Popular Biographies Reach All Ages

You’re never too old – or too young – for a great story. The best biographies and memoirs inspire people of all ages. Fortunately, Fairfax County Public Library carries juvenile and teen versions of some of the most popular adult biographies and memoirs from recent years.

I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai and Patricia McCormick, is the young reader’s version of I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, by Yousafzai and Christina Lamb. Kids and teens will discover Malala’s early experiences with advocacy that lead her to become the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. For a picture book biography, see Malala, a Brave Girl from Pakistan; Iqbal, a Brave Boy from Pakistan by Jeanette Winter.


Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive by Laura Hillenbrand is the juvenile version of Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption. Louis Zamperini’s unlikely journey from scamp to Olympian runner to pilot, prisoner and war hero is fortified with an extensive collection of photographs in this version. The text is still sophisticated but less graphic in detail than the original.


Discovering Wes Moore is the young adult adaption of The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates. Both versions of the memoir by Wes Moore tell the compelling story of a young man who managed to pull his life back from the brink of derailment to one of uncommon achievement. From a position of success, he discovers his doppelganger, a man with the same name and a similar beginning in life, whose fate took the opposite turn. What made their lives turn out so differently?

Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron is a story that seemed destined to move people of all ages. The original book tells of a kitten tossed into a library book drop one freezing Iowa night. Dewey, as he was named, gave back to his community by bringing cheer and comfort to those around him- including Myron, the librarian who found him, as she coped with a life-threatening illness. Dewey the Library Cat: A True Story and Dewey: There’s a Cat in the Library are juvenile chapter and picture book versions by Myron and Bret Witter.

--Suzanne Summers LaPierre, Kings Park Library

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