A good George Washington biography can transform a traditionally wooden, serious historical figure into the fascinating, multi-talented man that he really was! Most depictions of Washington show him as-- I don't mean to be disrespectful -- a super serious old guy with no personality. Kids can't relate to that.
The real George Washington was a man full of interests and talents, some quite fascinating to kids (ie... few kids know that he was actually a spymaster extraordinaire!) The George Washington biography books below do an exceptional job of humanizing him so that children can get to know how amazing he really was!
Below are some good chapter books about the life and character of George Washington. If any of these books seem like a good
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Oh Say, I Can't See
(The Time Warp Trio series) The Time Warp Trio are off on another adventure, this time warping back to 1776 just in time to meet up with Washington as he's trying to decide if his army should cross the Delaware. Will it mean disaster or victory? The trio must help save American history without being fingered as spies, plus find a missing cat from the future! Kids will love Scieszka's snappy dialogue and bit of irreverence and humor thrown in. (Grades 2-5)
at Valley Forge
An award winning, gripping look at the miserable months Washington and his troops spent at Valley Forge. Supplies and morale were low, desertions and deaths were high, but Washington's able leadership got the troops through the direst of times. School Library Journal called this George Washington biography for kids "another stunning work from the nonfiction virtuoso." (Grades 4-8)
George Washington's Socks
(Time Travel Adventures series) Another time traveling adventure. This time, it's a mysterious, magical rowboat that transports five children back in time to the decisive Revolutionary War's Battle of Trenton.The kids meet soldiers, leaders and ordinary people, and see first hand the triumphs and grim realities of war. This book is similar in premise to the Time Warp Trio book above, and of the two, we prefer that one over this one. However, this is still a good book and great for Revolutionary War units. (Grades 4-7)
George: The American Revolution as
Seen from Both
This wonderfully illustrated and well written title presents "…an uncommonly balanced view of the American Revolution for younger readers…should be required reading for all young students of American history." (Kirkus Reviews) This book was an American Library Association Notable Children's Book, a School Library Journal Best Book, and Orbis Pictus Recommended Book. (Grades 4-8)
Washington: 25 Projects You Build Yourself
This series is fabulous for adding some hands-on activities to any history unit. This book provides lots of well-written, age appropriate background on Washington's life (timelines, anecdotes, maps, details on his many accomplishments...) PLUS tons of projects to make, like: a pretend sword, a colonial era toy, a letter seal, a quill pen... (and teachers will appreciate that the materials needed are largely stuff you can easily get or even already have! Highly recommended. (Grades 4-7)
Subtitled "How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War." This fun to read book details General George Washington's mastery of codes, ciphers, invisible ink, secret messages, and spying...and how those skills played a deciding role in winning the Revolutionary War. Designed with an authentic 1700's look, this well-documented title will be a hit with students! In a starred review, Booklist called it "handsome, unusual, intriguing." (Grades 6-9)
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