Week 6: Real People and True Events


Extraordinary people: a semi-comprehensive guide to some of the world’s most fascinating individuals

Written by Michael Hearst         Illustrated by Aaron Scamihorn

I love this book!  Hearst and Scamihorn have put together a unique collection of short biographies on truly fascinating folks from Nikola Tesla to Fred Rogers to Bessie Coleman.  Some are living, some are dead, some are well known and some you have never heard of.

The illustrations are attention grabbing, emotionally expressive and engaging in a way that draws readers in.   The layout is accessible, with a full page illustration for each person accompanied by one page of text.   The text is broken up into easy to read chunks that doesn’t over tax the reader.  Readers learn about each extraordinary person through quizzes,  diagrams, poems (yes, poems!) and fun facts.  It seems that the author made conscious choices about language and layout to reach the widest number of readers.  Like the pictures, the author’s voice is engaging and really funny.  Even though it’s non fiction, the author’s voice is relatable and conversational.

P.S. “Extraordinary” is sort of a funny word, isn’t it? It breaks down into two words: “extra” and “ordinary”.  If you think about it, it seems like the word “extraordinary” should mean very ordinary.  Twice as ordinary.  Perhaps a better word would be “abovordinary” (above -ordinary). In fact, I hereby declare “abovordinary” a word.  If you want to refer to this book as “Abovordinary People”, I have no problem with that.”

-Michael Hearst

Readers who like non fiction and humor may also like:


How they croaked: the awful ends of the awfully famous


Unusual creatures: a mostly accurate account of some of the Earth’s strangest animals


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