Joan of Arc was born in a small French village during the worst period of the Hundred Years' War. For generations, France had been besieged by the British. At age 11, Joan began to see religious visions telling her to join forces with the King of France. By the time she was a teenager, she was leading troops into battle in the name of her country. Though she was captured and executed for her beliefs, Joan of Arc became a Catholic saint and has since captured the world's imagination.
In 1789, George Washington became the first president of the United States. He has been called the father of our country for leading America through its early years. Washington also served in two major wars during his lifetime: the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Washington's fascinating story comes to life--revealing the real... Read more »
The life of Queen Elizabeth I was dramatic and dangerous: cast out of her father's court at the age of three and imprisoned at nineteen, Elizabeth was crowned queen in 1558, when she was only twenty-five. A tough, intelligent woman who spoke five languages, Elizabeth ruled for over forty years and led... Read more »
Leonardo da Vinci was a gifted painter, talented musician, and dedicated scientist and inventor, designing flying machines, submarines, and even helicopters. Yet he had a hard time finishing things, a problem anyone can relate to. Only thirteen paintings are known to be his; as for the illustrated encyclopedia he intended to create, all that... Read more »
Born in Warsaw, Poland, on November 7, 1867, Marie Curie was forbidden to attend the male-only University of Warsaw, so she enrolled at the Sorbonne in Paris to study physics and mathematics. There she met a professor named Pierre Curie, and the two soon married, forming one of the most famous scientific partnerships in history. Together they... Read more »
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon and, to an audience of over 450 million people, proclaimed his step a giant leap for mankind. This Eagle Scout built his own model planes as a little boy and then grew up to be a test pilot for experimental aircraft before becoming an astronaut. Read more »
Everyone has heard of Albert Einstein-but what exactly did he do? How much do kids really know about Albert Einstein besides the funny hair and genius label? For instance, do they know that he was expelled from school as a kid? Finally, here's the story of Albert Einstein's life, told in a fun, engaging way that clearly explores the world he... Read more »
Learn about one of the most influential leaders in the fight for gay rights.
Although he started out as a teacher without aspirations to be an activist or politician, Harvey Milk found himself captivated by the history-making movements of the 1960s. He would eventually make history of his own by becoming the first openly gay elected politician... Read more »
Find out how this English singer-songwriter and actor who constantly reinvented his look and sound became one of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century in this new book from the #1 New York Times bestselling series.
David Bowie, born David Robert Jones, wasn't just an incredible singer; he had an amazing talent for keeping his... Read more »
Born in a little cabin in Tennessee, Dolly Parton always dreamed big, and she was right to! She wrote her first song at age five and became a country music star by the time she was in her early twenties. Of course, her success didn't stop there. Dolly Parton is also an actress, author, businesswoman, and philanthropist whose "Imagination... Read more »
Abigail Adams was a strong woman far ahead of her time. She urged her husband, President John Adams, to "remember the ladies" and despite having no formal education herself, she later advocated for equal education in public schools for both boys and girls. She was also the first First Lady to live in the White House! This biography tells the... Read more »
Not only was Bruce Springsteen "Born in the USA," he has risen to become a twenty-time Grammy winner and American icon.
Bruce Springsteen grew up in a blue-collar New Jersey town, where his parents struggled to make ends meet. Bruce didn't fit in at school but found solace in rock and roll and playing guitar. After the breakup of a local band... Read more »
Follow the bad boys of rock and roll from their beginnings in London to their unparalleled success around the world.
