Great Lives In Graphics is a fabulous collection of non fiction books that reimagine the lives of famous people from different historical eras who have made an impact on science and the arts. Full of fascinating facts and amazing infographics, we learnt so much about the different characters – not just their history but also personality quirks and other trivia.
Each Great Lives in Graphics book has a host of fascinating facts on the sturdy cover. The books start with a brief introduction to the character then a double page spread shows a timeline from birth until death. A glossary at the back of the book explains any unfamiliar vocabulary. We love the way that historical facts about daily life, transport and great inventions are mixed with trivia to give context to the character’s lifestyles.
We learnt so much from the books which are easy to dip in and out of, they’re great coffee table books;
Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgang Theophilus Mozart: Born 1756 in Salzburg – died 1791 in Vienna
- Mozart was one of seven children born to Anna Maria and Wolfgang Leopold but only two survived, Mozart and his sister Nannerl, who was also a talented musician.
- He started playing the piano and violin when he was just three years old.
- He wrote at least 626 works inducing symphonies, operas and concertos for both violin and piano.
- He loved birds and taught a starling to sing the opening to his piano concerto Number 17.
- He almost became Beethoven’s teacher.
- He married Constanze Weber after being rejected by her older sister, Aloysie. He has no direct descendants. One son had a daughter who died of smallpox, the other died childless.
- It is thought that Mozart died of food poisoning after eating undercooked pork.
Jane Austen: Born 1775 in Steventon, Hampshire – died July 1817 in Winchester
- Jane grew up in a vicarage, the seventh of eight children. As a vicar’s daughter she was considered low gentry.
- Jane and her sister Cassandra were particularly close and shared a room for their whole lives.
- From an early age Jane was encouraged to read and write, she was eleven when she started writing silly stories, plays and poetry .
- Jane wrote six novels. As a woman she wasn’t allowed to write so her identity didn’t become known until after she died.
- She dedicated her novel, Emma, to Prince George who was a huge fan of her fiction.
- She was a prolific letter writer and although many of her letters still survive, many were destroyed by her sister to protect her privacy.
- Harris Brigg proposed to Jane and she said yes but changed her mind the next day!
- Jane died in Cassandra’s arms at the age of 41.
Nikola Tesla: Born 1856 in Smijan, Austria – died 1943 in New York
- Nikola Tesla was an electrical engineer who was alive at the same time as Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein.
- His mother, Duka, couldn’t read or write but she was a brilliant inventor who created gadgets to use on the family farm.
- One of Tesla’s first inventions was an insect- powered propeller which relied on insects flapping their wings.
- He was obsessed with the number three, slept for only two hours a night and didn’t like shaking hands.
- He worked for Thomas Edison but when Tesla left after disagreements, they became bitter rivals.
- He was a great showman and often entertained friends with his electrical trickery – once he allowed 250, 000 volts to be shot through his body!
- The technology in many of our electrical gadgets can be traced back to Tesla’s work with electricity and wireless power.
Frida Kahlo: Born 1907 in Mexico City – died 1954 in Mexico City
- Frida and her three sisters grew up in The Blue House, built by her father it is now a museum in her honour.
- She dreamt of being a doctor but after breaking her back in a bus crash when she was eighteen she became an artist instead.
- She became artist Diego Rivera’s muse in 1928 and married him a year later. They divorced in 1939.
- Frida loved fashion and spent hours transforming herself into a work of art, she wanted people to focus on her and not on her disabilities.
- She painted many self portraits, when her life was especially difficult she expressed her pain through painting.
- She loved nature and many of her paintings include plants and animals.
- Frida’s first exhibition took place months before her death, determined not to miss it she attended it in her bed.
Thank you to Button Books for sending review copies of these fabulous books. We’re looking forward to reading more from the Great Lives in Graphics collection.