Middle School Biography Books That Will Inspire Tweens
Tweens can learn a lot by reading middle school biography books. When you think about the best books for middle grade students, this genre should definitely be on every homeschooler’s reading list.
Biographies give kids the chance to learn about the lives of extraordinary people. Their stories are interesting and informative and without a doubt will inspire and challenge your tweens and teens.
That is to say, this book style lets readers see life from another person’s perspective. It helps them appreciate different cultures, beliefs, and values.
Reading middle grade biographies will certainly broaden your child’s horizons!
If your kids are hesitant to read biographies, it’s important to realize that the people in these books have important stories to tell. Particularly, about their daily life, something amazing they’ve accomplished, or challenges they’ve overcome.
What is a biography?
In short, a biography is a type of book that tells the true story of an individual’s life that’s written by someone else.
It’s slightly different from an autobiography or a memoir. An autobiography is a person’s story written by themselves and a memoir is a collection of stories (or memories) told in their own words.
One of the best things about the biography genre is that it gives readers a glimpse into the lives of prominent contemporary and historical people.
It typically focuses on someone’s achievements and experiences, and in addition, often includes personal things like family relationships, health issues, and character traits.
Why Should Middle Schoolers Read Biographies?
Biographies are an important part of any reading plan, but especially so for tweens. Middle school is the stage when kids are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit into the world. That is to say, they need role models.
This genre gives tweens the chance to study the achievements of well-known people, their various attributes, and the obstacles they overcame to reach their goals.
Biography books are motivating and can be a source of inspiration for middle schoolers who are in the process of finding themselves. As they read these impactful stories, they’ll discover each person has something special within them and that it’s possible to use those qualities to affect the world around them.
What are the Benefits of Reading Biographies?
There are many benefits to kids reading biography books, including:
- opening up different worlds to kids by sharing the lives of influential men and women
- conveying the context within which history happened
- encouraging young readers to think critically about current events and inspiring them to become more engaged citizens
- teaching tweens empathy
- increasing vocabulary and comprehension skills
Choosing a Biography
One thing I love about biographies is that there are so many to choose from. On the other hand, this can also make it difficult to pick titles for your kids to read.
It might help to sit down with your tween and make a list of individuals they would like to learn more about. In this case, having a list of specific people they want to get to know better will help you narrow down your search.
Biography Report Form
To help direct their learning, encourage your tween to use this biography report template.
It’s a wonderful tool that will help them dive deeper into the life of an extraordinary person and learn how to organize research material.
Middle School Biography Books
A biography is the perfect type of book for inquisitive kids. The stories are motivating, engaging, and entertaining and may even help middle schoolers discover their own unique strengths.
Also, they’re some of the best nonfiction books for homeschoolers and should be essential reading in subject areas like language arts, science, and history.
Here are some of our favorite stories that are perfect for kids in 6th grade, 7th grade, and 8th grade. Some of them even highlight young people. Those who are stepping up to make a difference, taking action right now to improve the lives of themselves and those around them.
All of these stories are important, inspirational, and fascinating and should be read by all middle grade students.
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. There are thousands of stories to choose from, so there’s no way to include them all here.
Any links in this post may be affiliate links. See my disclosure statement.
Biographies for Middle Schoolers
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.
Encourage your tween to apply the lessons they learn in their own life.
Learn about this impressive Swedish teen that's challenging the world to think differently about climate change and our role in saving the environment.
Introduce your tweens to 15 Asian American women who are pioneers in science.
Sure, we all know he was a traitor, but do you know the full story of Benedict Arnold?
Kids will love these short stories of 17 famous Asian Pacific American women who changed the game and excelled in their sport.
Introduce your tweens to one of the most important samurai in the history of Japan.
Journalist Nellie Bly had herself institutionalized in order to expose the poor treatment of the patients housed inside the well-known asylum on Blackwell's Island. Readers will learn about her life and writing career.
Read about the lives of 15 extraordinary people who came to America and used their gifts, talents, and intellect to shape their world and history.
If your family enjoys exploring nature, this book is a must-read.
Discover why even as a young boy John Muir was so passionate about the natural world and how his early childhood led him to fight for the preservation of acres of beautiful wilderness and create the Sierra Club.
This book will introduce teens to the life John Horse, a Black Seminole leader, diplomat, and heroic warrior.
He spent his life fighting for the freedom and survival of his people against the government, rival tribes, and slave hunters.
Learn about the life story of this famous painter whose artwork is instantly recognizable thanks to the artist herself.
This book will introduce tweens to 15 influential people throughout American history.
Learn about how Jackie Robinson changed the game of baseball.
This book will introduce you to 100 stories of young women who are working hard to create a better future and world.
Learn about the obstacles Serena Williams overcame from a young age to become the world's best tennis player.
Annie Oakley was a trailblazer who pushed aside all the cultural norms of her day. As a famous sharpshooter, she traveled all over the world with the renowned Buffalo Bill show during the wild west time period.
Allan Pinkerton was America's first private eye who worked with his undercover team to catch all kinds of outlaws. President Lincoln funded his network, which ushered in the Secret Service.
If your tweens love animals, they need to know the story of Dian Fossey. She spent years studying, protecting, and fighting for the mountain gorillas in Africa.
No biography reading list would be complete without the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his role fighting for social justice and the civil rights movement.
This book will show tweens how much Da Vinci's projects, artwork, and inventions changed the world.
In this book, older kids will read about 15 influential Native Americans and their important accomplishments.
If your family is a fan of the musical Hamilton, you'll want to read this story about Lin-Manuel Miranda and how he has influenced the arts.
Before and after taking her seat on the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for gender equality and women's rights. She was the first woman of Jewish faith to sit on the court.
Sports-loving tweens will enjoy reading about the trials and achievements of these 11 famous athletes.
Older kids will enjoy reading about the life and work of Isaac Newton, one of the most important scientists throughout history. His theories led to big changes in various fields.
Katherine Johnson was a NASA mathematician who was instrumental in putting a man on the moon. A true trailblazer, she overcame many obstacles before being a part of the Apollo space program.
As I have shown, there are a ton of different types of middle school biographies out there, however, it’s easy to choose an excellent one to read. If your tween is struggling with one, pick a different style. They vary widely and you want to find something that grabs and keeps your child’s attention.
Don’t forget to grab your biography book report form!
More Books for Middle Schoolers
Looking for more book lists for your tweens and teens? Check these out.
If your kids struggle with reading, consider switching over to audiobooks. They’re a lifesaver for some families, including those who love read aloud time.
Kids can listen on their devices, like a Kindle Fire. Of course, you can also play books in the car as you travel.
Which one of these middle school biography books is your tween most excited to read?