I’m nearly finished reading Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls to my kids at bedtime, and they’ve become so fascinated by these biographies that I’ve been trying to find even more more for them to read when we’re done. So when I received a copy of the new Little Guides to Great Lives series by author Isabel Thomas, I was interested to see what they would think.

Spoiler alert: they loved them.

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Little Guides to Great Lives: Amelia Earhart


While I love the quick, concise stories in Rebel Girls, my kids frequently have all the questions after I’m done reading. So, I’m happy to find a short-story length series that will go way more in depth, while still letting us focus on one figure in just one evening. I

have to say, I learned a lot about Leonardo da Vinci that I never knew before — like, the reason he went to study art in the first place is because of some bizarre law that said he couldn’t be a notary (his dad’s job) because his parents weren’t married. Whaa? 

Also, he was terrible about actually finishing his creative projects — Something we have in common.

Related: 3 wonderful new picture books about African American heroes, all written by authors of color

Also, I love a biography for kids that doesn’t sugarcoat a hero’s flaws. Because, no one is perfect, and definitely not Leonardo da Vinci.

Little Guides to Great Lives: Marie Curie

Little Guides to Great Lives: Leonardo da Vinci

Even though these are slightly longer form, they are still fast-paced and engaging. You can easily read them in one sitting, especially thanks to the cool, vintage style illustrations from Anke Weckmann, that offer compelling visual explanations on every page.

The books definitely serve up that edgy activist, trailblazer vibe about historic figures we love, with bios including Amelia Earhart, Nelson Mandela, and Marie Curie in this first collection.

Fingers crossed, these will sell like crazy and there will be even more volumes coming.

You can find the Little Guide to Great Lives series at your local library, bookstore, or our affiliate Amazon.