Who doesn’t like to eavesdrop on the lives of others? Who doesn’t like to travel to new places? Who doesn’t like to learn about the past? Biographies tap into a child’s inquisitiveness and showcase information that could easily be in an encyclopedia (but how enjoyable is it to read an encyclopedia? Who is satisfied with living one life? Books free us from the limitations of having just one life with one point of view; books allow us to see beyond the horizon of our own circumstance.
Keeping in the mood of summer being a reading vacation, here are 2 biographies that defy the doldrums of school required summer reading assignments.
On the Beam of Light (Jennifer Berne, ages 6-9), goes beyond the usual chronicling that recall Einstein’s development as a scientist and his influence on the world as we understand it. This book allows up to glimpse a genuine person who was late to talk, loved ice cream and who was fascinated by light beams, books, numbers and sugar dissolving in tea.
Becoming Ben Franklin (Russell Freedman, ages 10 and up) is another example of a biography that allows us to know Ben Franklin through his own words. This is a hard to put down look at a life that forever changed our nation and “helped give birth to a new kind of nation.”