Posted on September 12, 2016
Our Favourite Biographies for Reading Aloud
Since we started our 2016 – 2017 homeschooling year, we have been reading another of John Hudson Tiner’s Sowers series biographies of famous Christian scientists. Although I try to choose a variety of different genres of books for us to read aloud together, biographies are a good way to enjoy reading together, while also learning about famous or inspiring figures. Here is a list of some of our family’s favourite biographies for reading aloud.
10 of Our Favourite Biographies for Reading Aloud
- Robert Boyle, Trailblazer of Science, by John Hudson Tiner. This is our current read aloud book, and we are really enjoying it. As with the other biographies in the series, Tiner gives an interesting fictionalised account of Robert Boyle’s early life in Ireland, and goes on to tell of his adult life, his faith and the scientific discoveries he made. This is the third book in this series we have enjoyed. You can see more of my recommendations for living books for science in this post.
- God’s Smuggler, by Brother Andrew. This autobiography of the founder of Open Doors, the international charity which supports the persecuted Church, covers the exciting story of Brother Andrew’s travels to pass on God’s word, the Bible, to those who were unable to get a copy in their own country. You can also read my post on Encouraging Our Children to be Outward Looking, if you are interested.
- Eric Liddell: Finish the Race, by John Keddie. This biography of the Scottish missionary and sportsman Eric Liddell is part of the Christian Focus Trailblazers series, and one which we really enjoyed last year. We were able to borrow it from the library, which made it cheap as well as enjoyable!
- My Story: Voyage on the Great Titanic, by Ellen Emerson White. We were given a box set of the My Story series, and although I would not recommend all of them, we did enjoy reading this fictionalised account of a passenger aboard the Titanic for its anniversary in 2012.
- The Queen’s Smuggler, by Dave and Neta Jackson. We have enjoyed quite a few of the Jacksons’ Trailblazer biographies, including this one on William Tyndale. We also recently read their biography of Harriet Tubman, as part of learning more about slavery after reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
- The Little House on the Prairie series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Would you believe, I had never read this famous series of books on American pioneer life until we began home educating? I picked up a secondhand copy at a charity shop, which said it was the ‘complete’ series, but only included the first 3 books. Imagine my surprise when a good friend told me there were many more! One of the things I like most about Laura’s retelling of her early life is the detail she gives about how they made things- food, clothes and even house building.
- Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving, by Eric Metaxas. We have just been reading this picture book this week, as we have been covering the Pilgrims landing in the New World in our history curriculum. This particular retelling of the story has beautiful illustrations, and although it is suitable for younger children, the text is not basic.
- Mary Slessor: What is it Like?, by Catherine Mackenzie. Another book for younger children, this book follows Mary Slessor from her early life in Scotland through her missionary days in Africa. We also have the books on George Muller and Amy Carmichael from this ‘Little Lights’ series, which our younger two girls enjoy.
- The Mysterious Element: The Story of Marie Curie, By Pam Robson. This biography in the Super Scientists Storybooks series tells of Marie Curie’s experiments, along with her husband Pierre, and their discovery of radium. It is another picture book, but with a reasonable amount of text.
- Escape from Loch Leven, By Mollie Hunter. This fictionalised biography of Mary, Queen of Scots is from the Kelpies series of Scottish history stories for children, and was on my read aloud list for this year. The Kelpies books are chapter books which are usually suitable for older children, of 10 or above, but I usually find I can read them aloud to the whole family with a wee bit of editing along the way. We also enjoyed The Story of Ranald from the same series during our unit study on Hebridean Island Life last year, which was based on the writings of an army officer during the Jacobite Rebellion.
These are just some of the biographies that we have enjoyed reading aloud as a family. Do you have a recommendation for a good book to read aloud with the family? Please share it in a comment.
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