Do you have a favorite book series in your classroom or homeschool? Our absolute favorite book series for biographies is the Who Was….. Series. There are so many different groups of people you can study with them: inventors, authors, sports figures, artists, musicians, etc. And presidents!
If you haven’t read one of these books, they are comprehensive biographies full of lots of historical sidebars that children ages 5-12 will enjoy and learn from. Honestly, I learn a ton from them, too!
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Since Presidents’ Day is coming, I decided to make a list of all of the books in the series that covered US Presidents. (See below.) It was a little disappointing to find only 12 of our 46 presidents have a book in the series, so far. Hopefully, more will be coming! Although, it was exciting to find that five first ladies also have a biography in the series!
Note Taking While You Read
I went ahead and made printable bookmarks that can be used to take notes while reading the books. There are also full size printable notebooking pages in case you want more room to take notes.
You can download both of these at the bottom of the page. They are great for teaching children note taking skills. There are basic questions such as birth and death dates, years of presidency, etc. But, there are also more open ended sections, such as ‘Childhood’ and ‘Presidential Happenings’ that require everyone to determine the most important information from the book to write down.
Some children can easily pick out the big events, but some children will want to include every detail so coaching them through identifying big events vs. small details will be necessary. You may want to complete the bookmark as a group or you may want to have older children complete their own bookmarks. Your children could even use the notes on the bookmark to write a summary of the person’s life at the end of the book. Another fun way we like to follow-up on what we have learned is using our US President Sorting Mats, which you can check out here.
The List of Who Was….? President and First Lady Books
And now for the list of books in chronological order:
Our first president and one of our founding fathers.
So there is no Who Was John Adams, but Abigail got her own book. She was our second First Lady and a woman ahead of her time.
Who Was Thomas Jefferson?:
Our third president and the main writer of the Declaration of Independence.
Our seventh president and the first “common man” to become president.
Who Was Abraham Lincoln?:
Our 16th president and the writer of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Commanding General of the US Army during the Civil War and our 18th president.
Our 26th president who worked to protect wildlife and public lands and was known for his “Big Stick” foreign policy.
The 28th president who led the country through World War I.
Our 32nd president and first lady. They held those roles longer than any other couple, leading the country out of the Great Depression and through World War II.
Our 35th president and first lady whose roles were tragically cut short.
There is a lot to learn about the 37th president’s life in addition to the ‘eventful’ end to his presidency.
Our 39th president who a Nobel Prize winner.
Our 40th president who helped end the Cold War.
There is not a Who Is Bill Clinton?, but Ms. Clinton has her own book. Written in 2015, it includes her time in the Senate and as Secretary of State.
Our 44th president and first lady have books. His was written in 2009 and does not cover much of his presidency, however, Ms. Obama’s was written in 2013 so it does cover their first term in office.
Want to Listen Instead?
Audible has the Who Was…books! Start a FREE trial, listen to a couple and see if you like them!
More Resources for US Presidents