Russell Freedman – All of Russell Friedman’s nonfiction and fiction books are highly recommended. The first biography of his that I read was, Lincoln: a Photobiography (Newbery Medal). Eleanor Roosevelt: a Life of Discovery and Franklin Delano Roosevelt are both extremely informative and well written. The list of his books is rather long for this space.
Jean Fritz – All of the biographies she wrote read like fiction and are very informative. Perfect for upper elementary students. Some titles: Why Don’t You Get A Horse, Sam Adams?, Traitor, the case of Benedict Arnold, Make Way for Sam Houston.
Edith Fisher Hunter – Child of the Silent Night: Laura Bridgman (Edith Fisher Hunter)
Published in 1963, this remains one of my favorite biographies. Perfect for elementary through middle school. Most people have heard about Helen Keller, but not Laura Bridgman. Laura survived scarlet fever when she was quite young. All of her senses except touch were damaged. She was blind, deaf, mute, and lost her sense of smell and taste. She was one of the first deaf blind students at the Perkins Institute for the Blind. In 1942, author Charles Dickens went to the Perkins Institute and met Laura and saw her amazing accomplishments. He wrote of her in his American Notes. Helen Keller’s parents read about Laura and contacted the Perkins Institute to arrange a teacher for their daughter.
David Kheridan – The Road from Home (Newbery Honor)
This book is a must read. The author tells the story of his mother and her childhood in Turkey before the Turkish government deported its Armenian population in 1916. Twenty years later, Adolph Hitler issues orders for the extermination of the Polish-speaking race. Hitler writes, “After all, who remembers today the extermination of the Armenians?” This is good to pair with the science fiction book, The Diary of Pelly D (Adlington).
Milton J. Nieuwsma – Kinderlager: An Oral History of Young Holocaust Survivors (Collected Bios)
Children were in the concentration camps. In their own words, three survivors document their time at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps during their childhood. Pair this with Jane Yolen’s The Devil’s Arithmetic.