Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Biographies Teach Children About Texas Heroes

Two new series of biographies for children about Texas heroes have been launched by Bright Sky Press, formerly of Albany, now of Houston.

One series is for children in the primary grades, ages 5-7. The other series is intended for elementary students ages 8-11.

Veteran children’s author Mary Dodson Wade, a former teacher and librarian, has written all but one of the first seven books in the two series – two for younger readers and five for the older ones.

Sam Houston: Standing Firm and Jane Long: Choosing Texas, both by Wade, lead off the series for the primary grades.

For an example of the easy-reading writing style, the Sam Houston book begins like this: “Sam Houston was a big man. He did big things. He did not always do what other people thought he should. He did what he thought was right. Even when people said he was a bad leader, he did not listen.”

Joy Fisher Hein illustrated the Sam Houston book, Virginia Marsh Roeder the Jane Long book. Each book is $16.95.

The series for older readers is written in a more narrative style, with 10-12 chapters. Most chapters are just three or four pages long and include black and white illustrations.

The first five books in that series are: Stephen F. Austin: The Son Becomes Father of Texas, Jane Long: Texas Journey, David Crockett: Hero and Legend, Gregorio Esparza: Alamo Defender, and Sam Houston: I Am Houston.

Wade is the author of all but the Esparza biography which was written by William R. Chemerka. Don Collins, Pat Finney and Roeder provide the illustrations. Books in this series are also $16.95.

Upcoming volumes in the primary series will focus on Crockett and Austin. Coming soon in the elementary series are biographies of Henrietta King and Juan Seguin.