Friday, April 27, 2018

Non-American History Biographies

Hands-down, my kids' favorite way to learn history right now is from biographies.  Childhood of Famous Americans and the Landmark series are two super well-worn series in our home.  Have you noticed though that finding engaging children's biographies for individuals outside of American history is a lot harder? 

Maybe it's because we live in America...I don't know.  Maybe there are tons of great children's biographies about British kings and queens in England, and we just never see them on this side of the pond...if you are from Britain, you should write me and let me know. 

I do know though that whenever I find a children's biography from broader world history I take note.

Since it's possible others are in the same boat, I thought I would just mention a couple of series that our family has run across in this category that are good finds.

The Who in the World Biographies

These nine books are put out by The Well-Trained Mind and complement The Story of the World books.  While they are not explicitly religious in their perspective, most Christian families don't find much that is objectionable.  They are a good length and deal with individuals with some interesting angles to their lives from a child's perspective. 

Perhaps the size and shape of the books is not as inviting as it could be- but still a good choice for helping to bring history alive.


Biographies from Bethlehem Books

Because Bethlehem Books specializes in reprinting previously out-of-print material, the writing style tends to feel a little dated.  In my book, that's often a plus, but children who are not practiced in reading old books may find them a little slow going.  Some of our favorite biographies from this publisher are

Archimedes and the Door of Science
Galen and the Gateway to Medicine 
Augustine Came to Kent

Many books from Bethlehem books are written from a Catholic perspective.  In the three books listed above, only in Augustine Came to Kent is that really noticeable, and as a Protestant I still found it more valuable than problematic.