[This post is in response to a request following my last one.]
Offering, even encouraging, our children to read biographies brings them in contact with real life examples of men and women who conquered great odds or simply the lazy, worldly attitude of “getting by” and became heroes within their own spheres. Well-chosen biographies introduce your child to the possibility that they too can change the world.
When your child reads about these “heroes” help them understand:
- The Providential placement of that individual in history.
- What was responsible for their character development and training?
- What character attributes did they possess that distinguished them?
Here is a very short list to start with (this was geared to boys, but there are many excellent accounts of women, such as Abigale Adams, that can be found).
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
This is the story of Nathaniel Bowditch, sailor and mathematician, whose love of learning, led to a quest for mastery.
In remembering Dr. Bowditch at his passing, his associates in the Salem Marine Society said of him: “In his death a public, a national, a human benefactor has departed. Not this community, nor our country only, but the whole world, has reason to do honor to his memory. When the voice of Eulogy shall be still, when the tear of Sorrow shall cease to flow, no monument will be needed to keep alive his memory among men; but as long as ships shall sail, the needle point to the north, and the stars go through their wonted courses in the heavens, the name of Dr. Bowditch will be revered as of one who helped his fellow-men in a time of need, who was and is a guide to them over the pathless ocean, and of one who forwarded the great interests of mankind.”
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder Yes, boys love this story—especially the chapter that tells the story of the sleigh ride on Sunday.
Benjamin West and His Cat, Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry This link also offers other biographies for young children
Sebastian Bach, The Boy from Thuringia by Opal Wheeler. This is a wonderful story about perseverance and diligence.This link also leads to other stories of composers.
Matthew Maury (I don’t have a preferred author for this one)
William Tyndale by David Daniel
Education of James Madison
Sir Walter Scott, Wizard of the North by Pearl Henriksen Shultz This is a biography is the perfect prelude to reading Ivanhoe
The Spirit of St. Louis by Charles A. Lindberg
Other fabulous sources are family histories and books about Pioneers such as Follow Me to Zion. A book like this could be shared one story at a time while the children gather around and a parent or older sibling retells it at their level.