What Kids Think
What Teachers Think
Biographies should both inspire and reassure kids! Inspire because kids can read about people who really cared about making the world a better place, and who found a way to do that. Reassure because reading biographies can help kids learn about real life. Sometimes people have wrong ideas about people, their lives, and their achievements. For instance, not everyone who accomplishes great things in life knows right away what they love and what they will do. Not everyone who achieves great things was a wonderful, brilliant student when they were a kid. Through reading biography, kids should learn that the important thing is to be open to new ideas, and to always remember that anything is possible in their future!
Women's lives, in particular, often don't follow a straight line of achievement and dedication from childhood through college straight on into careers. Many great women grew into their greatness, and dedicated their lives to their causes more fully only after their children had grown, or after they learned a little bit about themselves and about the world. You can see this clearly in Eleanor Roosevelt, a great biography of a woman who became a great activist for justice and civil rights.
The earliest English biography was the Life of Thomas More by William Roper (1496-1578). Biographies were meant to teach back then. By the 18th century biography became a part of literature.
Authorized biographies were introduced in the 19th century. The family controlled the information that went into the biography so the information that went into the biography wasn't always correct (the families hid or lied about the bad stuff).
Also in the nineteenth century, in the US, slave autobiographies did a lot to get people involved in fighting slavery. These autobiographies not only showed how horrible slavery was, they also showed that black people could think and write. (see, in the list below, Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass).
Biography's popularity soared coming into the 20th century. It also became more accurate into the 20th century.
|Date of Publicaton||Title||Author||Buy it at Amazon.com!|
|16th Century||Life of Sir Thomas More||William Roper||Buy It!|
|1660-1669||The Diary of Samuel Pepys||Samuel Pepys||Buy It!|
|late 18th century||The Life of Samuel Johnson||James Boswell||Buy It!|
|1845||Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass||Frederick Douglass||Buy It!|
|1903||Souls of Black Folks||William E. B. DuBois||Buy It!|
|1964||Autobiography of Malcolm X||Alex Haley||Buy It!|
|1893||Elelanor Roosevelt||Blanche Wiesen Cook||Buy It!|
|Vandergrift's Biography and Autobiography Page|
|.Biographies of Writers of Children's and Young Adult books|
|A & E's Biography page|
|My Hero Website|
|.Women in History (Cool theatre group, with good info on high-achieving women)|
|Great Women's Biography Sources|
If you know of any good Biography links, please visit our Contact Us page and fill out the form,
letting us know about the link!