Sunday, February 19, 2012

Book #50: Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo, Illustrated by Julia Denos

Image from

This exquisite picture book is a biography of the iconic and compassionate Audrey Hepburn. The story begins with her childhood in Europe, and follows her from her rise to fame in motion pictures and the world of fashion, to her work as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. The book is a loving tribute to a legendary woman:

Her legacy remains; it is in the loveliness of her movies, in the kindness she showed others, and on the faces of the children she helped around the world. And if you look closely, you can still see the Audrey look around town.

This book is a wonderful introduction to Hepburn’s life and movies. The illustrations capture the spirit and style of Audrey, but instead of going for photorealism there’s a loose, whimsical quality reminiscent of drawings of the 1950’s. There’s also gorgeous two page spread that features Audrey in many of her iconic movie costumes that fans will adore.

If you haven’t read many biographies with your child, this is a great place to start. Many biographies for this age group feature lots of facts, dates, maps, etc. However this book is structured and formatted like a picture book, which can make it more accessible to children who are resistant to regular non-fiction formats. The text is short and easy to follow, although never condescending. The book finishes with a timeline of Audrey’s life, selected books/resources, and notes from both the author and illustrator.

Tie a colorful scarf around your neck, grab your black flats, and read this book to your group dressed as Audrey. If you can, give the kids scarves to tie around their necks afterwards too. 

This book focuses on the human aspects of Audrey, rather than the movie star elements. Use the book as a springboard to talk about Audrey’s workwith UNICEF. UNICEF stands for United Nations Children’s Fund and works in over 190 countries to champion for children’s rights. Ask the kids what rights they think all children of the world should receive.

Naturally, this book will make you want to watch a few Audrey Hepburn movies! Get the kids started with a few clips to show them the magic of Audrey’s onstage presence. From 1957’s Funny Face, watch Audrey and Kay Thompson (author of Eloise at the Plaza) sing and dance How to Be Lovely. From Roman Holiday (1953) watch Gregory Peck convince Audrey to put her hand in the Mouth of Truth.



  1. OH MY GOSH - FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL TIME... well, kind of. At least top, well, hmm, top 20 probably. BUT, definitely favorite person of all time!!! Yay, I'm so happy you include this one! A.H. lovers forever<3

  2. I am forever indebted to you for pointing it out as we were shelving!