May 16 is National Biographers Day: Top picks for kids of all ages!

Into the Wild Book Coverbiography 

noun    bi·og·ra·phy   \bī-ˈä-grə-fē also bē-\ 

A biography is a written account of another person’s life.

National Biographer’s Day commemorates the anniversary of the first meeting of Samuel Johnson and his biographer James Boswell in London, England on May 16, 1763, and honors all biographers.

Famous poet, essayist, literary critic, editor and lexicographer, Johnson was even a biographer himself! And, according to Johnson, the best biographers were those who ate, drank and lived their subjects.

The best biographies for kids of all ages

But, how do parents and teachers encourage a child to read what may be perceived as a “boring biography?”

Sloane Tanen is the author of many children’s books including Where is Coco Going?  In a recent article for Grandparents.com, she explains, “It’s no easy task writing a biography that will appeal to young readers. While kids like the idea of “a true story,” biographies have a way of turning dry and pedantic. It takes skill to make the history of another person come alive for young people.”

Luckily, there are many wonderful, exciting biographies available. Below is a selection of biographies, organized by age, that are sure to appeal to your child!

  • Me. . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell, Ages 3 to 7
  • All the Way to America by Dan Yaccarino, Ages 3 to 7
  • The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein, Ages 4 to 8
  • I Am Martin Luther King, Jr.: Ordinary People Change the World, by Brad Meltzer, Ages 7+
  • Women Who Broke The Rules: Coretta Scott King by Kathleen Krull, Ages 8+
  • Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton, Ages 10+
  • A Nation’s Hope by Matt De La Pena and Kadir Nelson, Ages 6 to 11
  • Anne Frank: Hidden Hope by Rita Thievon Mullin, Ages 9 to 12
  • Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman, Ages 9 to 12
  • The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan and Peter Sis, Ages 9 to 12
  • A Voice of Her Own: Becoming Emily Dickinson by Barbara Dana, Ages 12+
  • Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman, Ages 12+
  • The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler by James Cross Giblin, Ages 11 to 15
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, Ages 15+

Searchng for even more biography ideas for kids? Look no further than your local library!

Get a FREE Delaware Library Card and get kids excited about reading this summer

This summer, you can get your kids excited about reading biographies — and other great books — at your local branch of the Delaware Public Library system. To find a library near you, CLICK HERE for a full list.

Don’t have a Delaware library card, yet? If not, all Delaware residents are eligible for a free library card. Complete a registration form and present it with a photo ID at your local Delaware public library.

New Castle County registration form
Kent County registration form
Sussex County registration form

If you don’t have a Delaware photo ID, please contact your local library for card registration requirements. Children under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian present to sign for the card.

For more information, please visit the Delaware Division of Libraries. And… get reading!

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