Reading biographies is a great way for children to learn. Not only will they learn about many important events in history, but children will also gain new perspectives and expand their view of the world. When kids read biographies, they learn to see ‘famous’ people as ‘ordinary’ and realize that they can achieve great things, too! Biographies allow children to see how people overcome obstacles and persevere in accomplishing a goal.
When we first started homeschooling, I stumbled on the Who Was…? series and fell in love! In the beginning, we used them as read alouds and I learned so much about the historical figures alongside my children. Over the years, they have expanded their collection to over 200 biographies and we often use them in our homeschool. They include several authors, some of the presidents, inventors, and many biographies that can be used during Women’s History Month or Black History Month.
But, since then many other biography series have come out as well. Below is a list of kids’ biography series currently on the market including features of each series and what ages they are appropriate for. Click the title of each series to find a list of all of the books in the series!
And then make sure to grab the free printable at the end of the post, including five styles of notebooking pages, timelines, and a Venn diagram that you can use with any of the books.
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Picture Book Biographies
There are 99 books in this series started in 2017. These are picture books and contain about 32 pages each. Little People, BIG DREAMS make good read alouds for 4-8 year-olds.
This series of picture books has published 28 books since 2014. They are geared toward 4-7 year olds and each has about 20 pages. I love that they contain real photos and a timeline at the end of the book. There are also 3 shorter ‘Little Books’ in the series.
This series of picture books came on the scene in 2020 and now contains 22 different books. Each one is about 30 some pages and they are great for preschool and the early elementary years.
2021 brought us the picture book series Inspired Inner Genius. These 16 books are also great for the preschool and early elementary school years and are 30 some pages long.
Leveled Reader Biographies
The National Geographic series of leveled readers has some biographies in their Level 1, 2 and 3 books. These are great if you want to find a biography that your younger children can read themselves or use to practice their reading while sitting with you. There are at least three Level 1 biographies (ages 4-6, 32 pages), ten Level 2 biographies (ages 6-9, 32 pages), and nine Level 3 biographies (6-9, 48 pages).
The Ready to Read series has several Level 3 books about famous people in US history. The Level 3 books are chapter books at the second or third grade level and are for ‘confident readers’. The length of these books varies from 30-50 pages. Some have more pictures than others.
The number of graphic novels and graphic non-fiction books published in the past few years has exploded. It’s Her Story is a new series about famous women and has been created for the lower elementary school grades. There are currently 6 books of 48 pages each.
The Graphic Biographies series is another new series available. Right now it contains 13 books of 32 pages each. They were created for the upper elementary and middle school years.
The Who Was…? series just started adding graphic novels to their series this year. Right now, there are six books of 64 pages each. They are also geared toward the upper elementary and middle school grades.
There are 19 books in this series of graphic non-fiction books. Each one is about 96 pages and are geared toward 8-12 year olds. They include a timeline, a glossary and additional facts and resources at the back of the book.
Biography Chapter Books
This series of chapter books from Scholastic is great for 6-7 year olds. They contain big print and lots of pictures. The books also have a table of contents, glossary and index, which are important features of books for children to learn about. Each book is about 32 pages.
This older series of books actually consists of four series: World’s Greatest Artists, World’s Greatest Composers, World’s Greatest Inventors & Scientists, and US Presidents. They combine photos, cartoons, facts and stories from each person’s life to create a fun way for 3rd and 4th graders to learn about famous people. Each book is 30-40 pages long.
This series of chapter books is targeted to ‘young readers’ and are a great biography for independent readers who are not quite ready for the Who Was…? series. They are labelled as being for 6-9 years, but they would likely need to be a read aloud for the younger end of that range. Started in 2020, this series already has 35 books and each is about 65 pages. A nice feature of this series is the glossary at the end of the book.
As you can guess from the title, these books are about women who have fought through obstacles to make a difference in the world. The series started in 2017 as volumes of short biographies, each one containing 13 different women. Since then, they have added 17 books of about 75 pages each about individual women. They make good read alouds for the younger elementary years and independent readers for the upper elementary grades. A special feature at the end gives you a list of ways ‘you can persist’ to carry over what you learned about the individual.
This is the most comprehensive series of biographies for children on the market with 204 books currently! Each book is about 100 pages long and was created with 3rd-7th graders in mind. A timeline of the person’s life as well as a timeline of world events at the time the person lived are included in the back of the book.
DK published 15 biographies in 2019 and 2020. (I really hope they publish more!) These are longer chapter books around 128 pages each making them great for the upper elementary years and even into middle school. They have some great features in the back of the book such as timelines, family trees, glossaries, and quizzes!
This series of 34 chapter books are longer than the previous ones listed making them great for upper elementary and middle schoolers. Each one ranges from 160-230 pages and is written in an engaging narrative format.
Volumes of Short Biographies
This is a popular series with the homeschool crowd because it is a hands on activity! Each volume is focused on a particular time period or event and contains short biographies of 10-21 people of that time. It also contains cut-outs for each person so kids can make their own puppet of the person with movable parts. The books range from 50-100 pages and are great for the elementary years. However, I know a few middle schoolers that would still have fun with them!
There are three volumes in this series: Bold Women in Black History, Visionary Women Around the World, and Exceptional Men in Black History. Each volume contains an illustration and a one page story about each person. There are between 18 and 35 people featured in each volume. These books are great resources for the preschool through elementary years.
There are five volumes in this series and each one contains one page stories of 100 different women. A beautiful illustration of each woman is included. These books were created to inspire preteen girls with amazing women from around the world.
Do you know of any good biography series we did not include? Send us a message so we can add it!
Biography Notebooking Pages
Grab the FREE Notebooking pages that you can use with any of the biographies above. Includes five different styles of notebooking pages, timelines by year or by historical figure’s age, timeline bookmarks, and a Venn diagram to compare two different historical figures.