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Biography for Kids :: Gertrude Stein

by Jean Van't Hul
July 9, 2010


This Gertrude Stein biography for kids made its way into our life well before I was aware of it. Since Daphne’s birth, I’ve been reading chapter books with Maia as our special mama-daughter bonding time. We cuddle in her bed and read a chapter (or two or three) from The Boxcar Children or whatever book we’re currently reading, while Harry takes Daphne.

We still get stacks and stacks of picture books from the library, but Harry is more often the one to read them with Maia.

So when Maia started going around saying, “It can be whatever it wants to be!” and “Why of course it can!” I didn’t realize she was quoting from a book.


And a pretty amazing book at that, it turns out.

It is called Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude (written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Calef Brown) and is such a pleasure to read and look at!

A biography for kids about writer Gertrude Stein, it makes learning about her life, and the artists who were part of her circle, effortless and fun.

Written in Gertrude’s stream-of-consciousness style, the text is catchy and whimsical, not didactic.

Oh, Gertrude writes whatever.


and pages

and pages

and pages

with words all over the pages.

My goodness, what fun.

What fun to write whatever words occur.


The viewpoint it gives of writing and creating is exactly what I want my daughter to hear.

A picture is a picture.

It can be whatever it wants to be.

It doesn’t have to make sense.

It doesn’t have to look like a waterfall,

not if it doesn’t want to.

A picture can be whatever.

Why of course it can.

Those seven lines are worth the price of the book alone!

We will soon replace our library copy with one for our own shelves.

This one is a keeper, keeper, keeper. Why of course it is.


I know I can be overly enthusiastic with all my exclamation points and the words, love, love, love. I try to tone it down sometimes, but that’s who I am, too, and I really do love this book!

How about you? Do you have any favorite biographies for kids?

Note :: This post includes affiliate links which means that if you purchase an item from one of the links in the post, I will receive a small commission for the sale at no added cost to you.

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