Me, Jane by Patrick McDonnell

            This is simply the very best biography I have ever read.
Try writing a biography of a famous person who has led a long life, rich in a wide variety experiences. Chances are this will turn into a lengthy book.
But you are writing for children. 
A picture book is only 32 pages. Still, most biographies have dense text and many information boxes to cramp in the facts.
Me, Jane 
is a very short, simple story with lovely illustrations. 
It focuses on a very small girl with big dreams. Jane’s favourite companion is a toy chimpanzee. 
Jane watches a chicken hatch an egg and is enamoured by nature. She sketches birds and other animals in her diary. And Jane dreams of, one day, traveling to Africa.
Jane grows up to become one of the world’s most well known primatologists, Dr. Jane Goodall.

The story is told in such a way that degrees and accolades are not important. What is important is for a child to dream and to follow that dream. It’s a beautifully told story.

Backpages do give more information on Jane Goodall, on all she accomplished and on her Foundation which enables many young people to follow in her footsteps and become environmentalists.

Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Judging by this list of recognitions I am not the only one who loves this book:

A Charlotte Zolotow Award WinnerHorn Book Fanfare BookNew York Times Best Illustrated Children’s BookNew York Times Notable Children’s BookBooklist Editor’s Choice BookKirkus Reviews Best BookA Kids’ Indie Next List BookA 2011 Bank Street College Children’s Book Committee Outstanding BookA National Parenting Publications Awards Gold Winner
A Booklinks Lasting Connections Book
A 2014 Illinois Monarch Children’s Choice Award Winner
A 2014 Iowa Goldfinch Book Award Winner”

A 2012 Caldecott Honor Book

A University of Wisconsin-Madison CCBC 2012 Children’s Choices Book
A Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Book