Give readers crucial context for current events with must-have biographies. Dive into the stories behind important leaders and the experiences that defined them, from politicians making headlines today to under-celebrated historical figures and celebrities.
Grade Level: 4 – 8
Age Level: 9 – 14
Discover the human side of key newsworthy and historical figures. Each biography in this easy-reading series is peppered with quotes and childhood stories, accounts of successes and failures, and descriptions of the inspirational sources and experiences that influenced the person’s achievements. Detailed timelines and indexes make these valuable reference resources.
I Could Not Do Otherwise: The Remarkable Life of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker by Sara Latta
As a teenager, Mary Edwards Walker determined she would no longer wear the confining corsets and long skirts society dictated women wear at the time and instead opted for pants with a short skirt, setting the stage for her lifelong controversial efforts to change expectations. One of the first women to earn a degree in medicine, Walker championed women’s rights, social justice, and access to health care. She became a Civil War surgeon and a spy, who was captured and arrested by the Confederacy, and she is still the only woman to have been awarded the Medal of Honor.
Written by young adult author Sara Latta, I Could Not Do Otherwise teaches readers about Walker’s determination and strength of conviction, as well as her complete disregard of what others thought of her unconventional style. The slogan, “women’s rights are human rights” is a direct descendent of Walker’s words: “The recognition of the individuality of woman, is simply an acknowledgement of human rights, which all human beings have guaranteed them, by the fact of their having an existence.” I Could Not Do Otherwise brings to light an amazing historical figure who broke gender norms and fought for issues that are still relevant today.
Not Done Yet: Shirley Chisholm’s Fight for Change by Tameka Fryer Brown and illustrated by Nina Crews
Shirley Chisholm was a natural-born fighter. She didn’t like to be bossed and she wanted things to be fair.
Brooklyn-born Shirley Chisholm was smart and ambitious. She poured her energy into whatever she did—from teaching young children to becoming Brooklyn’s first Black assemblywoman. Not afraid to blaze a trail, she became the first Black woman elected to Congress and the first woman to seriously run for US president. With a vision of liberty and justice for all, she worked for equal rights, for the environment, for children, and for health care. Even now, her legacy lives on and inspires others to continue her work . . . which is not done yet.
Stirring free verse by Tameka Fryer Brown and evocative illustrations by Nina Crews provide an inspirational look at changemaker Shirley Chisholm.
60 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet by Dennis Denenberg, Lorraine Roscoe
Sixty remarkable Americans and their inspiring stories are included in this unique book.
Intended as a starting point for learning more about these important American heroes, each biography has a photo-illustrated double-page spread devoted to them. With an updated, modern design and Dennis Denenberg and Lorraine Roscoe’s contagious, enthusiastic writing style, this book is a great introduction to authentic American heroes. New heroes in this edition include Amanda Gorman, Dolly Parton, Fred Rogers, and Kamala Harris.
Revised by the original authors, the book includes up-to-date websites and book lists, as well as the most current biographical information available.
Who Else in History? (Alternator Books ®)
Celebrate the women, people of color, and other hidden figures in history and science who are often overlooked. Features help introduce readers to important figures and to hear from the heroes in their own words.
The Lady and the Octopus: How Jeanne Villepreux-Power Invented Aquariums and Revolutionized Marine Biology by Danna Staaf
Jeanne Villepreux-Power was never expected to be a scientist. Born in 1794 in a French village more than 100 miles from the ocean, she pursued an improbable path that brought her to the island of Sicily. There, she took up natural history and solved the two-thousand-year-old mystery of how of the argonaut octopus gets its shell.
In an era when most research focused on dead specimens, Jeanne was determined to experiment on living animals. And to keep sea creatures alive for her studies, she had to invent a contraption to hold them—the aquarium. Her remarkable life story is told by author, marine biologist, and octopus enthusiast Danna Staaf.
Find more booklists and resources on the Lerner blog!