Special Collections

Who Was? A Series of Biographies for Kids

Description: This series tells the incredible stories of trailblazers, legends, innovators, and creators. Explore this non-fiction collection of biographies written especially for children. #kids #series


Showing 76 through 100 of 138 results

Who Is Wayne Gretzky?

by Gail Herman and Nancy Harrison and Ted Hammond

After breaking or tying more than sixty records in hockey, it's no wonder that Wayne Gretzky is known as "The Great One." Born in Brantford, Ontario, on January 26, 1961, in a nation obsessed with the sport, he threw himself into the game practically from the time he first laced up a pair of skates. When he retired from the NHL in 1999, he had led several teams to Stanley Cup victories, competed in the Olympics, and changed the way hockey was played forever. Known for his love for family and as a truly decent human being, Wayne Gretzky is revealed as more than a sports legend in this easy-to-read biography.

Date Added: 02/22/2018


Who Was Robert Ripley?

by Nancy Harrison and Kirsten Anderson and Tim Foley

Enter a world of shrunken heads, mystic holy men, shriveled aliens, and bizarre relics in the delightfully odd tale of Robert Ripley. Born in California, Ripley began his career as a sports cartoonist. He went on to chronicle global records and oddities in his weekly column, Believe It Or Not! After publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst took an interest in the column, it became a syndicated global success. Ripley spent his life traveling to more than 200 countries in search of strange objects and interesting facts. His penchant for the peculiar launched an entertainment empire, and his collection of artifacts can be seen worldwide at his famous Odditoriums. Believe It Or Not!

Date Added: 10/30/2017


Who Was Jesus?

by Nancy Harrison and Stephen Marchesi and Ellen Morgan

This fascinating addition to the best-selling Who Was. . . ' series does not settle questions of theology. Instead, it presents young readers with a biography that covers what is known historically about Jesus and places in his life in the context of his world when Jerusalem was part of the Roman Empire. In an even-handed and easy-to-read narrative, this title—illustrated with eighty black-and-white drawings—also explains the early origins of Christianity and how it became a major religion.

Date Added: 10/30/2017


Who Was Jacques Cousteau?

by Nico Medina and Nancy Harrison and Dede Putra

Jacques Cousteau is the most famous and beloved name in the world of deep-sea exploration. Cousteau discovered his passion in 1938, when he first used a pair of goggles to dive off the coast of France. During his time as a French naval officer, he carried out many deep-sea experiments and improved upon early diving equipment. Soon, Cousteau began filming his underwater excursions and offering the world a glimpse below the surface. The documentary television series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau made the man, his work, and his red cap famous throughout the world.

Date Added: 10/30/2017


Who Was Winston Churchill?

by Nancy Harrison and Jerry Hoare and Ellen Labrecque

Born into aristocracy, Churchill cut his teeth as a young army officer in British India, the Sudan, and the Second Boer War. He rose in the ranks to First Lord of the Admiralty and was a staunch opponent of the encroaching German Nazis. Churchill served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, Churchill was also a historian, a writer, and an artist. He is the only British Prime Minister to have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States.

Date Added: 10/30/2017


Who Was Harriet Beecher Stowe?

by Nancy Harrison and Dana Meachen Rau and Gregory Copeland

Born in Connecticut in 1811, Harriet Beecher Stowe was an abolitionist, author, and playwright. Slavery was a major industry in the American South, and Stowe worked with the Underground Railroad to help escaped slaves head north towards freedom. The publication of her book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, a scathing anti-slavery novel, fanned the flames that started the Civil War. The book's emotional portrayal of the impact of slavery captured the nation's attention. A best-seller in its time, Uncle Tom's Cabin sealed Harriet Beecher Stowe's reputations as one of the most influential anti-slavery voices in US history.

Date Added: 02/22/2018


Who Was Mother Teresa?

by Nancy Harrison and Jim Gigliotti

Born a humble girl in what is now Albania, Agnes Bojaxhiu lived a charitable life. She pledged herself to a religious order at the age of 18 and chose the name Sister Teresa, after the patron saint of missionaries. While teaching in India, where famine and violence had devastated the poor, Teresa shed her habit and walked the streets of Calcutta tending to the needs of the destitute. Her charity work soon expanded internationally, and her name remains synonymous with compassion and devotion to the poor.

Date Added: 10/30/2017


Who Was Steve Irwin?

by Dina Anastasio and Jim Eldridge

By popular demand, the 100th Who Was...? subject is Steve Irwin!Steve Irwin did not have a typical childhood. Born in Melbourne, Australia, on February 22, 1962, he was raised on the wildlife park his parents owned. He cared for the animals and especially loved reptiles--he got a python for his sixth birthday! At nine years old, Steve was already helping his father wrestle small crocodiles. He became a crocodile trapper after graduating high school, catching the creatures before dangerous poachers could. Steve met his wife, Terri, at his family's park, and instead of a honeymoon, the pair filmed a wildlife documentary that led to the creation of the well-known series The Crocodile Hunter. Tragically, Steve was killed on September 4, 2006 while filming a documentary when a stingray attacked, piercing his heart. He was forty-four years old. However, his life's work obviously still strikes a chord with kids who voted him the winner of the 100th Who Was...? title.

