Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: Favorite Nonfiction Picture Books of 2018 Part I

As I think about this post, I wonder if this is more a reflection of the nonfiction books I read in 2018 than a best of list. So rather than just one best of list, I decided I would do several posts between now and the end of 2018 sharing and highlighting some of my favorite nonfiction books.

Maybe because I am feeling particular sensitive lately, and a bit frustrated that there are many, many women that I am just learning about in 2018, I decided to start with my top picture book biographies of women. The following six books touched something deep within me. Whether it was a politician from Texas that I knew little about, or a slave from Massachusetts/New York, whom I thought I knew but saw in a new light, I was inspired by their strength and indomitable personalities as I read these books. Along with two women who knew how to use their voice for change, I was also struck by all the women who ventured into jobs that were traditionally only done by men. Studying math and math applications, pursuing a passion in studying lizards, being the first woman film director should have made these women better known way before now, but I am thankful for the authors who penned these books and the illustrators who sought to bring them to the forefront of our attention. Finally, I truly appreciate the collaborative compilation of multiple women and the women who brought their stories alive through text and illustrations.

Here are my six favorite picture book biographies of women published in 2018. Please remember that if you don’t see a book on this list, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t powerful or meaningful. These six just stood out a little brighter for me.


What Do You Do With a Voice Like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton, Illustrated by Ekua Holmes (Beach Lane Books)


Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez, Illustrated by Felicita Sala (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)


Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain by Cheryl Bardoe, Illustrated by Barbara McClintock (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)


So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom by Gary D. Schmidt, Illustrated by Daniel Minter (Roaring Brook Press)


Lights! Camera! Alice! The Thrilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker by Marla Rockliff, Illustrated by Simona Ciraola (Chronicle Books)


Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World by Susan Hood, Illustrated by Various Women Illustrators (Harper Collins).

What books inspired you this past year? Check in over the next few days as I share more of my favorite nonfiction titles from 2018.

Finally, congratulations to each of the finalists of the 2019 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award. Here is a link to the announcement for the award.


Look for all of these books at your local indie bookstore or at your community library.

Illustrations by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017

Illustrations by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017

Don’t forget to link up your nonfiction reviews below…