biography pov

POV in picture book biography

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the previous blog post, I discussed the time frame and the possibilities we have.  This blog post is about another decision we have to make: the Narrator and accordingly the Point Of View (POV).  Previously, I have published two blog posts about Point Of View (POV) in picture books: 

I am not going to repeat the basics here again and this blog post is explicitly about POV in picture book biographies

The POV of most picture book biographies is the third-person POV. And, for most cases, this is the best matching choice. However, it is not the only choice. Let’s look at other types of POVs in the published picture book biographies.

First-person singular POV (I, my)

Writing a story with a first-person POV has a big advantage. The reader feels himself/herself inside the Narrator’s head and walks in the Narrator’s shoes. However, in a picture book biography, every single word should be 100\% verifiable. This means if you write the person was confused, this I felt confused should be verifiable.

A first-person POV can be good if you have many research resources under your belt or you have interviewed the person. Otherwise, the third-person POV could work better.

Below are some picture book biographies written in the first-person singular:

  • THE SKY PAINTER: LOUIS FUERTES, BIRD ARTIST (2021) by Margarita Engle and Aliona Bereghici

the sky painter

  • BLOOM: A STORY OF FASHION DESIGNER ELSA SCHIAPARELLI (2018) by Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad

 Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli

  • I, MATTHEW HENSON: POLAR EXPLORER (2008) by Carole Boston Weatherford and Eric Velasquez

  • BECOMING BACH (2017) by Tom Leonard

BECOMING BACH

First-person plural POV (We, ours)

The first-person plural POV is a very rare point of view, both in adult books and children’s books. The picture book biographies with the POV that I have found so far have inanimate Narrators. (In this blog post, I discussed inanimate Narrator in picture books). 

  • In TWO GROOMS ON A CAKE: THE STORY OF AMERICA’S FIRST GAY WEDDING (2021) by Rob Sanders and Robbie Cathro, the two groom figurines on the top of the cake are the Narrators.

Two grooms on a cake

 

  • STONEWALL: A BUILDING. AN UPRISING. A REVOLUTION (2019) by Rob Sanders and Jamey Christoph.

 

Second-person POV (You, your)

  • THE IRIDESCENCE OF BIRDS: A BOOK ABOUT HENRI MATISSE (2014) by Patricia Maclachlan and Hadley Hooper

 

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse

 

  • A BOY NAMED ISAMU: A STORY OF ISAMU NOGUCHI (2021) by James YangA boy named Isamu

 

  • WHEN ANGELS SING: THE STORY OF CARLOS SANTANA (2018) by Michael Mahin and Jose Ramirez

When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana

As an example, I took a sentence from this book:

Your father wanted to name you Geronimo, after the brave Apache freedom fighter. He was proud of his mestizo blood.


My picture book biography blog post series includes:

  1. Introduction to picture book biographies link
  2. Narrative Structure link
  3. Antagonist & Tension (coming soon)
  4. Selecting timeframe link
  5. Point Of View (POV) this blog post
  6. Infodump (coming soon)

I write blog posts about the craft of writing picture books regularly. The list of the previous posts is on  PictureBookPedia. Also, I publish a quarterly newsletter that includes links to my recent blog posts. My next newsletter will be on 01.10.2022.

Posted in Picture Book Biography, PictureBookPedia.

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