Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir
Education literature is filled with examples showing how teachers capitalize on the easily accessible genre of biography, autobiography, and memoir. Through biography students and teachers alike gain insight into a life lived in a different time and place but involving emotions, hopes, needs, challenges, and frailties that make us human. Vincent van Gogh: Portrait of an Artist has won multiple awards as an outstanding biography for children and young adults, deservedly so. Kathleen Krull's 2004 picture book biography, A Woman for President: The Story of Victoria Woodhull, will surprise students who do not realize that in the 1800s a woman actually ran for president of the United States. Students familiar with Alice Walker's fiction, essays, and poetry will be happy to know that she writes biography, too. J. S. Watson discusses the value of using a particular type of biographical writing, the memoir, to help students learn history.