Santiago, Wilfred. 21:The Story of Roberto Clemente.
Fantagraphics Books, 2011
This graphic novel follows Clemente’s life from poverty and tragedy as a young boy in Puerto Rico (his sister dies in a fire) to his many years playing baseball and being well-regarded for his skill as well as his philanthropy. His struggles with being a player of color in the 1950s and 60s is well covered, as well as his private life. There are some sidebars that discuss Puerto Rican history. The orange and brown color scheme fits with the time period.
Strengths: Students who liked the Satchel Paige graphic novel, or baseball in general, have been picking this up. It is much better than the mass produced graphic biographies widely available.
Weaknesses: The story was hard to follow at times, and the print was really, really tiny I’m getting older, but my vision isn’t that bad yet, and this was very hard to read.
Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem and Raymond Obstfeld.
Illustrated by A.G. Ford
What Color Is My World?: The Lost History Of African American Inventors
Ella and Herbie move in to a run down house and aren't happy about it, but when they have to help the handyman, Mr. Mital, he teaches them that many of the items in the house were invented by African-Americans. The story of the home renovation is broken up by short biographies of various inventors, comic panels describing the inventions, and many other sidebars detailing a wide range of little known African-American inventors.
Strengths: This has a lot of good information, and is presented in a lively and colorful way. Students will learn a lot about inventors.
Weaknesses: While good for casual reading, this could have been formatted in a more effective way for research. The story distracted me, the inventors were not presented chronologically, and the fold out pages may come to grief in a school library.