The Story of Charles Atlas, Strong Man by Meghan McCarthy.
This is a picture book biography of Charles Atlas, who started life with the name of Angelo Siciliano. Atlas came to the U.S. from Italy through Ellis Island. Throughout his boyhood he was the victim of bullies. When he saw a statue of Hercules at a museum, Atlas was inspired to get himself into shape. But the first weights he used don’t seem to work. Finally, Atlas created a new fitness routine and his body started to change. His career after that was all based on his muscles and body. He sold his fitness course to millions of people and his measurements are on file as the perfect human specimen.
Picture book biographies often are dry and uninspiring, but this one will hold the interest of readers. Even children uninterested in body building will be inspired by the way Atlas refused to give up and persevered in changing his life and build. There is much more here than muscles, there is a real heart.
Recommended for children who normally won’t read picture books, this melding of picture book and true story will perfectly suit some readers. The book also reads aloud well, and could be used in elementary school as a great example of a biography.