New Biographies

Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg

Reading Level: Grades K-3

Retirement isn’t for everyone – especially not sixty-two year old Annie Edson Taylor. Schoolteaching in the late 1800s was not a high paying job, and after retirement, Annie needed a way to earn some money so she could live out the rest of her days in comfort and happiness. She knew that stuntmen and daredevils often made good money from their bravado, and so she decided to become the first person ever to go over Niagara Falls… in a barrel. Chris Van Allsburg’s typical old-timey illustrations are a perfect pairing with this biography.

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Fatty Legs: A True Story by Cristy Jordan-Fenton

Reading Level: Grades 3-6

Be careful what you wish for.

After her older half-sister reads her part of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland but refuses to tell why Alice followed the rabbit down the hole, nine-year-old Olemaun nags her parents to send her to the school of the white outsiders. Even though her father warns her that they will cut her hair, give her a new name and not allow her to speak their language , Olemaun so desperately wants to read that she persists until she gets her way.

Once in the clutches of the dark-cloaked nuns, Olemaun realizes what a horrible mistake she has made. Somehow she must hold onto who she is until she can finally return to her people.

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More narratives of Indian boarding schools include:

Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell and

Indian School: Teaching the White Man's Way by Michael Cooper

Amelia Lost: the Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming

Reading Level: Grades 3-5

Amelia Earhart was one of the most formidable female pilots of her time, spurring her decision to be the first woman to fly around the world - alone. But a few hours into her flight, Amelia's plane lost radio contact with the ground and became lost. She was never found. Fleming's new biography of Earhart is great for younger readers interested in both the story and the time period.

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Other fascinating biographies:

The Great and Only Barnum by Candace Fleming

Sir Charlie: Chaplin, the Funniest Man in the World

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M. Hoose