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Suggested Biographies for Third Grade


Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Explore these fascinating stories about real people. Books are suggested for Third Grade, but remember that each Reader is different, and might find something interesting at another level.

John Roy Lynch spent most of his childhood as a slave in Mississippi, but all of that changed with the Emancipation Proclamation. Suddenly people like John Roy could have paying jobs and attend school. While many people in the South were unhappy with the social change, John Roy thrived in the new era.

The story of Black Elk brings to life what it was like to be Native American in the mid-to-late 19th century and early 20th century. The Native people found their land overrun by the Wha-shi-choos, or White Man, the buffalo slaughtered for sport and to purposely eliminate their main food source, and their people gathered onto reservations. Through it all, Black Elk clung to his childhood visions that planted the seeds to help people understand their place in the circle of life.

Claudette Colvin by Martha London

Get to know the life and legacy of Claudette Colvin. Vivid photographs and easy-to-read text give early readers an engaging look at her often-overlooked role in the Civil Rights Movement. 

Counting the stars by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Also available in: video | e-video

Before astronauts orbited the earth, or walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used their knowledge, pencils, adding machines, and writing paper to calculate the orbital mechanics needed to launch spacecraft. Katherine Johnson was one of these mathematicians. Even as Virginia's Jim Crow laws were in place in the early 1950s, Katherine worked analyzing data at the NACA (later NASA) Langley laboratory.

Profiles thirty six immigrants to the United States who have made notable contributions to sports, science, politics, and the arts. Their courage, their achievements, and their determination to change the world have helped make our country a stronger place. 

Also available in: e-book | audiobook | video | e-video

The true story of James Lafayette--a slave who spied for George Washington's army during the American Revolution. But while America celebrated its newfound freedom, James returned to slavery. His service hadn't qualified him for the release he'd been hoping for. For James the fight wasn't over; he'd already helped his country gain its freedom, now it was time to win his own.

The story of Anna May Wong, a Chinese American actress who advocated for authentic depictions of Asians and Asian Americans in film during the early years of Hollywood.

As the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor has inspired young people around the world to reach for their dreams. But what inspired her? For young Sonia, the answer was books! They were her mirrors, her maps, her friends, and her teachers. 

Despite fierce prejudice and abuse, even being beaten to within an inch of her life, Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion of civil rights from the 1950s until her death in 1977. 

Wangari Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her efforts to lead women in a nonviolent struggle to bring peace and democracy to Africa through its reforestation. Her organization planted over thirty million trees in thirty years. This beautiful picture book tells the story of an amazing woman and an inspiring idea.