Category Archives: Biography

Boy on Ice by John Branch

Boy on Ice by John Branch

When I was a kid my uncle took me to several hockey games (let’s go Caps!). The fights were always the highlight, a few seconds of major excitement. I never really thought about the role of the enforcer or what those fights could do to the players getting punched and injured over and over. Boy on Ice focuses on one enforcer, Derek Boogaard, who died from a drug overdose in 2011 at just 28 years old and was posthumously diagnosed with a severe case of CTE. The book is well researched, mainly because the Boogaard family was willing to provide lots of medical, phone, and ATM records and their memories of Derek for it. The tone is conversational and the book reads fast. Other than those hockey games with my uncle, I’ve never been into sports, but I found Boy on Ice to be very interesting and engaging. I recommend it to any sports fan.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 79
Pages Read in 2021: 25,787

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The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport

The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport

The Romanov Sisters is a rehashing of other books on the topic of the Romanov family, just specifically focused on the four girls. It drags quite often and is very wordy. There is really nothing new in this book that you won’t find elsewhere. Pretty much all the people the girls associated with are mentioned, some only one time. For those the girls wrote about in their diaries, sometimes the author used the person’s real name and sometimes the code name used. This was often confusing. I found the book to be mediocre.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 34
Pages Read in 2021: 9929

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American Trailblazers by Lisa Trusiani

American Trailblazers contains fifty short biographies of great people from US History. They are perfect for a child to read on their own or even as a jumping off point for learning more (it would make a great base for homeschooling). I personally learned a lot. Some of the people I was aware of and some I was not. I highly recommend this book for kids and their parents!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 55
Pages Read in 2020: 15,357
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Filed under Biography, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Vine Review

Black Women in Science by Kimberly Brown Pellum, PhD

Black Women in Science is full of short bios on some inspiring Black women who have done extraordinary things in various fields of science. Each one ends with ideas to learn more and think about their own spot in science and the world. It is aimed at young Black girls with the hopes of motivating them to become whatever they dream they can be. I highly recommend it!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 45
Pages Read in 2020: 11,979
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Biography, Children, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Vine Review

The Miracle and Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets by Sarah Miller

It was quite a miracle that five little girls born all at once in 1934 survived. The tragedy came when the country of Canada took custody of the girls, separated them from their family, and exhibited them like a sideshow. The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets is a very well-written overview of their lives using primary sources. It attempts to give both sides of the story, but is mostly sympathetic to the quintuplets themselves. It reads fast with lots of short chapters. I found it quite fascinating. I recommend it to anyone curious about the Dionne quintuplets’ lives.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 22
Pages Read in 2020: 5579
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100 Scientists Who Shaped World History by John Hudson Tiner

Each page (in pretty small print in two columns) gives an overview of one of the 100 Scientists Who Shaped World History. It starts with Pythagoras and ends with Hawking. The focus of each mini bio is on what one or two things they discovered or invented that changed the world and is not meant to even remotely cover their whole life. This book can easily be read cover to cover or by picking and choosing a scientist to read about here and there. It’s a great introduction for kids to lots of scientists from many branches of science.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 88
Pages Read in 2019: 22,724
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Filed under Biography, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian

Who Was Fidel Castro? by Sarah Fabiny

Aimed at kids, Who Was Fidel Castro? gives a good overview of the life of the Cuban dictator. It’s pretty neutral as far as whether he was a good or bad person (as the book says, it depends on who you ask). There are lots of illustrations and several asides to explain things like guerrilla warfare and communism. I highly recommend this book to kids learning about Castro or Cuba.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 86
Pages Read in 2019: 22,310
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Filed under Biography, Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian

Who Was Gandhi by Dana Meachen Rau

Who Was Gandhi? is a nice overview of his life aimed at children. It explains things in simple terms and includes plenty of illustrations. I highly recommend it for kids learning about Gandhi and Indian independence.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 83
Pages Read in 2019: 22,009
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Filed under Biography, Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian

Mother Teresa by Wyatt North

Mother Teresa was an amazing woman. This book gives an excellent overview of her life and the things she accomplished. It is biased toward her ever doing little to nothing wrong and pretty much being a saint (though it was written before she was actually canonized). It is a quick read. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about the good Mother Teresa did in the world.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 35
Pages Read in 2019: 9457
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Gandhi the Man by Eknath Easwaran

Gandhi the Man is an excellent overview of Gandhi’s life and his push for nonviolent resistance. There are lots of pictures and quotes throughout. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a little bit about Gandhi.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 34
Pages Read in 2019: 9316
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Biography, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron