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Biography Suggestions by Grade

Looking for fascinating stories about real people? Explore the following list for some suggestions.


Gus & me [kit]: the story of my granddad and my first guitar by Keith Richards, with Barnaby Harris and Bill Shapiro ; art by Theodora Richards — About Keith Richards’ relationship with his grandfather, this copy comes with a CD of the author reading the story.

Marvelous Mattie: how Margaret E. Knight became an inventor by Emily Arnold McCully — A young woman inventor becomes known as the female Edison.

A boy and a jaguar by written by Alan Rabinowitz ; illustrated by Cátia Chien — A young boy struggles with stuttering, and uses his relationship with animals to overcome his difficulties.

Just being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo ; illustrated by Julia Denos — Audrey Hepburn was so much more than an actress! Find out what she did off the screen.

Star stuff: Carl Sagan and the mysteries of the cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson — A simple story featuring Carl Sagan. There’s not a lot of biographical information, but if you’re looking for inspiration, here it is.

Need more? Try this list of Biographies for Kindergarteners.

First Grade

Life in the ocean: the story of oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola

Lipman Pike: America's first home run king by Richard Michelson ; and illustrated by Zachary Pullen

Draw what you see: the life and art of Benny Andrews by Kathleen Benson ; illustrated with paintings by Benny Andrews

Mumbet's Declaration of Independence by Gretchen Woelfle ; illustrations by Alix Delinois

Magic trash: a story of Tyree Guyton and his art by J.H.Shapiro ; illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Need more? Try this list of Biographies for First Graders.

Second Grade

The right word: Roget and his thesaurus by Jen Bryant, author ; Melissa Sweet, illustrator — A beautiful picture book that just garnered several awards, read it to find out more about the man responsible for our thesaurus. And for more on language, check out the man responsible for our dictionary, Noah Webster.

My name is Truth: the life of Sojourner Truth by Ann Turner ; illustrated by James Ransome — A new biography about one of the key figures of abolition.

Mo Willems by Abby Colich — Learn more about the creator of Elephant and Piggie, the Pigeon, and the inimitable Knuffle Bunny.

Dare the wind by Tracey Fern ; pictures by Emily Arnold McCully — An exceptional navigator beats the record for sailing around South America from New York to San Francisco.

Alfred Nobel: the man behind the Peace Prize by written by Kathy-jo Wargin ; illustrated by Zachary Pullen — Many are familiar with the Nobel prize. Read about the man behind the award.

Need more? Try this list of Biographies for Second Graders.

Third Grade

Astrophysicist and space advocate Neil deGrasse Tyson by Marne Ventura — Into science? So is Neil deGrasse Tyson.

A home for Mr. Emerson by Barbara Kerley ; illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham — A look at a well-known American writer.

Alia's mission: saving the books of Iraq: inspired by a true story by Mark Alan Stamaty — Love your library? This story about Alia Baker might be for you.

For the birds: the life of Roger Tory Peterson by Peggy Thomas ; illustrated by Laura Jacques — Ever looked at a Peterson Guide? This is the Peterson who started it all.

Bad news for outlaws: the remarkable life of Bass Reeves, deputy U.S. marshall by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson ; illustrations by R. Gregory Christie — A real-life law enforcement hero.

Need more? Try this list of Biographies for Third Graders.

Fourth Grade

Kammie on first: baseball's Dottie Kamenshek by Michelle Houts — If you've ever seen A League of Their Own, this is the story of the real-life Dottie Hinson, an amazing baseball player.

Ali: an American champion by Barry Denenberg — Another sports bio, this one features famous boxer, Muhammad Ali.

Small steps: the year I got polio by Peg Kehret — A popular biography about an author's experience with contracting polio. For another story of overcoming polio, try One Step at a Time.

Sally Ride: life on a mission by Sue Macy

Josephine: the dazzling life of Josephine Baker by words by Patricia Hruby Powell ; pictures by Christian Robinson — A beautiful book about a woman who personified jazz.


Need more? Try this list of Biographies for Fourth Graders.

Fifth Grade

The Virginia giant: the true story of Peter Francisco by Sherry Norfolk and Bobby Norfolk ; illustrations by Cait Brennan

The girl from the tar paper school: Barbara Rose Johns and the advent of the civil rights movement by Teri Kanefield

Marooned: the strange but true adventures of Alexander Selkirk, the real Robinson Crusoe by Robert Kraske ; illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker — If you like survival stories, this one's a doozy. The real-life inspiration for Robinson Crusoe, packed into just over 100 pages.

Ada Byron Lovelace: the lady and the computer by Mary Dodson Wade — Wait, the first computer programmer was a woman? In the 19th century? Read this and find out more.

Young Jerry Ford: athlete and citizen by Hendrik Booraem, V — This president grew up in Michigan. For more complete tales of his life, check JBIO FORD.

Need more? Try this list of Biographies for Fifth Graders.

Sixth Grade

Code name Pauline: memoirs of a World War II special agent by Pearl Witherington Cornioley with Hervé Larroque ; edited by Kathryn J. Atwood

The boy on the wooden box: how the impossible became possible...on Schindler's list by Leon Leyson ; with Marilyn J. Harran and Elisabeth B. Leyson — The memoir of a man who was rescued by Oskar Schindler during the Holocaust in Germany. You might also be interested in stories about lesser known individuals like Janusz Korczak or lesser known events during the war.

Ghost walls: the story of a 17th-century colonial homestead by Sally M. Walker — A biography about a house. No, this won't work for an assignment about a person, but if you're interested in cool stories from history, give it a try.

Cheaper by the dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr., Ernestine Gilbreth Carey — Nothing like the movie
with Steve Martin, this is a humorous biography about an efficiency expert with twelve children in the early twentieth century. If it makes you laugh, check out Belles on their Toes.

The Brothers Grimm: two lives, one legacy by Donald R. Hettinga — Where do fairy tales come from? Look no further than this biography about the brothers Grimm.

Need more? Try this list of Biographies for Sixth Graders.