Game Changers Game Changers
Illustrated by James Ransome

Venus and Serena Williams are two of the greatest tennis players of all time. Some say they’re two of the greatest athletes of all time. Before they were world famous, they were little girls with big dreams.

Starred Review, Booklist
Starred Review, Horn Book
Starred Review, School Library Journal
Starred Review, Shelf Awareness
New York Public Library Best Books for Kids
Orbis Pictus Recommended Title
Texas Bluebonnet Master List
Junior Library Guild Selection
ALA Notable
Orbis Pictus Recommended Book
Eureka! Excellence in Nonfiction

Finding Langston Finding Langston

When 11-year-old Langston's mother dies in 1946, he and his father leave rural Alabama for Chicago's brown belt as a part of what came to be known as the Great Migration. It's lonely in the small apartment with just the two of them, and at school Langston is bullied. But his new home has one fantastic thing. Unlike the whites-only library in Alabama, the local public library welcomes everyone. There, hiding out after school, Langston discovers another Langston, a poet whom he learns inspired his mother enough to name her only son after him.

Coretta Scott King Author Honor
2019 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
Starred review, Kirkus
Starred review, Booklist
Starred review, School Library Journal
Starred review, Shelf Awareness
Starred review, Horn Book
Junior Library Guild Selection
Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
School Library Journal Best Book 2018
New York Public Library Best Books for Kids


Before She Was Harriet Before She Was Harriet
Illustrated by James Ransome

Moses, General Tubman, Minty, Araminta--the woman we know today as Harriet Tubman went by many names.  Each represented one of her many roles as a spy, as a liberator, as a suffragist, and more.  A powerful poem and exquisite watercolor paintings pay tribute to a true American hero.

"A memorable, lyrical reverse-chronological walk through the life of an American icon. While the text introduces readers to the details of Tubman's life, Ransome's use of watercolor . . . reveals Tubman's humanity, determination, drive, and hope."—Kirkus

Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor
Starred review, Kirkus
Starred review, Publisher's Weekly
Starred review, School Library Journal
Starred review, Booklist
Starred Review, Shelf Awareness
NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Work - Children
2018 (NCSS-CBC) Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book of 2017
Included in the 2018 Kansas NEA Reading Circle Catalog
A 2018 Charlotte Zolotow Award Highly Commended Title
An NCTE Notable Poetry Book
A Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature (CSMCL) Best Book of 2017
A Booklist Editors' Choice
A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book
2017 EUREKA! Nonfiction Honor Award
Capitol Choices 2018
Jane Addams Honor Award
The Christopher Award

Germs Germs: Fact and Fiction, Friends and Foes
Illustrated by James Ransome

Come meet the good, the bad, and the ugly—yes, germs!
There’s so much to discover about germs. Did you know that germs make your stomach growl as they break down your food? Or that they can travel the world on anything from fleas and ticks to trains and buses?

Told from the perspective of Sam the Salmonella, this informative picture book introduces young readers to helpful and harmful germs, exploring their discovery; the breakout of historic diseases; the invention of pasteurization, vaccination, and penicillin; and other fascinating details about the world of microscopic organisms.

Evanston, IL Public Library Best Books of the Year
Just a Lucky So and So Just a Lucky So and So
Illustrated by James Ransome
(Holiday House)

"When I pick up that horn, that's all. The world's behind me, and I don't concentrate on nothing but it."

Louis always focused on ways in which he was lucky. Although his New Orleans neighborhood was poor in nearly everything else, it was rich in extraordinary music, from the funeral marches to the honky-tonks. Young Louis took it all in, especially the cornet blowing of Joe "King" Oliver. But after a run in with the police, 11-year-old Louis was sent away to the Colored Waif's Home for Boys where he became a disciplined musician in the school's revered marching band. By the time he returned to his neighborhood, the "King" himself became his mentor and invited Armstrong to play with him in Chicago. Just a Lucky So and So is a joyful tribute to the virtuoso musician with the buoyant personality who introduced much of the world to jazz.

Bank Street Best Book of 2017

Louis Armstrong has been called the most important jazz improviser in the history of jazz. Superb music. "Upbeat and celebratory—like Pops himself."—Kirkus Reviews

My Story, My Dance My Story, My Dance
Illustrated by James E. Ransome
(Simon & Schuster)

A boy discovers his passion for dance and becomes a modern hero in this inspiring picture book biography of Robert Battle, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

When Robert Battle was a boy wearing leg braces, he never dreamed he’d study at Juilliard. Though most dancers begin training at an early age, it wasn’t until Robert was a teenager that his appreciation for movement first from martial arts, then for ballet became his passion. But support from his family and teachers paired with his desire and determination made it possible for Robert to excel. After years of hard work, the young man who was so inspired by a performance of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations became the artistic director of the very company that motivated him. Today, under Robert’s leadership, Alvin Ailey continues to represent the African American spirit through dance.

CCBC Choices 2016
Starred review, Kirkus
Orbis Pictus Recommended Book
ALA Notable
Bank Street Best Book of 2015

"In the hands of the Ransomes, a husband-and-wife team, Robert’s life is a classic inspirational story of family love, faith and passionate artistic devotion."—New York Times Book Review

Whale Trails Whale Trails, Before and Now
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

"My father and I live for the sea. He is the captain of the Cufee Whale Boat and today I am his First Mate."

Whale-watching is a hugely popular pastime: at least 13 million people take whale-watching trips each year. but in the past, whaling ships hunted these animals to use their blubber for fuel and their bones for fishing hooks. As the whale population thinned, fortunately hunting ceased. Now, whale lovers go out on boats just to get a glimpse of these giant endangered creatures.

