Biographies

Sometimes the best stories are the true ones. Our list of the best biographies for young readers includes inspiring stories about people standing up for their rights, profiles of overlooked witnesses to history, anthologies that offer capsule bios of people who've done great things, and more. For tales of other outstanding leaders and people who made a difference, check out these lists: Civil Rights Books and Books About Racism and Social Justice.

Jazz Age Josephine Poster Image
BOOK

Jazz Age Josephine

age 4+

Jazzy bio of Josephine Baker inspiring, bittersweet.

By: Jonah Winter (2012)
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Joey: The Story of Joe Biden Poster Image
BOOK

Joey: The Story of Joe Biden

age 4+

Warm bio shows vice president as regular kid, born leader.

By: Jill Biden (2020)
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Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice Poster Image
BOOK

Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice

age 4+

Inspiring, colorful story of senator's lifetime of work.

By: Nikki Grimes (2020)
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Mahalia Jackson: Walking with Kings and Queens Poster Image
BOOK

Mahalia Jackson: Walking with Kings and Queens

age 4+

Gorgeous, uplifting picture-book bio of the Queen of Gospel.

By: Nina Nolan (2015)
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Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters Poster Image
BOOK

Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters

age 4+

Picture book bio of blues great has dazzling art.

By: Michael James Mahin (2017)
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Rosa Poster Image
BOOK

Rosa

age 4+

Spectacular illustrations spotlight Parks' historic protest.

By: Nikki Giovanni (2006)
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She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World Poster Image
BOOK

She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World

age 4+

Short, inspiring profiles of groundbreaking women.

By: Chelsea Clinton (2017)
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Girls looking through microscope and binoculars
BOOK

She Persisted in Science: Brilliant Women Who Made a Difference

age 4+

Inspiring bios of diverse pioneering women scientists.

By: Chelsea Clinton (2022)
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Turning Pages: My Life Story Poster Image
BOOK

Turning Pages: My Life Story

age 4+

Inspiring life story of first Latina Supreme Court Justice.

By: Sonia Sotomayor (2018)
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When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana Poster Image
BOOK

When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana

age 4+

Vivid picture book traces rock star's humble Mexican roots.

By: Michael James Mahin (2018)
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Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine Poster Image
BOOK

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine

age 5+

Fascinating bio of remarkable 19th-century female inventor.

By: Laurie Wallmark (2015)
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Antsy Ansel: Ansel Adams, a Life in Nature Poster Image
BOOK

Antsy Ansel: Ansel Adams, a Life in Nature

age 5+

Artful, relatable bio offers intro to photographer's work.

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Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children's Books Poster Image
BOOK

Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children's Books

age 5+

Lively biography of the man who gave birth to kids' books.

By: Michelle Markel (2017)
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A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E.B. White Poster Image
BOOK

A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E.B. White

age 5+

Gentle bio of "Charlotte's Web" author is full of charm.

By: Barbara Herkert (2017)
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Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln Poster Image
BOOK

Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln

age 5+

Beautiful historical picture book has stunning art.

By: Margarita Engle (2019)
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The Girl Who Ran: Bobbi Gibb, the First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon Poster Image
BOOK

The Girl Who Ran: Bobbi Gibb, the First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon

age 5+

Suspense, drama in tale of runner who helped break barrier.

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I Am Gandhi: Ordinary People Change the World Poster Image
BOOK

I Am Gandhi: Ordinary People Change the World

age 5+

Engaging picture bio of Indian hero, nonviolence pioneer.

By: Brad Meltzer (2017)
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I Am Harriet Tubman: Ordinary People Change the World Poster Image
BOOK

I Am Harriet Tubman: Ordinary People Change the World

age 5+

Courage, doing the right thing are themes in thrilling bio.

By: Brad Meltzer (2018)
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I Am Jane Goodall: Ordinary People Change the World Poster Image
BOOK

I Am Jane Goodall: Ordinary People Change the World

age 5+

Endearing, lively illustrated bio packs positive messages.

By: Brad Meltzer (2016)
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I Am Sacagawea: Ordinary People Change the World Poster Image
BOOK

I Am Sacagawea: Ordinary People Change the World

age 5+

Strong Native American teen guide shines in lively history.

By: Brad Meltzer (2017)
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