignore the tall tales. The kids who grew up to be president weren’t superheroes.
They had regular-kid problems just like you.
Learn all about the young lives of 16 different presidents.
I especially enjoyed learning about the childhoods of Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. Ulysses S. Grant as a very young child had a special bond with horses and could perform acrobatic feats at full gallop. Franklin D. Roosevelt had an extremely overbearing mother who didn’t allow him to bathe by himself until he was almost nine-years-old. Ronald Reagan was a lifeguard for seven summers and once retrieved an old man’s false teeth.
It was interesting to learn how their childhood experiences inspired what they did in their presidency. Like how Lyndon Johnson was a naughty student but made up for it when he later signed more than sixty education bills into law.
Unfortunately, only sixteen of forty-four presidents (Donald Trump became president after this book was published) got a chapter in this book. Fortunately, a fun fact about each president is included in the back of the book (Grover Cleveland got two facts because he served two separate terms). Other facts and trivia about the presidents are included throughout the book. For example the pranks they pulled, the games they played, and the mistakes they made.
I would have preferred if the chapters had been in chronological order of presidency instead of all random. It was hard to keep track of what time period each president lived in.
If you want a fun way to remember all the presidents in chronological order, check out the Animaniacs President Song through the link below.
Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood from Sports Legends
Forget the gold medals, the championships, and the undefeated seasons. When all-star athletes were growing up, they had regular-kid problems just like you.
Learn all about the young lives of 16 different athletes.
This book features a mix of well-known athletes (Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson) and lesser-known athletes (Jesse Kuhaulua and Julie Krone), as well as a large variety of sports, from baseball and basketball to gymnastics and martial arts.
I honestly didn’t like this one as much as the others. I’ve never been into sports. I was good at sports but I was never interested in participating in them. Sports just seem like an easy way of getting injured.
I did enjoy learning about the childhoods of Yao Ming, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, and Jesse Kuhaulua. When Yao Ming was twelve, he was told by a famous Chinese basketball coach that he would never be good at basketball because his arms were too scrawny and his butt was too big. When twelve-year-old Babe Didrikson Zaharias was challenged by an older boy to punch him in the face, she knocked him down with one punch. When Jesse Kuhaulua was in second grade, he was hit by a truck full of pineapples, launching him twenty yards into the air and broke both legs.
I may not understand the motivation of these athletes but I admire their determination and skills.
Kid Artists: True Tales of Childhood from Creative Legends
Forget the awards, the sold-out museum, exhibitions, and the timeless masterpieces. When the world’s most celebrated artists were growing up, they had regular-kid problems just like you.
Learn all about the young lives of 17 different artists.
This book features a variety of artists who created many different styles of art, some of them showing artistic skills or interest at a young age. You’ll learn what inspired them, how they developing their own artistic style, and that there is no right way to do art.
I especially enjoyed learning about the childhoods of Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol. Ted Geisel’s love of inventive words and funny sayings ran in the family. His grandfather, along with a man named Christian Kalmbach, founded a brewery called Kalmbach and Geisel, which sounds a lot like “Come Back and Guzzle.” Jackson Pollock’s right index finger was lopped off in a log chopping accident and the severed tip was eaten by a rooster. Andy Warhol disliked school so much that a grown-up had to drag him kicking and screaming out of the house.
I didn’t want to cram all six books into one review so you’ll have to tune in next Saturday for the last three.