Biography

20 Great Reads for Black History Month

New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston takes readers on an adventure deep into the Honduran jungle in this riveting, danger-filled true story about the discovery of an ancient lost civilization.

Our JBIO collection features a wide variety of great stories about real people. These subjects might be well-known, or relatively ordinary. They might be extroverted and exuberant or shy and passionate. Maybe the people in these tales look just like you, or maybe they're like no one you know. Meet someone new in 2017 by checking out some of the following biographies. The list begins with books for younger readers and ends with more advanced titles, but each story might hold wider appeal than its first impression.

A biography of the scientist known as the "Shark Lady," reveals how she turned a childhood passion into her life's work, devoting herself to studying sharks and educating the public on the graceful, clever sea creatures.

Recounts the life and accomplishments of the environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

If the font is bigger, it stands to reason the book will be bigger as well, right? That large print titles seemingly defy basic logic makes this one of the most prevalent misconceptions. In fact, large print titles are often the same size or smaller than their hardcover or trade paperback counterparts and weigh about the same as a traditional hardcover book. The common reaction to learning this fact is, “Well, to be the same size or smaller, they must be abridged.” This is also false. The magic here lies in the combination of printing on a thinner, higher quality paper and laying out the text to maximize the use of white space.

Shoot [large print] by Loren D. Estleman

Valentino, a mild-manner film archivist at UCLA and sometime film detective, is at the closing party for the Red Montana and Dixie Day museum when he is approached by no less than his hero and man-of-the-hour Red Montana, western film and television star. Red tells Valentino that he is being blackmailed over the existence of a blue film that his wife, now known throughout the world as the wholesome Dixie Day and the other half of the Montana/Day power couple, made early in her career. With Dixie on her deathbed, Red is desperate to save her the embarrassment of the promised scandal, and offers Valentino a deal-find the movie, and he can have Red's lost film, Sixgun Sonata, that Red has been hiding away in his archives. Don't accept, and the priceless reel will go up in flames. Feeling blackmailed himself, Valentino agrees and begins to dig. In the surreal world of Hollywood, what is on screen is rarely reality. As he races to uncover the truth before time runs out, his heroes begin their fall from grace. Valentino desperately wants to save Sixgun Sonata-- but at what cost?.

Also available in: e-book

"In his first official book published as Pope, in celebration of his Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis here addresses all humanity in an intimate and personal dialogue. At the center of this book is the subject closest to his heart--mercy--which has long been the cornerstone of his faith and is now the central teaching of his papacy. These pages resonate with a desire to reach all those souls who are looking for meaning in life, a road to peace and reconciliation, and the healing of physical and spiritual wounds"--Amazon.com.

The movie "Hidden Figures," in theaters this month, is a true story featuring a team of African-American women scientists. Here are some materials you can check out featuring African-American women pioneers. 

Read the Book Before the Movie

From a National Book Award-winning biographer, the first complete life of legendary gangster Al Capone to be produced with the cooperation of his family, who provided the author with exclusive access to personal testimony and archival documents. Born in 1899 in Brooklyn, New York, to poor, Italian immigrant parents, Al Capone went on to become the most infamous gangster in American history.

The Magnolia story by Chip Gaines

Memoir of Dean Torrence, who was one half of the popular 1960s singing duo Jan & Dean. He and Jan Berry were famous for their "surf music," performing hit songs that included Surf City, Little Old Lady from Pasadena, and Dead Man's Curve.

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