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Matthew Rodriguez
Matthew Rodriguez

Biographies For Middle School Students [Extra Quality]

These middle school biography books are all stories of people who have done important things and made a difference. They're a great way to learn about what their lives were like and how they broke through barriers and persevered.

biographies for middle school students

Biographies can provide powerful reading material for teens. For reluctant readers, biographies are a great way to immerse themselves in a true story. Reading inspiring books allows young adults to learn valuable life lessons that go beyond their own experiences. Learning about the successes and failures of others is important for what lies in the future for teenagers. Here is a list of 20 middle school biographies that teenagers would benefit from reading.

A perfect book for middle schoolers. No matter the size of your group, big or small, and whatever your goal is, Daniel Coyle takes you through the culture chemistry principles that can turn individuals into teams with the capabilities to create and accomplish great things.

In my previous list of children's books about the US Presidents, I focused on recommending nonfiction picture books and biographies suitable for elementary aged school children. On this list you will find president books for middle schoolers ages 10-14, or 6-8th grade.

I'm not a historian so I couldn't judge each title by its historical accuracy, but I did glance at the professional reviews to ensure the books were not egregiously incorrect. While looking for titles, I sought out president books for middle school that emphasized both the leadership qualities as well as the problematic aspects of each man. I don't think we should teach out children to lionize presidents as flawless leaders or "founding fathers."

Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge: George and Martha Washington's Courageous Slave Who Dared to Run Away (Young Readers Edition) by Erica Armstrong Dunbar and Kathleen Van Cleve. It may seem strange for me to include a biography of Washington's slave, rather than the man himself, on a list of books about presidents for middle grade students. However, your children will come across much material about Washington in their lifetime and this book is just as important than any book about George. Dunbar and Van Cleve have written an extremely readable biography detailing what Ona Judge's life would have been like, how the Washingtons viewed slavery, how they treated their slaves, and crucially, how they pursued Judge after she escaped. This book is an eye-opener for children whose views of Washington were formed around the cherry tree myth. Did you know Washington attempted to break his own fugitive law in order to capture Judge? Not exactly the picture of a fair and just leader. That said, even though the author's sympathies clearly lie with Judge, the book does not demonize the president.

Thomas Jefferson: President and Philosopher by Jon Meacham. This is a young readers edition of Meacham's Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. It tries to be a comprehensive look at Jefferson's life, which I always find a difficult choice because it is hard for a biography to be all things. But Meacham is intent on describing the contradictions of Jefferson's philosophies and actions, especially regarding slavery. Still, it is an excellent introduction for middle schoolers to the third president of the United States.

Andrew Jackson (The Making of America series #2) by Teri Kanefield. Jackson is everyone's least favorite president, and this biography won't make him a hero in anyone's eyes. The period when Jackson was in office was a very important one in terms of determining the path of the country and so middle school students should learn about the events of the time and how Jackson's decisions regarding such items as the Indian Removal Act and the Nullification Crisis changed history.

Dream Big Dreams: Photographs from Barack Obama's Inspiring and Historic Presidency (Young Readers edition) by Pete Souza. I love following Souza on Instagram so I was delighted to see that he published a young reader's edition of his book documenting Obama's presidency in photographs. This is less of a biography of the Obama presidency in the traditional sense, but nonetheless a great way to learn about his historic presidency. Souza includes photos from key moments during Obama's two terms which highlight the positive qualities we look for in a leader. The focus is more on his interactions with others, especially children, and overall the book aims to inspire kids to "dream big." Dream Big Dreams is more suited to lower middle schoolers (but enjoyed by people of all ages!), while the upper grades will enjoy Souza's Obama: An Intimate Portrait.

Nonetheless, southern states continued to resist integration, and in 1959, Ruby attended a segregated New Orleans kindergarten. A year later, however, a federal court ordered Louisiana to desegregate. The school district created entrance exams for African American students to see whether they could compete academically at the all-white school. Ruby and five other students passed the exam.

It is incredibly important to teach race, racism, and anti-racism within students at all ages. I am very fortunate to have such incredible secondary colleagues that teach ethnic studies to their high school and middle school students. Throughout my time working with them and other experiences, I have read so many books about race, racism, and anti-racism. I am hoping that you are able gather some resources from this Anti-Racist Books for Middle and High School Students post.

With the calling for anti-racism in education, Colorful Pages and I have gotten countless (and I am talking countless) requests for an Anti-Racist Book List! It has taken me a long time to get this list together because, when talking about race, racism, and anti-racism, it has to be done right. I am splitting up this Anti-Racist Book List into two posts: one for elementary students and one for middle school and high school students. Every book on this list is written by an author of color because I feel we, as Black Indigenous, People of Color, need to be the ones to tell these stories since we are the ones that have experienced the racism discussed within them. I have listed 18 books for middle school and high school students: 5 diverse books about race and identity; 8 books about racism, prejudice, and anti-racism in a modern context; and 5 books about racism, prejudice, and anti-racism in a historical context.

Stephanie Jimenez tackles racism, class, and privilege in this novel. They Could Have Named Her Anything: A Novel is about Maria, a seventeen-year-old from Queens who goes to a private high school on the Upper East Side. At the private high school, Maria struggles to fit in as one of the only Latina students. Soon, she becomes friends with Rocky, a white student who uses his privilege to get away with anything.

About Kumon Math & Reading Centers: Kumon is an after-school math and reading enrichment program that unlocks the potential of children, so they can achieve more on their own. As a comprehensive program, Kumon serves children in preschool through high school. The learning method uses an individualized approach that helps children develop a solid command of math and reading skills. Through daily practice and mastery of materials, students increase confidence, improve concentration, and develop better study skills. Founded in 1958, Kumon celebrates its 60th year serving children worldwide. Kumon has over four million students enrolled at nearly 25,000 learning centers in 50 countries and regions.

There are a number of excellent books for adult audiences that present more inclusive historical narratives and support antibias instruction, but the density of ideas, volume of reading, and text complexity undermine their utility in the middle and high school history classroom. Fortunately, many outstanding historians and academic writers have partnered with experienced authors for adolescents to adapt their work for young adult audiences.

1. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, by Jason Reynolds (author) and Ibram X. Kendi (author). The authors maintain that this is not a history book but instead is a book about the present that uses history to understand America, the construction of race, and the development of racist and antiracist ideas. Based on the award-winning book Stamped From the Beginning, this remix version is intended for middle and high school readers and traces the construction of race from the Age of Exploration to the modern era. It is an outstanding resource that connects the past and present. While it does not avoid challenging or difficult history, the book is ultimately optimistic and provides a powerful framework to help students make positive changes in the world. (In May 2021, the authors will release another adaptation for elementary school students.)

Integrating reference content, biographies, primary sources, multimedia, critical essays, news, academic journals, and more, High School is updated daily, offering nearly 1,000 issue, topic, and geographic pages. Content comes together to provide background and guidance on topics across the high school curriculum like Government and the Economy, Human Population, Sound and Sound Waves, American Literature, and more.

A part of the Gale In Context suite, this database for high school students offers an enhanced user experience with familiar navigation and a modern design to help users successfully orient across Gale products. This means less time learning how to use the product, and more time developing critical thinking skills. Tools like translation, text size adjustment, and text-to-speech help users with comprehension, while Lexiles and content levels help guide users to appropriate content.

Every summer I get a few emails or texts from parents and students asking for book recommendations. I typically know these readers well, so I can fire off 5-10 book recommendations that I think their middle school reader will love. In hindsight though, I should be providing a list of best books for my students before the start of every school break. 350c69d7ab


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