Must-read Biographies for Teens

Don’t forget the stories of Bible characters! Your Church Library or neighborhood Christian bookstore should have some of the titles.

Central Character Title Why Read it?
Hudson Taylor Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret
William Carey William Carey and the Missionary Vision
Lottie Moon Lottie Moon: Giving Her All for China
Adoniram Judson To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson
John Paton, Missionary to the Hebrides King of the Cannibals
Eric Liddell Pure Gold This story was made into a movie: Chariots of Fire. A wonderful story of how a young man was used by God.
Amy Carmichael A Chance to Die: the Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael
The following may not be told from a Christian perspective
Andrew Carnegie The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie and the Gospel of Wealth His story is not interesting because of the fact of him making billions of dollars, but it’s what he did with it. He became the voice of philanthropy, donating a large majority of his fortune to build schools, libraries, and other institutions that helped the public. He encouraged other wealthy individuals to use their fortune for good as well. His message still rings true today.
Benjamin Franklin The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin To understand that your talents aren’t limited. Everyone has multiple talents, you just need to bring them to the light and harness their power.
Thomas Edison Thomas Edison for Kids: His Life and Ideas Thomas shows that failure is a key to success and that a person can have a truly impact on the history of the planet.
Christy Brown My Left Foot Christy was born with cerebral palsy which left him physically limited but not mentally. He could only control the use of his left foot. So what did he do? He harnessed the power of his left foot. He became a painter, poet, and author. His most successful work was his autobiography My Left Foot.
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln: A Man of Faith and Courage Not much needs to be said about President Lincoln.
Randy Pausch The Last Lecture Randy was hit with a circumstance that everyone fears. He was diagnosed with cancer and was given only 6 months of good health left. But unlike most people who are faced with this he didn’t curl up in a ball and cry “why me?” Instead he knew he had a small window of opportunity to leave an important message to his children. He was asked to give his last lecture at his place of work, Carnegie Mellon University. Randy’s lecture “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” was added to YouTube and became a viral hit. The nation became amazed by his message and Randy expanded it with a book of the same name.
Liz Murray Homeless to Harvard Liz was homeless but dreamed of attending the prestigious Harvard University. With perseverance, she found a way.
Fredrick Douglass Narrative of Fredrick Douglass, an American Slave Fredrick was a slave, but he didn’t let his owners enslave his mind. He was illiterate and couldn’t write but he found creative ways to learn without school. When Douglass was freed, he became an author and wrote his autobiography: “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. His story will show you that being able to read and write can change your world and everyone else’s world
Barack Obama Dreams from my Father: a Story of Race and Inheritance Why read it? So that you can connect with him better and understand where his viewpoints are coming from.
Alice Paul Iron Jawed Angels Alice was a women’s suffragist leader that couldn’t be silenced. Her voice was loud enough that it resulted in the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. Why read it or watch it? To understand the struggle she and the women who helped her had to endure. It’s a right that people take for granted but Alice’s story will be sure to change your view.
Helen Keller The Miracle Worker Helen shows just like Christy Brown, that limitations are what we place on ourselves, when we discover this, nothing can stop us.
Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom
Poster at Presbyterian Church Library in Puchong, Malaysia

Poster at Presbyterian Church Library in Puchong, Malaysia

A preliminary list by Maisy Cheng

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