Can anyone recommend biographies of musicians for 12 year olds?

Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:08 pm
This is a challenge! I have a student who doesn't like to read much, but does like biographies of musicians. Unfortunately he's read two hardcore biographies a little prematurely. These are not ok with his parents nor with the school (for academic usage). But, we want him to become engaged in reading and there's no better way than to have him read what interests him.

So, are there any age-appropriate musician biographies out there. Are there any from musicians active in the 1960s and beyond? i imagine there might be some good stuff out there on earlier musicians, but I'm not sure he'd be interested.
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Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:38 pm

scroll down Little K - they have Lives of Musicians I think. I am not sure if that is what you are looking for. But we have read many of the athletes biographies listed and I thought they were appropriate.

Edit: No, I was wrong. This is not the one we read. I am still looking. But this one looks interesting.

I didn't read thoroughly either...1960's and beyond. Sorry.
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Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:40 pm
That's a tough one as most musicians lead x-rated lifes. The Beatles might
have PG13 biographies, but the Stones definitely not. Anything from the
80s and 90s isn't appropriate either. Oh wait, I think Jon Bon Jovi has a family
type live situation, but I don't think there is a book available.

Hm, how about Buddy Holly? ABBA?
There is one about John Lennon, that's probably not too bad.
Morton wrote a biography about Madonna.
There is a book about Bob Marley

I haven't read any of them so I don't know if they're childproof.

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Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:42 pm
Thanks, MisMi. His high interest musicians are all post 1960s. And one longer biography (200 pages or so) would fit the bill for some of his classwork. But, I like the idea of those books to build initial interest in readers.
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Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:44 pm
Thanks CJ - the real problem here is that I don't know if the reason he's interested in the music or the lifestyle. But, I told him and his mom I'd put some effort into the search. I am not coming up with much.
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Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:46 pm
I can't think of any G rated rock musicians....How about Mozart?

When I was 10 I was reading all those guys's bios
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Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:47 pm
Thinking, thinking ....

But haven't thought of anything yet, sorry, k .....

So much easier to think of suitable books for adolescents or young adults. 12 years old is hard.
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Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 08:05 pm
Maybe I'll see if I can find Alex Chilton's biography. I'll read it through to see if it's appropriate.
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 08:33 pm
Here are a few more additions to the ones I gave you on Facebook:

This is a long list and I can't tell which ones are and are not for young teens. But, this is a good list of the rock era and those that came after:


Here's another website that will give you leads for similar biographies of rock era musicians. There's a section toward the middle of the page that has a list of Websites By Kids For Kids links that may have further reading suggestions:


They also have this section for teachers where you may find some book recommendations:

Websites For Teachers
Programs for Teachers from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Grades 7-12)

Check out this large set of lesson plans that uses the history of Rock and Roll to teach lessons that span the curriculum and give insight into the significance of the role Rock and Roll has played in the evolution of American society.

Where Did Rock and Roll Come From? from AskEric Lessons

The student will use specialized music reference sources to locate information about the origins of rock and roll.
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Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 08:38 pm
no promises, as I've not read it, but i would guess Tom not to be real graphic...


(i would guess there to also be a Dylan book within your standards, I will look a bit)
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Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 08:40 pm
A littler earlier in the time line. Check out pbskids.org.jazz for bios of Louis and Ella, Benny and Duke written for kids.
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Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 09:48 pm

I don't even know about muscians back from when I was 12,
many decades ago, but he has the right to read anything that he wants,
if he gets a hold of it, regardless of what his parents or any school want. He is not a slave.

The parents and the school teachers can control THEIR OWN reading habits,
not anyone else 's. That is life in a free country.

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Reply Thu 22 Oct, 2009 08:28 am
This ought to help:


Click on Ask a Librarian Chat (I went to the library in your area) and they'll research the books for you while you chat. It's one of my favorite library features.
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Reply Thu 22 Oct, 2009 02:48 pm
Thanks everyone, I'll check the links and leads out........
Reply Thu 22 Oct, 2009 03:09 pm
I haven't read this book, but it has short biographies of some great blues artists that he may love. http://tinyurl.com/ygukdeq
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Reply Thu 22 Oct, 2009 03:50 pm
"Bound for Glory" is older than the 60's but is a very cool book and manages to be edgy without being x-rated:

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