Narrated by a little girl out on the waves with her father, this is a story of marine history and the differences between then and now.

Henry Holt and Co.
ISBN 978-0-8050-9642-2

Starred review, Kirkus
Kirkus Best Books of 2015
2016 Notable Social Studies Trade Books
CCBC Award Master List Selection
Bank Street College Best Book of the Year
Freedom's SchoolFreedom's School
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James E. Ransome

When Lizzie's parents are granted their freedom from slavery, Mama says it’s time for Lizzie and her brother Paul to go to a real school—a new one, built just for them. But will it be strong enough to stand forever?"eloquent testament to the overriding importance of school"—KirkusDisney Hyperion
ISBN 978-1-4231-6103-5

CCBC Choices 2016
Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the First Black-and-White Jazz Band in History
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James E. Ransome

Brought together by the love of jazz, Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson is the story of how two musical prodigies, one a young boy who studied music at Tuskegee College in Alabama, the other the son of struggling Jewish immigrants from the West Side of Chicago, came together through music and helped create the style of music known as swing.

Holiday House Publishers
ISBN 978-0-8234-2362-0

Light in the Darkness Light in the Darkness
by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James Ransome

Based on historical fact, Light in the Darkness is a dramatic story of the determination of slaves to learn to read and write, despite the dangers from slave patrollers. "Rosa is eager to learn her letters. After the letters come words, and after the words come reading. ... Finally they [Rosa and her Mama] reach their destination: a hole dug in the ground and covered with branches. They climb down and begin making the shapes that Morris teaches them: A...B...C..."

Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books
ISBN 978-142313495-4

Junior Library Guild selection
CCBC Choices
2014 2014 Notable Children's Book in Language Arts
Teacher's Guide available

view a demo video about the artwork for this book

Words Set Me Free Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass
written by Lesa Cline-Ransome & illustrated by James Ransome

"We started with the letter A and continued from there..." Based on Frederick Douglass's own Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, this is an inspiring story of the power of the individual.

"Drawing from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the Ransomes...create a powerful biographical account of the anti-slavery crusader, writer and orator's early life."
Starred Review, Publisher's Weekly

Published by Simon & Schuster
ISBN 978-1-4169-5903-8
Eureka Award Winner for Excellence in Nonfiction 2012

Starred Review, School Library Journal

Starred Review, Booklist

Young Pele: Soccer's First Star Young Pele: Soccer's First Star
by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome

The inspiring story of how a poor Brazilian boy--who kicked rocks down roads and dribbled balls made from rags--went on to become the greatest soccer player of all time.

Starred Review, Booklist, September 1, 2007:
"With handsome oil paintings and a stirring story, this picture-book biography will first grab children with its action."
—Hazel Rochman

NAACP Image Awards nominee, 2008

Starred Review, Booklist
Top 10 Sports Books for Youth, 2008, Booklist
Major Taylor, Champion Cyclist Major Taylor Champion Cyclist
by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome

How little Marshall Taylor, through dedication, talent and speed transformed himself into the extraordinary Major Taylor and won the world championship of bicycle racing in 1899.

ISBN 0-689-83159-5
An Anne Schwartz Book, published by Atheneum/Simon &Schuster

Capitol Choices List (DC)
Emphasis On Reading Program Master List (AL)
Golden Sower Masterlist (NE)
Kansas State Reading Circle Intermediate Titles
KC3 Award Master List Nominee (MO)
Young Hoosier Book Award Master List (IN)
Satchel Paige Satchel Paige
by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome

Examines the life of the legendary baseball player, who was the first African-American to pitch in a Major League World Series.

ISBN 0-689-81151-9
Simon & Schuster

ALA Notable Book

Top 10  Black History Books for Youth, 2000, Booklist
Bank Street College of Educations's Best Children's Book of the Year
Top 10 Sports Books for Youth, 2000, Booklist
CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
Children's Literature Choice List
Quilt Alphabet Quilt Alphabet
by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome

From apples to cows, kettles to scarecrows, warm country images abound in this delightful alphabet poem with striking folk art illustrations.

ISBN 0-8234-1453-1
Holiday House

Quilt Counting Quilt Counting
by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome

Companion book to Quilt Alphabet by the same author. Step inside and join the fun--count 1 to 10, and 10 to 1!

ISBN 1-58717-178-3
SeaStar Books

Before There Was Mozart Before There Was Mozart: The Story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George
by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome

Joseph Boulogne loved music. The singing of the birds, the beat of drums, the peal of church bells—and most of all, the soaring notes of his violin. But as the son of a white plantation owner and a black slave, newly arrived in France from the West Indies, what chance did Joseph have for success with his music? Here is the true story of an extraordinary boy who overcame the prejudices of his peers to become one of the finest classical musicians in all of Europe.

Buy now on Amazon.

ISBN-10: 0375836004
ISBN-13: 978-0375836008
Schwartz & Wade Books

NAACP Image Award Nominee
CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book

Helen Keller Helen Keller: The World in Her Heart
by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome

For Helen Keller, w-a-t-e-r was a cool, slippery splash. S-u-n was the warm afternoon glow coating her skin. L-i-l-y was a sweet-smelling petal, soft and delicate to her touch. This evocative portrait reminds us that there are many ways to experience the world through the senses--but the most important things in life are savored within the heart.

Buy now on Amazon.

ISBN 978-0-06-057074-3
Publisher: Harper Collins

Starred review, Booklist

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