Who Was? Series

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Who Was? Series Book Poster Image
Exceptional biography series teaches history, culture, too.

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Kids say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Each book in the series is a deep dive into a person of historical interest, covering everything from recent years (such as Michelle Obama and Derek Jeter) to distant past (Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great). Packed with details, showing how the person fits into the arc of history.

Positive Messages

Every person can make a positive impact on the world. Remarkable people contribute to society in all sorts of lasting ways. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

This varied collection of social justice warriors, inventors, historical figures, and many more gives readers a glimpse into the breadth and depth of ways to make an impact on the world.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the Who Was? series is a phenomenal source for learning history. The biographical books are fun to read, packed with information and obscure details, and they're careful to show how the topics are relevant today. Each book takes the time to set the scene, telling readers what was happening in the world during the life of people such as Gandhi, Beatrix Potter, and Wayne Gretzky. Placing these people in the context of their impact on the current era gives readers a valuable perspective. The series is upbeat and positive wherever possible, and reminds readers of their own potential to make their mark on the world. Books about living people are titled "Who Is?" rather than "Who Was?"

User Reviews

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Kid, 9 years old May 6, 2020

It was very descriptive

I recommend this to people who like adventure and think deeply.

What's the story?

The WHO WAS? series profiles historically significant people, places, and events in great detail, giving readers a closer look at historical, more recent, and current figures, including Frederick Douglass, Judy Blume, Joan of Arc, Blackbeard, Steve Jobs, the Wright brothers, Pele, Nikola Tesla, and many more. Each book has a bibliography and fold-out, glossy timeline of events at the end, and sidebars throughout the book give additional details related to the main topic or person.

Is it any good?

The books in this series are fabulous, giving the right level of detail for both young readers and adults who want to learn. The writing in the Who Was? series is far from the dull monotony of kids' school history books, and makes an effort to bring history and people to life on the pages. There's a ton of great vocabulary, endless amounts of facts and trivia to glean, and topics for every interest.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the Who Was? books fit into current events and people. Are there any similarities between what happens in one of the books and what has happened recently?

  • What's your favorite time period in history and why?

  • What details did you learn about a person in a Who Was? or Who Is? book that you didn't know before?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history and biography

Themes & Topics

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