Date Added: 10/30/2017


Who Was Woodrow Wilson?

by Andrew Thomson and Margaret Frith and Nancy Harrison

First he was known as Tommy, then Woodrow, and eventually, Mr. President. Born on December 28, 1856, in Staunton, Virginia, Thomas Woodrow Wilson was a born leader. He was the president of Princeton University, served as governor of New Jersey after that, and was then elected president of the United States. But not everything was so easy for Wilson. He was ahead of his time in wanting a League of Nations after World War I to help prevent another war like it, but his hopes were dashed when the United States refused to join. Margaret Frith offers a fascinating look at how this magnificent and tragic figure handled debilitating illness, heartbreak, and "the war to end all wars."

Date Added: 02/22/2018


Who Was Abigail Adams?

by True Kelley and John O'Brien

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 story of Abigail Adams and her role in America's Revolutionary War period.

Date Added: 10/30/2017


Who Was Bruce Lee?

by Nancy Harrison and John Hinderliter and Jim Gigliotti

Bruce Lee was a Chinese American action film star, martial arts instructor, filmmaker, and philosopher. His Hong Kong and Hollywood-produced films elevated the traditional martial arts film to a new level of popularity and acclaim. Through such films as Way of the Dragon and Enter the Dragon, Lee helped to change the way Asians were presented in American films and, in the process, he became an iconic figure known throughout the world. Although he died at the young age of 32, Bruce Lee is widely considered to be the one of the most influential martial artists of all time.

Date Added: 10/30/2017


Who Was Clara Barton?

by Stephanie Spinner and David Groff

Clarissa "Clara" Barton was a shy girl who grew up to become a teacher, nurse, and humanitarian. At a time when few women worked outside the home, she became the first woman to hold a government job, as a patent clerk in Washington, DC. In 1864, she was appointed "lady in charge" of the hospitals at the front lines of the Union Army, where she became known as the "Angel of the Battlefield." Clara Barton built a career helping others. She went on to found the American Red Cross, one of her greatest accomplishments, and one of the most recognized organizations in the world.

Date Added: 10/30/2017


Who Was Theodore Roosevelt?

by Michael Burgan and Nancy Harrison and Jerry Hoare

He was only 42 years old when he was sworn in as President of the United States in 1901, making TR the youngest president ever. But did you know that he was also the first sitting president to win the Nobel Peace Prize? The first to ride in a car? The first to fly in an airplane? Theodore Roosevelt's achievements as a naturalist, hunter, explorer, author, and soldier are as much a part of his fame as any office he held as a politician. Find out more about The Bull Moose, the Progressive, the Rough Rider, the Trust Buster, and the Great Hunter who was our larger-than-life 26th president in Who Was Theodore Roosevelt?

Date Added: 10/30/2017


Who Was J. R. R. Tolkien?

by Meg Belviso and Nancy Harrison and Pamela D. Pollack and Jonathan Moore

Best known for his epic Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien was born in British-occupied South Africa. His early life was full of action and adventure.

Tolkien spent his childhood roaming the British countryside with his family and could read and write by age four. He was naturally gifted with languages and used this skill as a signals officers in World War II as well as in his fantasy writing. By creating alternate universes and inventing languages in his work he demonstrated that imaginary realms were not just for children. Fondly remembered as the "Father of High Fantasy," Tolkien's books have inspired blockbuster movies and legions of fans.

Date Added: 02/22/2018


Who Was Beatrix Potter?

by Nancy Harrison and Sarah Fabiny and Mike Lacey

Born into wealth in 1860's London, Beatrix Potter always had a vivid imagination. Her early interests included natural history and archaeology, and Potter delighted in sketching fossils and fungi. After briefly illustrating Christmas cards with her brother, Bertram, Potter wrote and illustrated her well-known book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The book was rejected by several publishes until Frederick Warne eventually took a risk and published the story in 1902 - a risk that paid off. Peter Rabbit was a huge success and readers loved hearing about Peter's mischevious adventures in the lush English countryside. As she got older, Beatrix Potter became a proud conservationist, working hard to defend the landscape she loved so well against industrialization and logging. Now over one hundred years old, Peter Rabbit and his animal friends have become cultural touchstones and continue to delight readers of all ages.

Date Added: 10/30/2017


Who Is Muhammad Ali?

by Nancy Harrison and Stephen Marchesi and James Buckley

Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. won the world heavyweight championship at the age of 22, the same year he joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He would go on to become the first and only three-time (in succession) World Heavyweight Champion. Nicknamed "The Greatest," Ali was as well known for his unique boxing style, consisting of the Ali Shuffle and the rope-a-dope, as he was for the catchphrase "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." He was an uncompromising athlete who brought beauty and grace to a very rough sport and became one of the world's most famous cultural icons. Read Who Is Muhammad Ali? and discover "The Greatest."

