Read a Biography

There’s still time to work on your July Summer Challenge Sheet! Have you read a biography or memoir yet? Biographies are a fantastic genre because they give a glimpse of another person’s life. They can inspire or challenge you. And, reading about other people’s lives can be beneficial to your own.

Here are a few biographies and memoirs to check out:


Indira by Katherine Frank – Indira Ghandi was reluctant to enter politics. She was educated at schools in Switzerland, England and India while her father and many family members were in and out of jail during the Independence Movement in India. After the deaths of her husband, her fathers, and independent India’s first leader she joined politics in order to realize the dream of an independent country.

Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin – Read about Iftin’s path to US citizenship. He grew up in Somalia and loved American culture as a young child and learned English by listening to American music. But when a radical Islamist group rose to power in 2006, it became dangerous to celebrate any kind of Western culture. Iftin used his language skills to post secret dispatches to NPR and the Internet in order to make a living, and found an audience of worldwide listeners. But as life in Somalia grew more dangerous, Ilftin had no choice but to flee to Kenya as a refugee.

Sick by Porochista Khapour – Khapour doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t sick. Several hospitalizations and $100,000 later, Khapour finally learns that she has Lyme disease. Read about her long, emotional journey and how she deals with the American medical system.

Well That Escalated Quickly by Franchesca Ramsey – The comedian and activist shares her advice on how to deal with internet trolls, low-key racists and social media in general.

How To American by Jimmy Yang – Jimmy Yang is a standup comedian and actor. In his hilarious memoir, he shares his story of growing up as a Chinese immigrant and how pursuing a Hollywood career went against the dreams of his parents.

Poet Biographies

Poet Biographies - Blog Post Header

This April, in celebration of National Poetry Month, check out one of these biographies on some of the world’s most renowned poets:

A Good Cry: What We Learn From Tears & Laughter by Nikki Giovanni – Offers an intimate, affecting and revealing look at Giovanni’s personal history as she ruminates on her life and the people who have helped shape her into the woman she has become.

Langston Hughes by Rebecca Carey Rohan – Social activist, poet, novelist, playwright, and pioneer, Hughes was the Renaissance man of the Harlem Renaissance. Learn about his life and influences, and how his work affected the world we live in.

Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 by Elizabeth Winder – A biography which captures the month Plath spent in New York City in June 1953 as a guest editor for the annual college issue of “Mademoiselle” magazine.

Rumi’s Secret: The Life of the Sufi Poet of Love by Brad Gooch – Recounts the life of Persian poet Rumi, from being displaced by Mongol terror to Turkey in his childhood to his education under Shams of Tabriz, who transformed Rumi from a respectable Muslim preacher to a poet and mystic. Continue reading