CurriConnects Book List - 100 Leaders

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100 Leaders
Leaders come in all places, times, ages, and genders. Some quietly set an example as they forge new paths into the unknown so others may follow. Others rally people around them to conquer challenges together. Still others create new ways for people to share common experiences and build communities of ideas. This list of leaders includes a wide sampling from politics to literature and the arts to entertainment. Use this list as you study any topic that features leaders: the founding fathers, famous scientists, and more. Encourage students to read about leaders in diverse fields - including the one you are studying -- to compare and discuss what makes someone a successful leader and why people rise to the top among their peers across time, place, and circumstance.

Preschool and Picture Books

What Charlie Heard - Mordicai Gerstein, (978-0374382926), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, Lexile: 330
Charles Ives was the first composer who incorporated the sounds and melodies of the world around him in his music.

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop - Christopher Raschka, (978-0553112030), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 140
Charlie Parker originated bebop music while entertaining the world with his saxophone.

Play, Mozart, Play! - Peter Sis , (978-0061121814), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12
The child prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart learned to listen and play very imaginatively at a young age.

Early Elementary Books

Strange Mr. Satie - M.T. Anderson, (978-0670036370), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 770
Erik's musical innovations changed the use of established musical conventions forever.

Audubon: Painter of Birds in the Wild Frontier - Jennifer Armstrong, (978-0810942387), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 680
This short biography of Audubon stresses his paintings of birds and other wildlife that made him a leader in both wildlife observation and wildlife art.

Now & Ben - Gene Barretta, (978-0805079173), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 910
Many of Franklin's inventions find themselves in today's usage.

The Champ - Tonya Bolden, (978-0440417828), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 820
Muhammad Ali changed his faith and his name en route to becoming one of the leading boxers of the 20th century.

Odd Boy Out - Don Brown, (978-0618492985), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-5
Albert Einstein's thinking led the scientific world to readjust their view of the universe.

One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong - Don Brown, (978-0618152391), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-5, Lexile: 670
From Neil Armstrong's birth in Ohio to his landing on the moon, this book shows the development of an important space leader.

Langston's Train Ride - Robert Burleigh, (978-0439352390), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 690
Langston Hughes became a leader among African American poets by featuring the life of American blacks as the central point of his poems; this book features a journey through the writing of one of his longer tomes.

Leonardo Beautiful Dreamer - Robert Byrd, (978-0525470335), Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-4, Lexile: 1120
Leonardo da Vinci was the prototype Renaissance man, creating masterpieces of art, critically important inventions, and the study of human anatomy among other things.

Woody Guthrie: Poet of the People - Bonnie Christensen, (978-0553112030), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 890
The life of Woody Guthrie included his connecting his many many songs with the poor, the working man, members of labor unions, and the downtrodden, creating a new role for folk music.

Jump!: From the Life of Michael Jordan - Floyd Cooper, (978-0399242304), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 870
Michael Jordan practiced so much as a child that his older brother Larry's challenge to him resulted in the younger boy's victory; his personal determination led him to be the basketball player all younger boys emulated.

Thurgood Marshall: Young Justice - Montrew Dunham, (978-1439506646), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 840
This fictionalized biography highlights the life of the first African American to sit on the Supreme Court in the U.S. federal government.

Mark Twain at Work! - Howard Goldsmith, (978-0689853999), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 530
This story about Mark Twain came from his life and found its way into his most famous book: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Thomas Jefferson and the Ghostriders - Howard Goldsmith, (978-1416926924), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 520
Young Thomas Jefferson was curious about Native Americans; he observed and learned from them.

In the Garden with Dr. Carver - Susan Grigsby, (978-0807536308), Fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 990
George Washington Carver goes to an Alabama elementary school to help children learn to garden in this fictionalized account.

Jackie Robinson and the Big Game - Dan Gutman, (978-0689862403), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, Lexile: 480
Learn about Jackie Robinson's childhood and how he started playing baseball.

Fannie in the Kitchen - Deborah Hopkinson, (978-0689869976), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 380
Fannie Farmer learned to cook while helping an employed cook; she got her idea of writing down recipes with precise measurements and directions from the cook's daughter, and thus she paved the way to modern recipe writing.

