Sunday, September 20, 2015

Steve Jobs: Insanely Great

As if I didn't love graphic novels before, based on the book I am profiling today I am now hooked on this method for delivering biographical information.

Non fiction is often hard to deliver in a traditional narrative form because the stories aren't made up, so they don't have the natural flow and build up of a fabricated story line.    Pivitol moments don't happen on cue. making these harder stories to draft.  There are some nonfiction geniuses like Steve Sheinkin who are able to craft compelling stories with nonfiction material, but it's not easy and that is why his books are so highly regarded.

Which leads me to how fabulous this book is about Steve Jobs.  In a graphic novel format, Hartland has been able to create visual interest in moments that may not be as compelling from a narrative standpoint and she drives home the compelling and interesting times in his life.  A real winner in my book!

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and by email so that you won't miss a single book that makes stories about a technology geek totally cool for your kids.  Oh, and with the movie coming out about his life, isn't nice to have read the book first?

Title: Steve Jobs: Insanely Great

Author: Jessie Hartland

Target: Grades 7 and up

Series: No

What this book is about: 
This book is a biography of the late Steve Jobs and spans his birth through his death.  This book covers his difficult teenage and college years, the birth of Apple and his ousting from Apple.  It also looks at his founding of NEXT and Pixar as well as his triumphant return to Apple.  It doesn’t shy away from his personal issues of abandoning his first child, or his difficult work style, but it doesn’t dwell or pass judgement on them either.

Why I love this book: 
First off the format of this book as a graphic novel makes the myriad of information feel manageable and more easily digestible.  I am a huge fan of graphic novels for history content, and this book has made me a believer that it can also be a superior method of delivering biographical information as well.  While my kids have tried to read traditional books about Steve Jobs, this book had them hooked from the start and they didn’t put it down.  Not only that, the information stuck with them simply because it was delivered both in words and visuals.

Now just a word about the illustrations.  I have been a huge fan of Jessie Hartland since her picture book biography of Julia Child.  Her illustrations are incredible, and while they may appear busy at first glance, they are filled with humor and nuance.  She is hands down one of my favorite illustrators.  

If you live in Silicon Valley, as  I do, your kids with love the references to local establishments.  She has a picture of our local Los Altos library hidden in one of the panels which is also a testament to the insane level of detail she has gone to in this book.

I appreciated the decade panels scattered throughout the text which give context to the technology of the time.  It is a nice reference point for kids and the 1960’s might just blow them away as she shows games that only come in board format!  She includes two page panels that show the evolution of the computer and Apple products which prove very informative and useful.

Who this book is for: 
This book is packed with information and doesn’t shy away from Job’s difficulties.  It is great for older kids or kids who are obsessed with technology.

Final thoughts:
I would love for Jessie Hartland to do a biographical series for kids.  They would fly off the shelves and be a real boon for nonfiction.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Steve Jobs: Insanely Great  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

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