Biographies for Fourth Graders

One of my first outreach visits this year was to a fourth grade class in the school right up the hill from where I work. The teacher requested I talk about biographies, so that the class would be ready to do their book report. I was already familiar with this assignment, as every winter we are deluged with 3/4 grade students who need to read a biography. They usually end up with a dry bio of Abraham Lincoln, or a 10 year old biography of Britney Spears (I exaggerate, I TOTALLY weeded that one out). So I found some fun bios to share with them. Here are a few highlights:

I opened reading a passage from Bad News for Outlaws Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U. S. Marshal (Exceptional Social Studies Titles for Intermediate Grades) Which depicts the gun fight between Bass Reeves and a fugitive, and leaves the audience wanting more. We talked about how many people have lived that we’ve never heard of, and how we can read biographies to find out about new people or new things about people we already know.

Ain't Nothing but a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry Biography of a legend.

Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean A Graphic Novel Biography.

Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country) Another perspective on an old standard.

And the best of the best, this is the book that I had to rip out of the hands of a crowd of excited boys: Knucklehead, more of a humorous memoir, but very well received. Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up Scieszka

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