The Humblebee Hunter - Deborah Hopkinson, (978-1423113560), Fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 610
Charles Darwin and his children study humblebees that live in their English garden in this fictionalized account of Darwin and his methods.

George Washington: Our First President - Garnet Jackson, (978-0439098670), Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-4, Lexile: 350
This simple biography introduces George Washington, the father of our country.

Eat My Dust: Henry Ford's First Race - Monica Kulling, (978-0375815102), Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-4, Lexile: 360
Henry Ford wanted to use his horseless carriage to win a race so that he could build cars for everyone.

Escape North - Monica Kulling, (978-0375801549), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 440
Harriet Tubman went from a childhood in slavery to being a director for the escape route north known as the Underground Railroad.

Helen Keller and the Big Storm - Patricia Lakin, (978-1442016026), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-8, Lexile: 410
This book tells the story of how Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller's teacher, rescued the young girl.

Ray Charles - Sharon Bell Mathis, (978-1584300182), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 420
Ray Charles overcame his blindness and the taunts of other children to become a leader in jazz and blues performance.

Different like Coco - Elizabeth Matthews, (978-0763625481), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-6, Lexile: 990
Coco Chanel's life was all about being different; her leadership in the world of fashion remains a fact today.

Benjamin Franklinstein Meets Thomas Deadison - Matthew McElligott, (978-0399254819), Fiction
Interest level: 4-6
When a light bulb company tries to take over the brains and thinking of Philadelphia, Ben comes to the rescue.

Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares - Frank Murphy, (978-0375806216), Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-3, Lexile: 400
Read about the history of Franklin's inventing the magic squares to amuse himself and learn how to create your own.

I've Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Walter Dean Myers, (978-0060277031), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 1010
Read about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Skit Scat Raggedy Cat - Roxanne Orgill, (978-0763617332), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 820
Ella ended up in an orphanage after losing her parents and finding no relatives that would care for her. On her own in New York City at a young age, she found poetry and music and began performing in an original style, some of which can be found in this book.

Galileo's Journal - Jeanne Pettenati, (978-1570918797), Fiction
Interest level: 1-4, Lexile: 660
The fictionally-created diary talks about the year Galileo made the first telescope and started annotating his observations.

Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa - Andrea Pinckney, (978-0786805686), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 520
Ella Fitzgerald's original style had immense impact on many aspects of today's music.

Boycott Blues - Andrea Davis Pinkney, (978-0060821180), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 560
The author describes Rosa Park's experience with riding in the front of the bus and her role in supporting the civil rights movement.

What Presidents Are Made Of - Hanoch Piven, (978-1442444331), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-6, Lexile: 980
This book explores the personalities of the men who grew to lead our country as President.

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Doreen Rappaport, (978-1423106357), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 410
This simple biography appeals to readers of all ages by relating information about the life and accomplishments of MLK, using his own words to show the power of his rhetoric.

Starry Messenger - Peter Sis, (978-0374371913), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 830
This biography describes the life of Galileo who changed the world's thinking about the earth being the center of the universe.

Black Jack: The Ballad of Jack Johnson - Charles R. Smith, (978-1596434738), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 980
Jack Johnson, an African-American fighter, became the first black heavyweight world champ.

Make Your Mark, Franklin Roosevelt! - Judith St. George, (978-0399241758), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-5, Lexile: 690
Franklin Roosevelt's wealthy beginnings and his famous uncle led to his having political ambitions and accomplishing great things.

So You Want to Be an Inventor? - Judith St. George, (978-0142404607), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-12, Lexile: 840
Find out what personal characteristics inventors share.

Jesse Owens: Fastest Man Alive - Carole Boston Weatherford, (978-0802795502), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-6, Lexile: 880
Jesse Owens was a leader among runners, African-American athletes, and Olympic medalists.

I Could Do That: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote - Linda Arms White, (978-0374335274), Fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 780
Esther Morris led the state of Oregon to becoming the first state to allow women to vote.

Frida - Jonah Winter, (978-0590203203), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 280
Frida Kahlo's original approach to colorful and distinctive paintings helped her to deal with the multiple tragedies of her life as well as its triumphs.

Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx - Jonah Winter, (978-1442403031), Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-4, Lexile: 840
Sonia Sotomayor worked hard as a child in her single mother's home, keeping her goal of becoming a judge in her mind.

Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

Satchel Paige: Don't Look Back - David Adler, (978-0152055851), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 840
Satchel Paige paved the way for many African American baseball players who followed him into the Major Leagues.

The Tallest Tree - Sandra Belton, (978-0060527501), Fiction
Interest level: 2-6, Lexile: 730
A group of neighborhood boys who hear about Paul Robeson work to reclaim the older town theater building in honor of Robeson's life.

Through My Eyes: Ruby Bridges - Ruby Bridges, (978-0590189231), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 860
Ruby Bridges tells the story of her elementary years in her own words, focusing on her leadership in integrating New Orleans schools.

Crazy Horse's Vision - Joseph Bruchac, (978-1591129110), Fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 420
This fictionalized biography tells the story of Crazy Horse as a young men who grew up to lead the Lakota people.

When Washington Crossed the Delaware - Lynn Cheney, (978-1442444232), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 860
George Washington changed history by proving to be a valuable leader as he assisted his men to cross the Delaware and beat the British.

The Magic School Bus and the Science Fair Expedition - Joanna Cole, (978-0590108249), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 530
Mrs. Frizzle's class takes a trip to visit scientific leaders from the past so the students can use their ideas for science fair projects.

The Yellow Star - Carmen Agra Deedy, (978-1561452088), Fiction
Interest level: 2-6, Lexile: 550
This book tells the story of Christian X who led the Danish resistance to the Reich during the World War II years.

John Muir: Young Naturalist - Montrew Dunham, (978-1439508497), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 890
John Muir led the conservation movement in the U.S. and increased awareness of the importance of preserving natural spaces by founding Yosemite National Park.

Ronald Reagan: Young Leader - Montrew Dunham, (978-1439506639), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 980
Ronald Reagan's life in the public eye began when he was a movie star and changed his career to include politics.

Sacagawea - Liselotte Erdrich, (978-0876146460), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-6, Lexile: 840
Sacagawea, a native Shoshone, ended up working with Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition in the middle of the American plains.

March on! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World - Christine King Farris, (978-0545035378), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 860
Dr. King's sister describes the great Freedom March in Washington DC and her brother's famous speech.

Escape!: The Story of the Great Houdini - Sid Fleischman, (978-0060850944), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-12, Lexile: 940
Harry Houdini's life was full of amazing escapes, magic tricks, and great show business accomplishments; all magicians who followed Houdini had to do better than he did!

The Adventures of Marco Polo - Russell Freedman, (978-0439523943), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-9, Lexile: 1270
Marco Polo led Westerners to a route to and trade with China.

Lincoln, A Photobiography - Russell Freedman, (978-0395518489), Non-fiction
Interest level: 4-7, Lexile: 1040
This take on Lincoln's biography is interesting and supported with many photos.

Lincoln: A Photobiography - Russell Freedman, (978-0395518489), Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-12, Lexile: 1040
This book's use of many authentic photos makes telling the story of the life and accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln interesting and vivid.

The Voice That Challenged a Nation - Russell Freedman, (547-480342), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-12, Lexile: 1180
Marian Anderson's writings and accounts from journalism and personal sources create a vivid picture of this woman who crusaded for African American artist rights.

Make Way for Sam Houston - Jean Fritz, (978-0698116467), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-6, Lexile: 1010
Sam Houston's colorful life including his roles as a fighter in the war with Mexico, a governor, and a senator.

Rosa - Nikki Giovanni, (978-0312376024), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 900
The author pays tribute to Rosa Park and her role in supporting the civil rights movement.

The Legend of Mexicati - Jo Harper, (978-1890515218), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7
Mexicati led his followers to a spot he had seen in a dream to found the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan or modern-day Mexico City

Theodore - Frank Keating, (978-0689865329), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-6, Lexile: 720
Enjoy reading about Theodore Roosevelt's life beginning with his important childhood.

Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez - Kathleen Krull, (978-0152014377), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-6, Lexile: 800
Cesar Chavez' life changed considerably from the time he lived with his parents on their American ranch to the time he awakened the country to the rights of migrant workers with his protest against their shameful working conditions.

Isaac Newton - Kathleen Krull, (978-0670059218), Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-8, Lexile: 1000
Newton's brilliance was tempered by his personal weaknesses, and the time he lived in featured colorful challenges including the plague, the Great Fire of London, and immense political unrest.

Leonardo da Vinci - Kathleen Krull, (978-0670059201), Non-fiction
Interest level: 4-12, Lexile: 1010
This book looks at Da Vinci's notebooks and writings for a peek at his inventions, observations, thoughts, studies, and experiments.

Sigmund Freud - Kathleen Krull, (978-0670058921), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-9, Lexile: 1080
Sigmund Freud originated the theory of the id, ego, and superego, and pioneered the practice of psychoanalysis.

The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Become Dr. Seuss - Kathleen Krull, (978-0375822988), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-6, Lexile: 950
Dr. Seuss' early life gives clues to his eventual smashing success as an innovator in children's literature and illustration.

Wilma Unlimited - Kathleen Krull, (978-0152020989), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-8, Lexile: 730
Wilma Rudolph, an African-American, overcame the challenges of a low birth weight, childhood polio, and having to wear a leg brace to become one of the fastest women runners, winning 3 Olympic Gold medals at the same games.

Hammerin' Hank: The Life of Hank Greenberg - Yona Zeldis McDonough, (802-789978), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-6, Lexile: 920
Henry Greenberg persisted in his dream of becoming a baseball player, despite the fact that there had never been another Jewish man to achieve this.

Peaceful Protest: The Life of Nelson Mandela - Yona Zeldis McDonough, (978-0802789488), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-5
Nelson Mandela continued being a great leader despite spending many years in prison and eventually became the first black president of South African after he managed to outlaw apartheid.

Invincible Louisa - Cornelia Meigs, (978-0316565943), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 1150
This book describes Alcott's early life which figured significantly in her books as well as covering the time when she became a successful author.

Be Water, My Friend: The Early Years of Bruce Lee - Ken Mochizuki, (978-1584302650), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 790
Bruce Lee began training early in martial arts and combined that with making films as his expertise grew.

Who Was Steve Jobs? - Pam Pollack, (978-0448462110), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-7, Lexile: 660
Steve Jobs, along with another man, founded the Apple Company and revolutionized the computer industry.

Only Passing Through - Anne Rockwell, (978-0440417668), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-5, Lexile: 790
Sojourner Truth overcame her birth status in slavery and soared to become a strong voice in the abolitionist movement as well as a well-respected writer.

The Tree of Life - Peter Sis, (978-0374456283), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-12, Lexile: 890
Readers learn about Darwin's life and accomplishments, including being the originator of the theory of natural selection, by viewing Darwin's journals and other writings.

So You Want to Be President? - Judith St. George, (978-0399234071), Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-12, Lexile: 730
This book discusses the characteristics of former U.S. Presidents as well as the requirements for having the job.

Stand Tall Abe Lincoln - Judith St. George, (978-0399241741), Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-4, Lexile: 660
Abe Lincoln's early life had a great influence on the leader he became.

Ted Kennedy: Lion of the Senate - George Stanley, (978-1416990413), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-8, Lexile: 1170
Kennedy's biography highlights his 46 years in the U.S. Senate and his childhood growing up in an influential family.

Buffalo Bill: Frontier Daredevil - Augusta Stevenson, (978-0689714795), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 480
Buffalo Bill is famous for his wild west shows, his leadership on the Pony Express mail delivery system, his scouting, and his buffalo hunting.

Madam President - Catherine Thimmesh, (978-0618971435), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-12, Lexile: 1150
This book features information about the lives of several American political leaders who happened to be women; it shows how female leadership has been strong but often unnoticed.

Wise Guy: The Life and Philosophy of Socrates - Mark David Usher, (978-0374312497), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-12, Lexile: 1060
This book shows how Socrates developed the method of questioning that he believed led to wisdom and insight.

Middle School to Young Adult Books

Little Women - Louisa May Alcott, (978-1593081089), Fiction
Interest level: 5-12, Lexile: 1300
This book's contents reveal many of the details of Louisa May Alcott's life with her non-traditional family.

Wake Up Our Souls: A Celebration of Black American Artists - Tonya Bolden, (978-0810945272), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 1190
This book provides a history of black artists beginning in the times of slavery.

Great Expectations - Charles Dickens, (978-0486415864), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
The life of Pip includes beginning as a child living in poverty and being sponsored by an eccentric but wealthy woman with a mysterious adopted daughter.

Anne Frank's Tales from the Secret Annex - Anne Frank, (978-0553586381), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 950
This book includes Anne Frank's other notebooks which, in addition to her famous diary, provide insights into her person, the Jewish situation in WWII, and her writing talent.

The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank , (978-0553296983), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 1080
Anne Frank's actual diary, recovered after the war, reveals what it was like to grow up a Jew in hiding in Holland during WWII.

Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop - Jan Greenberg, (978-0385732758), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 1120
Andy Warhol left behind his beginnings in poverty to become a Pop culture leader, creating art, films, and a leftist magazine.

Charles and Emma - Deborah Heiligman, (978-0312661045), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12
This book tells the story of Darwin's marriage to his cousin after a scientific weighing of the pros and cons of such a wedding and includes the effects his theory of evolution and her strong faith had on his ideas.

Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath - Stephanie Hemphill, (978-0375837999), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12
Sylvia Plath's life in fictional form reveals her childhood problems, her marriage, her writing, and her battle with thoughts of suicide.

Barak Obama: The Comic Book Biography - Jeff Mariotte, (978-1600105302), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12
This book covers Obama's life from childhood until the first 100 days of his first term as President in comic book form.

Carver: A Life in Poems - Marilyn Nelson, (978-1886910539), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 890
This poetry collection offers an insider's view of George Washington Carver, his accomplishments, inventions, and companions.

E.E. Cummings: A Poet's Life - Catherine Reef, (978-0618568499), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 1130
E.E. Cummings grew up to be a leader in breaking out of conventional poetry style when he wrote with no capital letters and illustrated some of his own work.

Books for Mature Teens and Adults

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin - Benjamin Franklin, (978-0486290737), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12
This autobiography covers Franklin's life, thoughts, inventions, and ideas.

Gandhi: The Story of My Experiment with Truth - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, (978-1463694876), Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Gandhi's autobiography includes the events of his beginnings as a humble civil servant to being the first leader of the modern India, as well as his philosophy of nonviolence and love.

Impatient Optimist: Bill Gates in His Own Words - Bill Gates, (978-1932841718), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12
Bill Gates, the founder of the Microsoft empire, lead the world to its present state of computer love, insisting on the importance of developing software and predicting the rise of personal computing.

Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson, (978-1451648539), Non-fiction
Interest level: 10-12, Lexile: 1080
Steve Jobs, along with another man, founded the Apple Company and revolutionized the computer industry.

The Moon and Sixpence - W. Somerset Maugham, (978-1477639795), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12
This fictionalized account of Gauguin's life begins with Charles Strickland as a banker whose artistic yearnings lead him to abandon his family and life in England for Paris and Tahiti where he creates original works.

Dreams from My Father - Barack Obama, (978-1400082773), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12
President Obama writes candidly about his unusual upbringing in Hawaii, his struggles to find himself despite his father's domineering mien, his early work as a community organizer, and his development as a political leader and writer.

The Agony and The Ecstasy - Irving Stone , (978-0451213235), Fiction
Interest level: 9-12
This sweeping novel portrays the life of one of history's greatest artist, Michelangelo, as well as vividly painting a picture of the artistic ferment of the Italian Renaissance.

A Lust for Life - Irving Stone, (978-0452262492), Fiction
Interest level: 9-12
This fictionalized account of Van Gogh's tortured life includes information about his relationship with his brother and with other impressionist painters as well as details about his mental problems which resulted in his cutting off his own ear and later, committing suicide.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X - Malcolm X, (978-0141185439), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12
Malcolm X shared the story of his growing up in Harlem, his interest in African-American social power, and his participation in beginning the Black Power movement.