Category Archives: Biography

The Miracle and Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets by Sarah Miller

It was quite a miracle that five little girls born all at once in 1934 survived. The tragedy came when the country of Canada took custody of the girls, separated them from their family, and exhibited them like a sideshow. The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets is a very well-written overview of their lives using primary sources. It attempts to give both sides of the story, but is mostly sympathetic to the quintuplets themselves. It reads fast with lots of short chapters. I found it quite fascinating. I recommend it to anyone curious about the Dionne quintuplets’ lives.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 22
Pages Read in 2020: 5579
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Vine Review

100 Scientists Who Shaped World History by John Hudson Tiner

Each page (in pretty small print in two columns) gives an overview of one of the 100 Scientists Who Shaped World History. It starts with Pythagoras and ends with Hawking. The focus of each mini bio is on what one or two things they discovered or invented that changed the world and is not meant to even remotely cover their whole life. This book can easily be read cover to cover or by picking and choosing a scientist to read about here and there. It’s a great introduction for kids to lots of scientists from many branches of science.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 88
Pages Read in 2019: 22,724
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian

Who Was Fidel Castro? by Sarah Fabiny

Aimed at kids, Who Was Fidel Castro? gives a good overview of the life of the Cuban dictator. It’s pretty neutral as far as whether he was a good or bad person (as the book says, it depends on who you ask). There are lots of illustrations and several asides to explain things like guerrilla warfare and communism. I highly recommend this book to kids learning about Castro or Cuba.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 86
Pages Read in 2019: 22,310
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian

Who Was Gandhi by Dana Meachen Rau

Who Was Gandhi? is a nice overview of his life aimed at children. It explains things in simple terms and includes plenty of illustrations. I highly recommend it for kids learning about Gandhi and Indian independence.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 83
Pages Read in 2019: 22,009
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian

Mother Teresa by Wyatt North

Mother Teresa was an amazing woman. This book gives an excellent overview of her life and the things she accomplished. It is biased toward her ever doing little to nothing wrong and pretty much being a saint (though it was written before she was actually canonized). It is a quick read. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about the good Mother Teresa did in the world.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 35
Pages Read in 2019: 9457
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Gandhi the Man by Eknath Easwaran

Gandhi the Man is an excellent overview of Gandhi’s life and his push for nonviolent resistance. There are lots of pictures and quotes throughout. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a little bit about Gandhi.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 34
Pages Read in 2019: 9316
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Ann Petry

Harriet Tubman was a remarkable woman. Tiny, strong, and extraordinarily brave. She could’ve stayed in Pennsylvania, never returning to Maryland after her escape, but instead she regularly risked her life in order to help other slaves reach freedom. Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad is an excellent and very interesting biography. It’s filled with stories of her experiences while conducting her passengers on the Underground Railroad as well as talking about her life growing up in slavery and what she did after slavery was abolished. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in or learning about the life of Harriet Tubman!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 31
Pages Read in 2019: 8534
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

David Livingstone: Africa’s Trailblazer by Janet and Geoff Benge

David Livingstone: Africa’s Trailblazer tells of how an ambitious Scottish boy ended up a doctor and great African explorer. It’s written on a middle grade level and covers the basics of Livingstone’s life very well. It focuses heavily on his missionary work and glosses over his exploration leaving a fairly unbalanced picture, however. I do recommend it, though, for kids studying Livingstone or Africa.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 23
Pages Read in 2019: 6692
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, Middle Grades, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

The Great Little Madison by Jean Fritz

James Madison was the fourth president of the United States and one of the founding fathers. The Great Little Madison is the story of his life from his frail beginning through The Federalist Papers and the presidency and retirement. The book is well written with lots of information while also keeping the reader captivated. As it is aimed at kids, I am sure there is much that is skipped or glossed over, but for an introduction to Madison, it is excellent and I highly recommend it.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 98
Pages Read in 2018: 22,656
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Mozart: A Life by Paul Johnson

First, the good. Mozart: A Life is pretty short, but packed with analysis of Mozart’s music and some information about his life. The author clearly absolutely loves Mozart and his works. His passion comes through in the writing. You can’t help but really like Mozart, too, while reading it. But, then there’s the not so good. Even though the title indicates the book is a biography of Mozart, it is really more about his works. The author’s intense love of Mozart makes it so you would think he was practically a saint. Anything negative was glossed over. The writing was rather dull most of the time. I would not recommend this book if you want to know about Mozart the person, but it is good if you want to read about his works.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 92
Pages Read in 2018: 21,414
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron