The 5th graders have been busy checking out Biographies for their book reports. To be quite honest I love and hate this time of year. I love the idea of the children learning about remarkable people and history makers. I love that the children get to read these books and perhaps be inspired by other people’s accomplishments. But, there are aspects of the biography book reports I greatly dislike. The first is the page limit. While necessary, it is difficult to find biographies that are age appropriate and at least 100 or 150 pages. The second is that more often than not the children gravitate toward the typical biographies. Usually when I suggest a biography the children aren’t interested because it isn’t someone really popular. Yet, I keep trying. So here are some of my suggestions of really good biographies about people you may know a lot about.

Belva Lockwood: Equal Rights Pioneer
By Jill Norgren
A biography of United States attorney, politician, educator, and author Belva Lockwood, that chronicles her struggles to receive an education and law degree and her run for president with the Equal Rights Party.

Ernest Shackleton: Gripped by the Antarctic
By Rebecca L. Johnson
A biography of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the daring, charismatic Antarctic explorer who fell short of his goal of crossing Antarctica, but accomplished a far greater feat by bringing every member of his crew back alive.

Agness de Mille
By Judy L. Hasday

Presents a biography of Agnes de Mille, discussing her illustrious family, her interest in dance and determination to become a ballerina, and her eventual success as a choreographer.

Bessie Coleman
By Philip S. Hart
Presents the biography of Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman pilot and chronicles her childhood and desire to fly and the struggles she and others faced to overcome racial 

Escape!: The Story of the Great Houdini
By Sid Fleischman
A biography of the magician, ghost chaser, aviator, and king of escape artists whose amazing feats are remembered long after his death in 1926.

Pope John Paul II: Young Man of the Church
By George E. Stanley
A brief biography of Pope John Paul II that focuses on his childhood, early years, and events that led him to being named Pope.

Sylvia Earle
By Beth Baker
Describes the life of this groundbreaking marine biologist and diver, from her childhood in New Jersey and Florida to her deep sea explorations of the 1980s and 1990s.

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story Kids Edition
By Gregg Lewis
Ben Carson used to be the class dummy. Today he is one of the world’s most brilliant surgeons. Gifted Hands Kids Edition tells the extraordinary true story of an angry, young boy from the inner city who, through faith and determination, grew up to become one of the world’s leading pediatric neurosurgeons.

Johannes Gutenberg: Inventor of the Printing Press
By Fran Rees

Presents a biography of Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press, and provides information on the Renaissance world, the Gutenberg Bible, and the impact his invention had on the world of books.

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