Blogger Lisa Taylor

Oh, no! It’s the biography assignment!

Yes, it’s that time of year again in my town – time for the annual biography assignment.  Rather than vent, as I have in years past (herehere, and here), this year, I decided to Venn.   In any case, I hope you get a chuckle out of it.

The biography assignment

While my Venn diagram may be tongue-in-cheek, it does highlight an annual dilemma for students, teachers, and librarians – how to satisfactorily satisfy everyone’s needs.  Here are my suggestions; I hope to hear yours.

For teachers:

Consider the following:

  • Lower the page number requirement.
  •  Allow picture book biographies in conjunction with supplemental information from quality databases or encyclopedias if the book is insufficient.
  • Allow graphic novels. Some are better than traditional biographies!
  • Consult with your school or public librarian before assigning the project – two heads are better than one.

For librarians:

  • Read more biographies. A good booktalk is worth its weight in gold.
  • Prepare to inspire! If you don’t have the book the student wants, suggest another one. (see above)
  • Call the teacher or your public school counterpart and ask how you may be helpful (two heads, remember?)



  1. Linda Klein

    My Venn diagram would show every student wanting to do Helen Keller or Anne Frank. After the first few kids raid the shelves, it’s time to get creative!

  2. Julie

    Annually I dread the “dress up as your person” bio given to many, many third graders because they all just want to be a sports person for whatever sport they play. Though I will always love the teacher who allowed my Pilgrim obsessed daughter do her report on Sarah Morton.

    1. Lisa

      My eldest daughter had to be Benjamin Franklin! She still complains about it 10 years later! 😉

  3. Julie Dietzel-Glair

    I’ve always gotten a chuckle out of the confusion between biography and autobiography. Luckily there have always been a small enough number of those to fulfill the request for the child/parent that insisted it had to be an autobiography. And many thanks to the student/parent that brought the assignment sheet in with them so I could tactfully point out the difference.

    1. Lisa

      I would venture to say that a large percentage of kids arrive at the library thinking that they’re required to read an autobiography – Jon Scieszka’s Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up to the rescue!

  4. academic essay

    This one is good for getting information parts of biography.

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