Here are five modern children’s illustrated books that are based on real events.
Winnie by Sally M. Walker
Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh is the complete title of Sally M. Walker’s fantastic children’s illustrated book. Although everyone is more familiar with the ever-popular Winnie the Pooh, Walkers’s narrative is actually based on a true story that inspired the cartoon character. In the book, we meet Harry Colebourn, a soldier and a veterinarian who saw a baby bear for sale at a train station. He named the baby bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, his company’s hometown. Harry took the baby bear to camp in England, where he was training. Winnie and Harry became so close that the bear follows him wherever he goes. However, Harry had to go to war in France and cannot take Winnie with him. He decides to leave the bear in the care of a zoo, the London Zoo, where Winnie met the young Christopher Robin. The rest, as they say, is history. The timeless illustrations are done by Jonathan D. Voss.
Is It Santa? by Nelibeth Plaza
Nelibeth Plaza is a children’s book author who loves to write for her children and grandchildren. In fact, they appear as characters in her books. One of those books is a heartwarming Christmas narrative entitled Is It Santa? Based on actual true events book by Nelibeth Plaza, Is It Santa tells the story of a family and their search for the mystery visitor. One day, Mother Rebekkah decides to bake Christmas cookies and placed them in a special jar. While they were away, it seems that a mystery guest arrived and scattered them on the kitchen counter, adjacent living-room coffee table, both end tables, and on the sofa. This prompted the whole family to search the whole house. Mya, Charlie, and Jacob even thought that the mystery visitor was Santa. To their surprise, the culprit is a cute, cuddly creature living in the attic. The story actually happened to one of Nelibeth’s former co-workers.
Grace Hopper by Laurie Wallmark
Ever heard of Grace Hopper? Hopper is many things, but she is most known for being a computer genius and a “troublemaker” of sorts. In Katy Wu’s fantastic illustrated book, we get to know more of the lady who is described in this book as “a software tester, workplace jester, cherished mentor, ace inventor, avid reader, naval leader—AND rule breaker, chance taker..” and the person who coined the term “computer bug.” In this inspiring and out-of-the-ordinary narrative, Katy Wu hopes to share wonderful lessons and values to young readers and dreamers out there. By retelling Hopper’s journey and curiosity that has led to wonderful innovations and discoveries, Wu imparts the importance of education, patience, inquisitiveness, and creativity. Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Volume 1) (People Who Shaped Our World) is not your usual children’s storybook. It is both entertaining and educational. The superb illustrations in the book are done by Katy Wu.
Nadia by Christine Davenier
Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still is the complete title of Christine Davenier’s 2016 children’s illustrated book about a fearless young kid who loves to climb trees in the forests of Romania and would eventually grow up to represent the country at the 1976 Olympic Games. Nadia is a fantastic retelling of the gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comaneci’s journey to glory. Davenier’s book is the first-ever illustrated picture book that capture’s Nadia’s story. It features her childhood in a small town to her magnificent performance in the world’s grandest sports event, where she scored seven perfect points in gymnastics. Illustrations by Karlin Gray capture Nadia’s exuberant gymnastic routines and her inexhaustible energy. Indeed, it is an inspirational picture, especially for kids who dream about entering into sports and making it big.
Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim
Almost two decades since it was first published, Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim (Bridges) remains refreshing. Ruby’s Wish is a heartwarming tale of a young girl who, unlike most girls her age in old China, actually dreams of attending a university instead of getting married. Most girls worldwide aspire to be married and actually prepare themselves for it, but not Ruby. Ruby wanted to get an education just like the boys in her family and in many parts of Old China. This inspiring narrative brings to mind another children’s fairy tale, Mulan. The book is actually based on the true story of Yim’s grandmother. Ruby’s Wish is a beautiful story that represents some of the girls in Old China who yearn for a life different from what society and culture dictate. Sophie Blackall makes the book’s wonderful illustrations.