Booklist: Autobiographies!

Autobiographies are a little different from “regular” biographies; the person who wrote the book is also the person who the book is about!  Authors write the most interesting autobiographies; because they’re storytellers who know how to make the most out of sharing their experiences.   Some non-writers have very unique stories to share though, and often the fresh voice gives them an interesting edge.

Here are a few autobiographies by category, pulled from a much longer list we’ve created at the library.  If you want something interesting to read, try one of these and find out what other kids–some who became famous!–lived through.

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Funny Autobiographies!

Scieszka, Jon.  Knucklehead: Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories about Growing Up Scieszka
Part memoir, part scrapbook, this hilarious trip down memory lane provides a unique glimpse into the formation of a creative mind and a free spirit. You’ll laugh out loud, guaranteed!

Dahl, Roald.  More About Boy
Everyone’s favorite humorous author for children tells about his very strange boyhood.   More About Boy is an updated version of the original autobiography Boy, with more source material, notes  and illustrations.

Peet, Bill. Bill Peet: An Autobiography
Popular picture book author Peet tells his life story, including his years in the army, followed by time at Disney studios heading projects like “101 Dalmatians”, followed by  his decision to create books for children.


Prelutsky, Jack. Pizza, Pigs and Poetry: How to Write a Poem
The man who has written over 50 poetry books gives the inside scoop on  how his childhood led to writing poetry, and shows how you can turn your experiences and stories about your family, your pets, and your friends into poems.

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Adventurous Autobiographies!

O’Grady, Scott. Basher Five-Two: The True Story of F-16 Fighter Pilot Captain Scott O’Grady
In exciting detail, U.S. Air Force pilot Captain Scott O’Grady tells how he evaded capture after being shot down in his F-16 over Bosnia and how, with little water and no food, he was able to survive on his own in enemy territory.

Paulsen, Gary. Caught by the Sea, How Angel Peterson Got His Name, Woodsong, Guts, Puppies, Dogs and Blue Northers, and My Life in Dog Years
The outdoorsman-turned-author of several famous survival stories for kids and teens shares thrilling episodes in his incredibly exciting life, some that led to the creation of his books.

Lekuton, Joseph Lemasolai.  Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna
A member of the Masai people describes his life as he grew up in a northern Kenya village, traveled to America to attend college, and became an elementary school teacher in Virginia.


Pfetzer, Mark. Within Reach: My Everest Story
In May 1996, 16-year-old Mark Pfetzer went on an expedition to Mount Everest. Not only was he the youngest climber ever to attempt the summit, but he bore witness to the tragedy in which eight climbers perished in a sudden storm. This is his story.

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Wartime Biographies!

Fritz, Jean.  Homesick: My Own Story and China Homecoming
From her early life as the daughter of missionaries in China to her return after the Cultural Revolution, author Jean Fritz relates her life story in these two volumes.


Li, Moying. Snow Falling in Spring: Coming of Age in China During the Cultural Revolution
After escaping her school in Beijing and struggling to make sense of her crumbling world, student Moying finds sanctuary in literature. But with many schools shut down and most books forbidden, can she keep her passion for learning alive?

Jiang, Ji Li.  Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution
Twelve year-old Ji Li, tells the story of growing up in China, where her family was  accused of capitalist crimes during the Cultural Revolution.


Vogel, Ilse-Margret.  Bad Times, Good Friends: A Memoir, Berlin 1945
The  combination of wartime detail, and the very real and present danger experienced by a group of friends in pre-Nazi Germany makes this an engrossing and engaging book.


Uchida, Yoshiko.  The Invisible Thread
The author of such accomplished children’s works as The Bracelet and The Jar of Dreams offers a firsthand account of life in a Japanese American internment camp during WWII.

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Memoirs: Autobiographies!

Lowry, Lois.  Looking Back: A Book of Memories
Photographs illustrate snippets of memories, many of which inspired some of this award-winning author’s stories.


Kehret, Peg.  Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio
In 1949,  twelve year old Peg Schultz became paralyzed from Polio; the story of her struggle  with the disease and her recovery is a compelling story.

DePaola, Tomie.  26 Fairmount Avenue
The first book in a series of short chapter books about the author-illustrator*s life growing up in Massachusetts with his large and extended family. Other titles include Here We All Are, On My Way, What a Year, Things Will NEVER be the Same, I’m Still Scared, Why, and For the Duration.

Nesbit, E. Long Ago When I Was Young
One of the first (and best) fantasy authors for children describes a childhood in the 1860s spent both with her family, but also apart from them in schools she detested.

Myers, Walter Dean.  Bad Boy: A Memoir
The teen author paints a fascinating picture of growing up in Harlem in the 1940s.

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Stop by the library and see our entire list, which also includes books by Dick King-Smith, Coretta Scott King, Anita Lobel and Stan and Jan Berenstain, among others!  As always, please ask a librarian if you’re looking for something specific, or want help with something un-specific!



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