Date Added: 02/22/2018


Who Is Malala Yousafzai?

by Andrew Thomson and Dinah Brown

Malala Yousafzai was a girl who loved to learn but was told that girls would no longer be allowed to go to school. She wrote a blog that called attention to what was happening in her beautiful corner of Pakistan and realized that words can bring about change. She has continued to speak out for the right of all children to have an education. In 2014 she won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Date Added: 12/04/2018


Who Was Jesse Owens?

by James Buckley and Gregory Copeland

At the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics, track and field star Jesse Owens ran himself straight into international glory by winning four gold medals. But the life of Jesse Owens is much more than a sports story. Born in rural Alabama under the oppressive Jim Crow laws, Owens's family suffered many hardships. As a boy he worked several jobs like delivering groceries and working in a shoe repair shop to make ends meet. But Owens defied the odds to become a sensational student athlete, eventually running track for Ohio State. He was chosen to compete in the Summer Olympics in Nazi Germany where Adolf Hitler was promoting the idea of "Aryan superiority." Owens's winning streak at the games humiliated Hitler and crushed the myth of racial supremacy once and for all.

Date Added: 10/30/2017


Who Was Edgar Allan Poe?

by Nancy Harrison and Jim Gigliotti and Tim Foley

Filled with broken hearts and black ravens, Edgar Allan Poe's ghastly tales have delighted readers for centuries. Born in Boston in 1809, Poe was orphaned at age two. He was soon adopted by a Virginia family who worked as tombstone merchants. In 1827 he enlisted in the Army and subsequently failed out of West Point. His first published story, The Raven, was a huge success, but his joy was overshadowed by the death of his wife. Poe devoted his life to writing and his tragic life often inspired his work. He is considered to be the inventor of detective fiction and the father of American mystery writers. His work continues to influence popular culture through films, music, literature, and television.

Date Added: 02/22/2018


Who Is Richard Branson?

by Michael Burgan and Ted Hammond

What would you do with a billion dollars? This question gets a definitive answer from billionaire Richard Branson: do everything! Born into a wealthy family in London, Branson suffered from dyslexia and was a poor student. Still, his knack for business started early with a successful parakeet-breeding enterprise at age 11.The charismatic entrepreneur launched his first major business, Virgin Records, at age 22 and spent the next few decades building the Virgin group that now includes more than 400 companies. Known for his eccentric lifestyle and trillion-watt smile, Branson's hot air balloon flights, innovative leadership, and world record attempts have made him an instantly-recognizable global icon.

Date Added: 12/04/2018


Who Was Maria Tallchief?

by Catherine Gourley and Nancy Harrison and Val Paul Taylor

Born in 1925, Maria Tallchief spent part of her childhood on an Osage reservation in Oklahoma. With the support of her family and world-renowned choreographer George Balanchine, she rose to the top of her art form to become America's first prima ballerina. Black-and-white illustrations provide visual sidebars to the history of ballet while taking readers through the life of this amazing dancer.

Date Added: 02/22/2018


Who Was Julia Child?

by Geoff Edgers and Nancy Harrison and Dede Putra and Carlene Hempel

Born in California in 1912, Julia Child enlisted in the Army and met her future husband, Paul, during World War II. She discovered her love of French food while stationed in Paris and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu cooking school after her service. Child knew that Americans would love French food as much as she did, so she wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961. The book was a success and the public wanted more. America fell in love with Julia Child. Her TV show, The French Chef, premiered in 1963 and brought the bubbling and lovable chef into millions of homes. Find out more about this beloved chef, author, and TV personality in Who Was Julia Child?

Date Added: 10/30/2017


Who Was Marie Antoinette?

by John O'Brien and Dana Meachen Rau

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 feathers. The poor people of France blamed Marie Antoinette for their poverty. Her spending helped incite the French Revolution. And after much public outcry, in 1793 she quite literally lost her head because of it. Whether she was blameless or guilty is debatable, but Marie Antoinette remains woven into the fabric of history and popular culture.

Date Added: 12/04/2018


Who Was Seabiscuit?

by James Buckley and Gregory Copeland

In the middle of the worst depression in U.S. history, one young racehorse lifted a nation's spirits. Seabiscuit was born in 1933 on a farm in Kentucky. Though bred for racing, he was weak and undersized. He slept too long and ate too much. Against the odds, he began to win local races. He was given a new coach who trained him to race in larger circuits. Soon enough, this scrappy horse began beating the best racehorses in the country. He became a media darling and won national competitions. In 1938 he was voted U.S. Horse of the Year. Seabiscuit's undying spirit and come-from-behind story made him a celebrity and hero for millions.

Date Added: 10/30/2017


Who Was Blackbeard?

by Nancy Harrison and James Buckley

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, Blackbeard was commanding his own fleet and stealing ships around the Caribbean and up and down the Eastern seaboard. Known for his thick, black beard and fearsome reputation, the legend of Blackbeard has influenced pirate legend and lore for over 300 years.

Date Added: 10/30/2017



Showing 76 through 100 of 138 results