Emerson once said “Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” so just imagine what biographies can show us. I would like to pay tribute to Paul Revere’s Ride by Longfellow, written 150 years ago today. Truth be told, I was never a fan of the poem but I found Paul Revere a fascinating character.
Who doesn’t like to eavesdrop on the lives of others? Who doesn’t like to travel to new places? Who doesn’t like to learn about the past? A series of biographies, written for children grades 2-5+ by Jean Fritz, offer the thrill of a behind the scenes glimpse along with the idiosyncratic personality traits that make these characters come to life.
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? is just one of her fine biographies for young children. Reading the book, I learned of his narrow escapes on his big ride to Lexington, and that he was forgetful— he forgot his spurs on his famous ride— and that he whittled false teeth to make extra money. Details like these make Paul Revere a real person. Fritz once said that she only chooses people to write about whom she was curious about. A very good thing for readers!
There is truly something for everybody in the biographies by Jean Fritz. I believe a book is never an answer but always a question. In keeping with that philosophy, many of the titles of Fritz’s biographies are questions. A few personalities she writes about:
Will you Sign Here, John Hancock?
You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton?
What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?
Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George?
Where was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May?
Where Do you Think You are Going, Christopher Columbus?
The list goes on and on—enjoy becoming acquainted with these colorful and very real people—and realize they have more to them than a page or two in a book of history reveals.
Illustrated biographies tap into a child’s inquisitiveness by cultivating their curiosity. Give your child the gift of meeting biographies that are compelling and insightful.