I love reading picture book biographies of people I have never heard of. Especially if they are seemingly ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things. My kids and I recently enjoyed learning about the amazing Mary Walker, who not only lived to an incredibly old age, but learned to read when she was 116. Incredible. Author Rita L. Hubbard and illustrator Oge Mora have honored her story in The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read.
Here are three things I like about this book:
- Hubbard presents Mary Walker’s persistence in an honest but hopeful way. Readers learn of Mary’s hardships but also feel her joy when she finally achieves her great goal of learning to read.
- Mora’s youthful and vibrant illustrations seem to mirror the energetic soul of a person who lives to 121 years of age.
- Stories of persistence are great for kids, and I love how this book can relate to kids in a very tangible way, since many young children are learning to read themselves.
This book is great for all ages, but I think it will land especially well with six to ten year olds.