Cardillo, Margaret. 2011. JUST BEING AUDREY. Ill. by Julia Denos. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061852831 [Suggested Grade Levels 1-3]
Audrey Hepburn was a movie star and fashion icon. But, she was also a caring person who strived to treat others kindly and to make a positive difference in the world. After surviving the Nazi occupation of Europe, she went on to star in some of Hollywood’s biggest films. She became an inspiration through her work ethic, her personal style, and her charitable work for UNICEF.
Cardillo skillfully tells the inspiring story of Audrey Hepburn emphasizing the star’s lifelong perseverance and individuality in text that is accessible to young readers and of interest to life-long Hepburn fans. She effectively highlights childhood experiences, such as the way Audrey was teased because “she was too tall, her neck was too long, and her eyes seemed too big.” The author goes on to show that these “were precisely the things that made her beautiful as an adult.” Denos’s gentle watercolors are the ideal complement to the text; she gets Audrey’s elegant, doe-eyed je ne sais quoi just right. Cardillo and Denos capably show how one celebrity made a true impact in the world by “just being Audrey.”
This biography touches on many topics - ballet, World War II, the United Nations, Broadway, UNICEF - and can lead to further exploration and discussion of any of these subjects. Children can also map the different places Audrey lived around the world.
Audrey said children were like flowers; readers can discuss what she meant by this comparison and brainstorm ways they are like/unlike flowers. They can also illustrate themselves as flowers.
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