Biographies and Informational/Nonfiction Books

Biographies, autobiographies and memoirs tell the true stories of individual lives. Biographies that focus only on a portion of the subject’s life are partial biographies. Collective biographies are books that contain the biographies of several individuals, who usually have something in common.

The informational/nonfiction genre accounts for most of the books published and in bookstores and libraries. Not to be confused with biographies, which tell stories of individual lives, informational/ nonfiction books are about places, processes, or things. The subject matter of informational books is almost endless. Children read informational/nonfiction books for reasons ranging from homework to hobbies. Informational/nonfiction books allow children to satisfy their curiosity, to pursue their interests, and to research school assignments.

Background Reading

Evaluation Criteria for Biographies and Informational Books.docxPreview the document

A Checklist for Evaluating Informational Books.pdfPreview the document

Read two children’s books: one biography and one informational book related to the career, accomplishments, or historical period of the subject of the biography. On the worksheet provided below, evaluate/review each book and describe one lesson idea or classroom activity related to both books. Make sure that the books you choose are for children and are the correct genres. If in doubt, ask a librarian or the instructor.

Here are some possible pairings: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Great Depression; Romare Bearden and making collages; Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement; Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War; Misty Copeland and ballet; Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance; Muhammad Ali and the Vietnam War; Hitler and the Holocaust; Harriet Tubman and slavery; Benjamin Franklin and the Declaration of Indepencence; George Washington and the Revolutionary War; Louis Armstrong and jazz; and Thomas Edison and electricity; the Wright Brothers and aviation; Mae Jemison and the space program