Diverse Biographies for Kids

The specifics of people’s lives can give children insight into the fears and hopes of other people with quite different experiences. A way into empathy is through hearing stories and really listening to what the stories based on people’s real lives mean. Enjoy a handful of biographies in picture book form for opening up the diversity and richness of other lives and dreams.

Dreamers, written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, a memoir picture book for ages 5-9.

A moving and deeply poetic memoir of Yuyi Morales as a young Mexican immigrant to the US with her infant son. Struggling to make sense of their new world, she discovers the children’s section of the public library and learns a new language, new dreams, and hope.

28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World, written by Charles R. Smith, Jr., and illustrated by Shane Evans. The entries of this history/ group biography audiobook are spoken by various narrators. 

From the Revolutionary War to the present, the achievements of African-Americans in a wide range of arts, politics, sports, etc., are described in prose and poetry. The chapters are divided into the 28 days of Black History Month.

Pride: the Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Steven Salerno, a picture book biography for ages 6-9.

A clear and age-appropriate recounting of the life of gay activist Harvey Milk and the collaboration that created the Rainbow Flag in 1978 that is a symbol of gay pride throughout the world today.

Firebird, written by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christopher Myers, a picture book memoir for ages 5-8.

An inspiring story of achievement through hard work and the development of confidence in yourself despite obstacles and your own doubts.