Starting out over fifty years ago, the Rolling Stones took the music of the blues and blended it into rock and roll to create their own unique sound. Decades later, they are still hard at work, recording and playing live to massive... Read more »
The perfect biography to "bite into" at the start of a new school year! Children are sure to be fascinated by the eccentric and legendary Johnny Appleseed, a man who is best known for bringing apple trees to the midwest. Over John Chapman’s lifetime, he saw the country grow and start to spread westward. Traveling alone— in bare feet and sporting... Read more »
Sacagawea was only sixteen when she made one of the most remarkable journeys in American history, traveling 4500 miles by foot, canoe, and horse-all while carrying a baby on her back! Without her, the Lewis and Clark expedition might have failed. Through this engaging book, kids will understand the reasons that today, 200 years later, she is... Read more »
Marco Polo was seventeen when he set out for China . . . and forty-one when he came back! More than seven hundred years ago, Marco Polo traveled from the medieval city of Venice to the fabled kingdom of the great Kublai Khan, seeing new sights and riches that no Westerner had ever before witnessed. But did Marco Polo experience the things he... Read more »
Ever since Howard Carter uncovered King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, the young pharaoh has become a symbol of the wealth and mystery of ancient Egypt. This Who Was . . . ? explains the life and times of this ancient Egyptian ruler, covering the story of the tomb’s discovery, as well as myths and so-called mummy curses. Read more »
As a young boy, Charles Darwin hated school and was often scolded for conducting “useless” experiments. Yet his passion for the natural world was so strong that he suffered through terrible seasickness during his five-year voyage aboard The Beagle. Darwin collected new creatures from the coasts of Africa, South America, and the Galapagos... Read more »
From his childhood in rural Illinois to moviemaking days in Hollywood and on to a career in politics that took him all the way to the Oval Office, Ronald Reagan kept an abiding faith in America and in what our country stood for. The oldest president ever, he survived a near-fatal assassination attempt and lived to be 93. Who Was Ronald...Read more »
There is only one QUEEN OF SOUL! Discover why Aretha Franklin garners so much R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Aretha Franklin was a musical and cultural icon whose legacy spanned six decades! Born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1942, Aretha got her start singing in front of her father's Baptist congregation and found minor success as a gospel singer. She then set her... Read more »
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was only 25 when he helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott and was soon organizing black people across the country in support of the right to vote, desegregation, and other basic civil rights. Maintaining nonviolent and peaceful tactics even when his life was threatened, King was also an advocate for the poor and... Read more »
The man who saved the lives of his PT-109 crewmen during WWII and became the 35th president fought-and won-his first battle at the age of two-and-a-half, when he was stricken with scarlet fever. Although his presidency was cut short, our nation's youngest elected leader left an indelible mark on the American consciousness and now is profiled in... Read more »
In her amazing diary, Anne Frank revealed the challenges and dreams common for any young girl. But Hitler brought her childhood to an end and forced her and her family into hiding. Who Was Anne Frank? looks closely at Anne’s life before the secret annex, what life was like in hiding, and the legacy of her diary. Read more »
For a long time, the main role of First Ladies was to act as hostesses of the White House...until Eleanor Roosevelt. Born in 1884, Eleanor was not satisfied to just be a glorified hostess for her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Eleanor had a voice, and she used it to speak up against poverty and racism. She had experience and... Read more »
Put on your blue suede shoes and get ready for another addition to the Who Was…? series! The King could not have come from humbler origins: Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, during the Depression, he grew up with the blues music of the rural South, the gospel music of local churches, and the country-western classics. But he forged a sound all his... Read more »
Every kid has heard of Harry Houdini, the famous magician who could escape from handcuffs, jail cells, and locked trunks. But do they know that the ever-ambitious and adventurous Houdini was also a famous movie star and the first pilot to fly a plane in Australia? This well-told biography is full of the details of Houdini's life that kids will... Read more »
When Portuguese sailor Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Spain in 1519, he believed he could get to the Spice Islands by sailing west through or around the New World. He was right, but what he didn't know was that the treacherous voyage would take him three years and cost him his life. Read more »
Amelia Earhart was a woman of many "firsts." In 1932, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1935, she also became the first woman to fly across the Pacific. From her early years to her mysterious 1937 disappearance while attempting a flight around the world, readers will find Amelia Earhart's life a fascinating story. Read more »
One day in 1882, Thomas Edison flipped a switch that lit up lower Manhattan with incandescent light and changed the way people live ever after. The electric light bulb was only one of thousands of Edison’s inventions, which include the phonograph and the kinetoscope, an early precursor to the movie camera. As a boy, observing a robin catch a... Read more »
You want girl power? Meet Annie Oakley! Born in 1860, she became one of the best-loved and most famous women of her generation. She amazed audiences all over the world with her sharpshooting, horse-riding, action-packed performances. In an age when most women stayed home, she traveled the world and forged a new image for American women. Read more »
If not for a stint in reform school, young Louis Armstrong might never have become a musician. It was a teacher at the Colored Waifs' Home who gave him a cornet, promoted him to band leader, and saw talent in the tough kid from the even tougher New Orleans neighborhood called Storyville. But it was Louis Armstrong's own passion and genius that... Read more »
At age two, Helen Keller became deaf and blind. She lived in a world of silence and darkness and she spent the rest of her life struggling to break through it. But with the help of teacher Annie Sullivan, Helen learned to read, write, and do many amazing things. This inspiring biography is perfect for young middle-grade listeners. Read more »
Born in Austria in 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed his first piece of music, a minuet, when he was just five years old! Soon after, he was performing for kings and emperors. Although he died at the young age of thirty-five, Mozart left a legacy of more than 600 works. This fascinating biography charts the musician's extraordinary career... Read more »
The story of a poor boy from Brazil who became the greatest soccer player of all time and one of the most important athletes of the twentieth century!
