Biographies of Fascinating People

FIRST GIRL SCOUT: The Life of Juliette Gordon Low 
Published by Clarion Books, illustrated with archival photographs

Discover Daisy!
Learn about the fascinating life and times of the woman who started Girl Scouts in the USA.  This biography was named to the ALA's 2013 Amelia Bloomer Project List as one of 2012's most inspiring books about a woman who made a difference in our society. (Ages 9 and up)
  • A 2012 Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People -NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR SOCIAL STUDIES/CHILDREN'S BOOK COUNCIL
  • "...a good-looking volume, illustrated with historical photographs, set on pages that resemble pale green embroidered linen and sparkling with the force of Low's enthusiasm."  -WALL STREET JOURNAL
  • "The attractive book design features chapter headings that look like Girl Scout badges, and most spreads include period photos or reproductions of primary-source documents. Exemplary nonfiction." -SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
  • "...engaging biography.... Meticulously researched and well illustrated with photographs and documents taken from the GSUSA archives, the book explores the early history of scouting, but the main focus is Low's life." -BOOKLIST
  • "Unvarnished prose, plentiful images and vivid anecdotes set in historical perspective make this chronological account lively and accessible for middle-grade readers." -KIRKUS REVIEWS
  • "Wadsworth captures Low’s stubborn but charismatic spirit by blending facts and humorous sketches in this winning biography of a woman whose visions and ideas have helped shape the lives of girls around the world." -HORN BOOK MAGAZINE

BENJAMIN BANNEKER: Pioneering Scientist
Published by Carolrhoda Books, with illustrations by Craig Orback

Gazing up at the stars, Benjamin Banneker longed to understand how and why things worked as they did.  In a time when most black Americans were slaves, Banneker lived a life of freedom and became known as America's first black man of science. (Ages 7 and up) 
  • “ . . . a noteworthy contribution to literature that can stimulate interest in practical science and science careers for children of all colors."  SCIENCE BOOKS AND FILMS
Published by Carolrhoda Books, with illustrations by Mark Schroder

Migrant farm workers led difficult lives. They worked long hours, lived in small, dirty shacks, and were barely paid enough to survive. Cesar Chavez was one of these workers.  In the 1960s and '70s, he helped form a farm workers union and led strikes and marches that forced the landowners to increase wages and improve working conditions.  Chavez inspired those around him and proved that it was not necessary to resort to violence to produce change. (Ages 7 and up)

Available in Spanish language edition.
Published by Lerner Publications / Barnes & Noble Books

Annie Oakley was a farmer's daughter from Ohio who became a famous sharpshooter and performer.  She toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and performed in Great Britain for Queen Victoria. (Ages 8 and up)

Published by Lerner Publications / Barnes & Noble Books

It all began on December 17, 1903.  Orville and Wilbur Wright, brothers and best friends, were at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  They were ready to test the Flyer.  With Orville at the controls, the Flyer lifted off shakily, under its own motor power, and flew for twelve seconds.  Wilbur took his turn next, soaring above the sand dunes.
The Wright Brothers had built and flown the world's first airplane.  They changed the way we travel around the world. (Ages 8 and up)
Published by Carolrhoda Books, with illustrations by Shelly O. Haas

As a girl, Laura Ingalls Wilder was always telling stories, just like her Pa.  And she kept telling stories.  Many years later, she decided to write down some of her childhood memories.  This easy-to-read "On My Own" biography captures the story of the brave pioneer girl who grew up to write many books that are still popular today. (Ages 7 and up)

LAURA INGALLS WILDER, Storyteller of the Prairie
Published by Lerner Publications, illustrated with archival photographs

Laura Ingalls was a pioneer girl—traveling in a covered wagon with her family all over the Midwest. The Ingalls family faced drought, grasshopper plagues, and blizzards, but they also had many happy times of celebration. When Laura was in her sixties, she started writing about her pioneer childhood. These stories became the classic series known as the "Little House" books. (Ages 9 and up)
Published by Lerner Publications, illustrated with photographs

