Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

lucille ball

I Am Lucille Ball
Author: Brad Meltzer
Illustrator: Christopher Eliopoulos
Published July 14th, 2015

Goodreads Summary: “Kids always search for heroes, so we might as well have a say in it,” Brad Meltzer realized, and so he envisioned this friendly, fun approach to biography—for his own kids, and for yours. Each book tells the story of one of America’s icons in a vivacious, conversational way that works well for the youngest nonfiction readers, those who aren’t quite ready for the Who Was biography series. Each book focuses on a particular character trait that made that role model heroic. For example, Lucille Ball could make any situation funny. By making people around the world laugh, she proved that humor can take on anything.

This engaging series is the perfect way to bring American history to life for young children, providing them with the right role models, supplementing Common Core learning in the classroom, and best of all, inspiring them to strive and dream.

My Review:  The first “Ordinary People Change the World” book I read was I am Jackie Robinson, and I immediately loved the way the book was set up. I am Lucille Ball is the same way. Like I stated in my review of Jackie Robinson, I love that it is in first person which sucks the reader into Lucy’s life. The series is also a picture book/graphic novel mix which not only adds to the engagement aspect of the book, I think it really makes you feel like you know the subject more. It also is where Meltzer puts some of his funniest parts of the story.

The reason why I knew I had to review this book, though, was because of the subject matter. All of the other subjects of the books in the series (Lincoln, Parks, Einstein, Earhart, and Robinson) are pretty well-known amazing people although they did all start out with quite ordinary lives. Lucille Ball deserves to be talked about along with them though many do not know that she does. I love that Meltzer decided to tackle a story about someone that not everyone may understand why he chose her. Brad Meltzer addressed this on his Facebook page:

“To my surprise, some have asked: Why Lucy? So let me explain: I wrote this book because I wanted my daughter to finally have a female entertainment hero who wasn’t famous just because she was thin and known only for her looks. Lucy is different than everyone else. She’s funny, driven, and the first woman to run a major movie studio (producing Star Trek and Mission: Impossible). Her success came from her drive — and because she so perfectly wasn’t like everyone else. Plus she taught me, throughout my own childhood, that humor can take on anything. I wanted my daughter to learn that. 

But in terms of Lucy and Ethel crazy ideas, here’s my most Lucy and Ethel-ish. Share this book with someone who’s different. Share it with little girls and boys, as well as big girls and boys. Show them that it’s not just okay to be different…it’s SPECTACULAR to be different.”

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The “Ordinary People” books definitely need to be in classrooms. They are going to be loved by students. However, I think Meltzer’s subjects are definitely worth looking at. I see them being used in a lit circle where each group gets a different one of Meltzer’s books then after reading and discussing the books, they share what they learned about their Ordinary Person.

It would also be so much fun to use Meltzer’s books as a mentor text to writing their own Ordinary People picture book. A fun twist on a research project!

More information on I am Lucille Ball can be found here.

Discussion Questions: What made Lucille Ball a standout in the entertainment industry?; How did Lucille Ball pave the way for comediennes like Melissa McCarthy and others? How does Meltzer’s mix of picture book/graphic novel help make the book more enjoyable to read yet still informative?

We Flagged: 



Interview with Brad Meltzer about I am Lucille Ball: 

Read This If You Loved: “Ordinary People Change the World” (series) by Brad Meltzer, “Who Was…” (biography series) by various

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Penguin for providing a copy for review!!**

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10 Responses to I Am Lucille Ball by Brad Meltzer

  1. I am a huge I Love Lucy fan Kellee. I am most definitely going to get this book. Thank you for highlighting it.

  2. I’ve loved Lucy for awhile. I think I read her autobiography for a school project in middle school. Her inclusion has definitely opened my mind to who are heroes, and we definitely overlook lots of people who fit this description.

    • Kellee says:

      I’ve always loved her show, but I didn’t know much about her as a person. I loved learning about what an amazing and inspiring person was.
      And I agree! Our definition of hero needs to expand because there are so many heroes out there that aren’t honored.

  3. Linda Baie says:

    She was so wonderfully funny. I have seen the Jackie Robinson one, & there are many others, and love that he has included Lucy, It makes me smile just thinking about her! Thanks so much, Kellee.

  4. We absolutely love these books – Thank you for sharing the interview with Brad Meltzer.

  5. I have yet to read this Brad Meltzer series. Shame on me because I keep seeing excellent reviews. I love that Lucille Ball will be introduced to children this way.

  6. Thanks for including the Facebook comment. I’m not on FB, so when the few really interesting nuggets come through, it’s nice to hear!

  7. […] This If You Love: The Ordinary People Change the World series (ex. I am Lucille Ball, I am Jackie Robinson), Nonfiction graphic novels such as Drowned City by Don […]

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