His parents may have named him Edson Arantes do Nascimento, but to the rest of the world, he is known as Pelé. The now-retired professional soccer forward stunned Brazil when he began playing for... Read more »
Born a slave in Maryland, Harriet Tubman knew first-hand what it meant to be someone's property; she was whipped by owners and almost killed by an overseer. It was from other field hands that she first heard about the Underground Railroad which she travelled by herself north to Philadelphia. Throughout her long life (she died at the age of... Read more »
Almost everyone can sing along with the Beatles, but how many young readers know their whole story? Geoff Edgers, a Boston Globe reporter and hard-core Beatles fan, brings the Fab Four to life in this Who Was...? book. Readers will learn about their childhoods in Liverpool, their first forays into rock music, what Beatlemania was like, and why... Read more »
Did you know that John Adams had to coax Thomas Jefferson into writing the Declaration of Independence? It's true. The shy Virginia statesman refused at first, but then went on to author one of our nation's most important and inspiring documents. The third U.S. president, Jefferson was also an architect, inventor, musician, farmer, and-what is... Read more »
Born into slavery in Maryland in 1818, Frederick Douglass was determined to gain freedom--and once he realized that knowledge was power, he secretly learned to read and write to give himself an advantage. After escaping to the North in 1838, as a free man he gave powerful speeches about his experience as a slave. He was so impressive that he... Read more »
Growing up the youngest of seven children in Puerto Rico, Roberto Clemente had a talent for baseball. His incredible skill soon got him drafted into the big leagues where he spent 18 seasons playing right field for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Who Was Roberto Clemente? tells the story of this remarkable athlete: a twelve-time All-Star, World Series... Read more »
It's up, up, and away with the Tuskegee Airmen, a heroic group of African American military pilots who helped the United States win World War II.
During World War II, black Americans were fighting for their country and for freedom in Europe, yet they had to endure a totally segregated military in the United States, where they weren't considered... Read more »
Discover why Selena, the Queen of Tejano music, became one of the most celebrated Mexican-American entertainers of the twentieth century!
As a young girl, Selena Quintanilla sang in a band called Selena y Los Dinos with her brother and sister. The family performed at fairs, weddings, quinceañeras, and on street corners in their native Texas.... Read more »
Though much of his early life remains a mystery, Blackbeard most likely began his life as Edward Teach in the sailing port of Bristol, England. He began his career as a hired British sailor during Queen Anne's War. He eventually settled in the Bahamas under Captain Benjamin Hornigold who taught the young sailor to go "a-pirating." Soon enough,... Read more »
Hold on to your Viking helmets as you learn about the first known European to set foot on North America in this exciting addition to the Who Was? series!
Leif Erikson was born to be an explorer. His father, Erik the Red, had established the first European settlement in present-day Greenland, and although he didn't yet know it, Leif was destined... Read more »
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in 1869 in British-occupied India. Though he studied law in London and spent his early adulthood in South Africa, he remained devoted to his homeland and spent the later part of his life working to make India an independent nation. Calling for non-violent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence... Read more »
Named Temujin at birth by his nomadic family in early Mongolia, the great Genghis Khan used his skill and cunning to create the Mongol Empire and conquer almost the entire continent of Asia. As ruler of the largest empire in human history, he was as respected as he was feared. Learn more about the man and the legend in Who Was Genghis Khan? Read more »
Susan B. Anthony may be an international icon but her campaign for women's rights had personal roots. Working as a school teacher in New York, Anthony refused to settle for less pay than her male colleagues which ignited her lifelong devotion to women's equality. Anthony toured the United States and Europe giving speeches and publishing articles... Read more »
Joan of Arc was born in a small French village during the worst period of the Hundred Years' War. For generations, France had been besieged by the British. At age 11, Joan began to see religious visions telling her to join forces with the King of France. By the time she was a teenager, she was leading troops into battle in the name of her... Read more »
From the palaces of Austria to the mirrored halls of Versailles, Marie Antoinette led a charmed life. She was born into royalty in 1755 and married the future king of France at age 15. By 21 she ascended to the throne and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle of masquerade balls, sky-high wigs, and extravagant food. But her taste for excess ruffled many... Read more »
Everyone loves Harry Potter. Now kids can learn about Harry's creator!
In 1995, on a four-hour-delayed train from Manchester to London, J. K. Rowling conceived of the idea of a boy wizard named Harry Potter. Upon arriving in London, she began immediately writing the first book in the saga. Rowling's true-life, rags-to-riches story is as... Read more »
Find out how this one-time American hero became the country's most notorious traitor.
As a young child, Benedict Arnold never shied away from a fight. So when the French and Indian War began in 1754, Benedict was eager to join the militia and fight for the British colonies in America. And when he was eighteen years old, he got his chance. Arnold... Read more »