Called "The Last Great Race on Earth," the Iditarod Sled Dog Race has won acclaim across the globe. Officially, it is in commemoration of the diphtheria serum run of 1925. From the gold rush, to the serum run, to the race's competitors, it honors the colorful heritage of the trail and memorializes the heroes and legends made there.
The over 1,100 miles of Iditarod Race trail passes through the roughest, most stunning terrain nature has to offer.  Susan Butcher won this race four times. (Ages 9 and up)​​
  • " . . . provides dramatic descriptions of the races, interspersed with information on how the woman raises and trains her dogs." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
JOHN BURROUGHS, The Sage of Slabsides
Published by Clarion Books, illustrated with archival photographs

In the late 1800s and early 1900s naturalist John Burroughs often walked in the New York woods, then returned home to write essays about what he observed.  His involvement in the early stages of the modern conservation movement led to unique friendships with Walt Whitman, John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. The Burroughs Medal, the most prestigious award for natural history writing, is given annually in John Burroughs's name. (Ages 9 and up)
  • Selected as a 1998 Book for the Teenager by the New York Public Library
  • "A thoughtful, well-illustrated life of the naturalist who wrote his best-known essays at Slabsides, his rustic cabin in New York State" THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
JOHN MUIR, Wilderness Protector
Published by Lerner Publications, illustrated with archival photographs

Anyone who has ever visited one of the national parks in the United States knows of the beauty and grandeur of the American wilderness. Because of the influence of John Muir, these places still exist.
A self-taught botanist and geologist, Muir explored much of North America on foot, and in the late 19th century began writing about what he saw. His writings were instrumental in the creation of our national park system as well as the Sierra Club. (Ages 10 and up)
  • Selected for 1992 John Burroughs List of Best Nature Books for Young Readers
  • "Worthy of Special Note" from 1993 Jefferson Cup Awards by Virginia Library Association: " . . . [an] excellent and accessible biography."
  • "With photographs of his life and his beloved Yosemite, this biography, through expressive language, captures Muir’s life, journeys, and values." THE HORN BOOK GUIDE (Recommended Rating)
RACHEL CARSON, Voice for the Earth
Published by Lerner Publications, illustrated with archival photographs

Rachel Carson was a soft-spoken marine biologist whose first books about the sea inspired public appreciation of ocean life. When her fourth book, Silent Spring, was published in 1962, the response was anything but silent. The book aroused public anger of the reckless use of pesticides and heightened worldwide awareness of the need to protect our fragile environment. Silent Spring is still a classic and one of the most influential books written in the 20th century. (Ages 10 and up)
  • A SSLI Best Book in Science
  • "Worthy of Special Note" from 1993 Jefferson Cup Awards by Virginia Library Association: " . . . notable for both its illustrations and superb text."
  • "Wadsworth does an admirable job illuminating her subject’s life . . . Written in a lively style." THE HORN BOOK GUIDE (Superior Rating) 
  • “ . . . successfully conveys the story of Carson's life and her powerful ecological message."  SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
JULIA MORGAN, Architect of Dreams
Published by Lerner Publications, illustrated with archival and contemporary photographs

In December 2013, Julia Morgan was awarded the American Institute of Architect's (AIA) Gold Medal. The AIA has been bestowing this international award to one person annually since 1907 and Morgan is the first woman to be so honored.

From the turn of the century until her retirement in 1951, San Francisco Bay Area architect Julia Morgan designed more than 700 buildings. Her work ranged from Hearst Castle in San Simeon in California to private homes and public buildings. Yet she was an elusive, secretive person who shunned publicity. Today she is acknowledged as the most extraordinary woman in the history of American architecture. (Ages 10 and up)
  • A SSLI Best Book
  • A NCSS/CBC Notable Trade Book
  • An ACL Distinguished Book
  • "Written in extremely readable and entertaining style, this biography reveals the story of a very private, extremely caring, and unusually talented woman. APPRAISAL
  • "Wadsworth’s portrait of Morgan is respectful and enthusiastic. This handsome book . . . will appeal to younger readers interested in architecture . . . and in pioneering women of great accomplishment." NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW