Biographies for Young Readers is a series of books intended for middle-grade readers age eight and up.
The press is looking for life stories of exceptional individuals—especially those who may have been overlooked in mainstream biographies—written in a fresh narrative style. For example, the first book in the series, Kammie on First: Baseball’s Dottie Kamenshek by Michelle Houts, traces the life and career of a pioneer in women’s professional sports. The second, by Julie Rubini, tells the story of Nancy Drew writer Mildred Benson, the first of several who wrote under the pen name Carolyn Keene. The third, by Nancy Roe Pimm, introduces Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world.
The Biographies for Young Readers series was born out of a desire to introduce children to interesting and exciting figures from both past and present and to instill a love of reading from an early age. The series also reflects the growing interest among librarians and parents in biographies and other fact-based works for school-age children, as well as the emphasis on literary nonfiction established by the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.
Potential authors wishing to submit a proposal should send the following to acquisitions editor Ricky S. Huard at email@example.com:
Please include the cover letter in the body of the e-mail and attach the outline and sample chapter as Microsoft Word documents. The full manuscript should be 15,000 to 20,000 words with 30 to 40 photo illustrations related to the subject of the biography and the historical context. The finished books are 100–125 pages in length.
World War II soldier Bill Wynne met Smoky while serving in New Guinea, where the dog, who was smaller than his Army boot, was found trying to scratch her way out of a foxhole. After he adopted her, she served as the squadron mascot and is credited as being the first therapy dog for the emotional support she provided the soldiers. When they weren’t fighting, Bill taught Smoky hundreds of tricks to entertain the troops.
Today, we know Dolores Huerta as the cofounder, with Cesar Chavez, of the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers of America. We know her as a tireless advocate for the rights of farmworkers, Mexican American immigrants, women, and LGBTQ populations. And we know her as the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama in 2012.
When you look at a bird, do you see feathers and a beak? Or do you see circles and triangles? Artist Charley Harper spent his life reducing subjects to their simplest forms, their basic lines and shapes. This resulted in what he called minimal realism and the style that would become easily recognized as Charley Harper’s. Art fans and nature lovers around the world fell in love with Harper’s paintings, which often featured bright colors and intriguing nature subjects.
Long before she wrote The House of Dies Drear, M. C. Higgins, the Great, and many other children’s classics, Virginia Hamilton grew up among her extended family near Yellow Springs, Ohio, where her grandfather had been brought as a baby through the Underground Railroad. The family stories she heard as a child fueled her imagination, and the freedom to roam the farms and woods nearby trained her to be a great observer.
In the third installment of our series Biographies for Young Readers, Nancy Roe Pimm gives us the life of Jerrie Mock, who in 1964 became the first woman to fly solo around the world. Mock, born in Newark, Ohio, received little attention for her feat, despite accomplishing what her childhood heroine Amelia Earhart died trying. Meticulously researched, Mock’s story as presented by Pimm is engaging, accessible, and packed with inspiration for middle-grade readers aspiring to adventure.
Growing up in Ladora, Iowa, Mildred “Millie” Benson had ample time to develop her imagination, sense of adventure, and independence. Millie left her small hometown to attend the University of Iowa, where she became the first person to earn a master’s degree from the school of journalism. While still a graduate student, Millie began writing for the Stratemeyer Syndicate, which published the phenomenally popular Hardy Boys series, among many others.
Dorothy Mary Kamenshek was born to immigrant parents in Norwood, Ohio. As a young girl, she played pickup games of sandlot baseball with neighborhood children; no one, however, would have suspected that at the age of seventeen she would become a star athlete at the national level. The outbreak of World War II and the ensuing draft of able-bodied young men severely depleted the ranks of professional baseball players.