8 books about men who used their talents and circumstances to make the world a better place

all ages / collections, powerful lives, s.o.s.e., s.t.e.m., true or true-ish

There’s nothing more important than teaching and loving the people around us – family, friends, neighbours - and the people who most profoundly influence our lives are almost always those who are involved in the minutia of our world. 

With that sort of support firmly in place, it’s great for kids and adults to look to the men and women who have used their individual talents and circumstances to create something extraordinary.

So, to complement our collection posts about amazing women, here are 8 truly lovely picture books about men.

These are books that read like stories and have great art. They’re also full of information about real-life men with diverse talents, circumstances, and lives. Men who have made the world a better place - artistically, scientifically, politically, academically, mathematically or any of a host of other ways.


Uncle Andy's - the story of Andy Warhol’s nephew and his visit to his not-yet-famous uncle. It’s a riot of colour and energy and overflows with family love. Great insight into the life of a brilliant artist. (James Warhola both wrote and illustrated this book – clearly he inherited his uncle’s love of colour and artistic talent.)


Simpson and his Donkey - the story of Jack Simpson and his many life saving rescue missions on the battlefield of Gallipoli .

14 Cows for America - the little-known story of a young Kenyan man who, with members of his Maasia tribe, presented the American ambassador with 14 cows as a gift after the September 11 attacks. An inspiring story about showing love and giving what you can.


The Right Word: Roget And His Thesaurus - the story of Peter Mark Roget and how his childhood and life led to the writing of the world famous thesaurus. Delightful to read and to look at – the pictures are busy and intricate – much like Roget himself.


Starry Messenger – Galileo’s life and work beautifully illustrated.


The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins - a fascinating insight into the earliest attempts to create drawings and models of dinosaurs.


One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin - heaps of information about Charles Darwin and his work and family in this fascinating picture book for older children.

On a Beam of Light - the story of Albert Einstein’s early life and his incredible discoveries, told with humour and insight.

The Boy who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos - unless you’re really keen on maths you may not have come across Paul Erdos previously – this is a tremendous introduction to his life and work. Best of all, this book leaves you with a sense of maths being fun and fascinating.

The books are linked to the booksellers who had the best price at the time of writing, but that can change with time. If you'd like to search for them through our other affiliate booksellers (thank you!) here are the generic links: Amazon - Book Depository - Booktopia

And P.S. - the image at the top of the page is me with my Dad, who continues to make my world a better place.

Names in these books - Andy, Jack, Charles, Waterhouse, Galileo, Peter, Kimeli, Paul