Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became the Beatles

Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
Published by Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt
ISBN 978-0-8050-9458-9
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The true story of how four ordinary boys growing up amid the rubble of postwar England became the bestselling band in history.


  • A Junior Library Guild selection
  • Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2016

This thorough and well-researched collective biography traces the origins of the Beatles, examining John, Paul, George, and Ringo individually while also considering the dynamic relationships between them, and the qualities that would propel the band to extraordinary popularity and success. Reich connects the four portraits in a cohesive arc, offering details about the difficulties, as well as the contentments, each member of the Fab Four experienced while growing up in working class Liverpool. From absent fathers and hospitalizations to attentive girls and first guitars, concrete details bring her subjects to life. Though we get specifics about the boys as individuals, Reich concentrates on the qualities that brought them together, focusing especially on their humor, their work ethic, and their consummate musicianship. Gustavson’s luminous oil paintings capture likenesses and personalities that are utterly recognizable, even when the bandmates are just little boys and teens. The comprehensive back matter includes an author’s note, a glossary, endnotes, and a strong selection of sources. – Thom Barthelmess

Book cover of Fab Four Friends, written by Susanna Reich