There are people in this world who have lived amazing lives and done amazing things, literally changing the world for the better. Some accomplished this in big and famous ways; others made their impact flying under the radar of public awareness. Regardless of how they did it, a life well-lived is an inspiring thing. We all want our kids to grow up to be productive members of society and make an impact for good. What better way to inspire them, than sharing stories of real people who did just that?
Below is a list of three biographies (including one series of biographies, so really a whole lot more) that have made an impact on our family. Biography lists for kids are something I want to post often. I plan to keep these lists short and sweet, but desire that the books they share pack a punch. Here is the first installment:
This is a series published by Youth With a Mission (YWAM) that I have been recommending for years. They have a series for the younger set under the banner Heroes for Young Readers recommended for ages 4-8. The Christian Heroes Then and Now books are all around 200 pages and recommended for ages 9 and up. There are over 50 titles in this series, so it can keep your kids reading for a long while, and if you have kids that struggles to sit with a book and would rather listen, they are available as audiobooks. The stories contained within this series show how time and time again God worked through ordinary humans to do extraordinary things. We love them at our house and have quite a few in our personal collection. Some of our personal favorites are:
This book shares the story of William Kamkwamba, a boy who lived through a terrible drought in his Malawian village, and eventually, through access to a small library in his village, came up with an idea that would change his family’s life forever.
I read the young reader’s edition of this book (recommended for ages 10 and up) and was so amazed at how William built a windmill out of scraps on his own, with only an old science book to show him how. The details of how the physics and electricity worked got a little much for me, but a kid who loves figuring out how things work would probably love that aspect of this story. But, there is so much more than the how-to, William’s story is so good at giving readers a small feeling of the joys and challenges of growing up in Africa, what experiencing a famine is like and how pursuing a crazy idea can change everything.
One of my son’s favorite books, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an inspiring story of how a kid can make a difference and change the world.
For readers 9 and up
Wow, I loved this book (to be fair, I am partial to author biographies and Charlotte’s Web is one of my all-time favorite books), but!…
Beautifully illustrated, Some Writer! is worth getting for the pictures alone. The story of E.B. White, his life and how his beloved books came to be is icing (really thick and filling icing to be sure). Filled with quotes, poems and letters written by E.B. White himself along with lots of photos, this book is a treasure, one to be poured over and savored. Reading this biography made me love E.B. White even more. I was inspired by his words and loved reading about his life.
For readers 7 and up