BAND August Discussion

The Bloggers’ Alliance of Nonfiction Devotees topic for this month is:

How did you get into nonfiction? Do you remember your first nonfiction book or subject? If so, do you still read those subjects?

Who: Unruly What: got hooked on nonfiction Where: in small town Iowa When: in 3rd grade Why: because of biographies.

Yes, biography was the gateway, and I remember it vividly.

First, there were the biographies of the Presidents and First Ladies. There’re whole sets of biographies of all of them, written just for kids, and I just may have read them all. (Type A 3rd grader? Yes.)

Beginning that year, anything that was a biography—I would read it.

Yes, I’m talking biographies of Evel Knievel, Harriet Tubman, Leif Garrett (though that was serious research, because I intended to marry him), Eli Whitney, Amelia Earhart, Thomas Edison, and Barry Manilow.

This biography thing has stuck. I’ve branched out into other nonfiction reading, but the biographies maintain their stronghold. Of the nonfiction books I own (because I can’t live without them—that’s my criterion for book-buying) the biggest category is biography.

You know how they say that looking at a child at age 7 is the best predictor of the adult that child will become? Well, a wide swath of the reading I do now is freakishly similar to the stuff I was reading way back at age 9 or so: biographies of presidents, aviators, and the occasional celebrity.

We’re gonna hope that’s because the die was cast and I am who I am. (Either that, or I’m just stuck at age 9 for life. Though I have gone off Leif Garrett. Sorry, Leif. I had to go and change on you.)


by

Reader, librarian, & happy little geek

14 thoughts on “BAND August Discussion

  1. Amy

    I love how you structured your response! You really sound like an incredible 3rd grader, I wish I had gotten into nonfiction so early. Very cool that you read so many biographies even way back then.

  2. MJ

    In third grade, I was reading mostly fiction, but I do remember reading a Harriet Tubman biography about that time. She was so awesome! I was totally enthralled with her life story.

  3. Amy — Oh, I was just a nerd, that's all. : )

    Kim — Interesting — the books about authors thing.

    MJ — Seriously! Harriet Tubman is the coolest. I remember feeling really, really nervous that she'd be caught by the bad guys.

  4. I've been kind of wary of biographies as an adult, though I read a couple geared for kids when I was growing up. Do you have any biographies that you would recommend for someone who is not sold on that genre?

  5. Christy — Great question.

    For me personally, biographies I enjoy have to be about someone I find interesting. So probably I'll suggest bios of people you may not be interested in — but I'm going to give it a whirl, anyway. : )

    My other criterion is that the books have to be a pleasure to read. They can't be clunky.

    Here are some possibilities to consider:

    – Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg

    – The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood by Jane Leavy

    – Jane Austen: A Life by Carol Shields

    – Anne Frank: The Biography by Melissa Muller

    But you may want to skip my list and just think of someone whose life you're wondering about, and then scan a book or two to see if the writing style is zingy.

  6. I discovered biographies in 4th grade and loved them to pieces: Daniel Boone, Maria Mitchell, Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller, Louisa May Alcott, Andrew Jackson, FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt, Kit Carson.

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