Wolfner :: Recommended Readings :: Youth Bibliographies :: Presidential Biographies

Presidential Biographies

January 2016

To order any of these titles, contact the library by email, mail, or phone. You may also request these titles online through WolfPAC. Identification numbers for braille books begin with BR, large print books begin with LP and audiobooks begin with DB. All audio books and some braille books listed are linked to the Braille and Audio Reading Download site (BARD) for downloading. Happy Reading!


Preschool to Grade 2

Thomas Jefferson: Father of Our Democracy: A First Biography by David A. Adler

DB 27873

Read by John C. Reed. Reading time: 32 minutes.

This simple account of Jefferson's life describes his early years as well as his accomplishments as architect, inventor, ambassador, president, and author of the Declaration of Independence. 1987.

Kindergarten to Grade 3

Honest Abe Lincoln: Easy-to-Read Stories about Abraham Lincoln by David A. Adler

BR 18785; 1 volume braille. Volume 1.

Biography of U.S. president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) tells how he got the nickname "Honest Abe," how he helped both people and animals, why he grew a beard, and why he was shot and killed. Seven short chapters. 2009.

Grades 2 to 4

Barack Obama: An American Story by Roberta Edwards

LP 2061

Biography of Barack Obama, the 44th president, who made history with his election as the first African-American President of the United States. Illustrated by Ken Call. 2009.


Barack Obama: Out of Many, One by Shana Corey

BR 52012; web-braille not available. 

An easy reader biography of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. Print/braille. 2007.


George Did It by Suzanne Jurmain

DB 62532

Read by Judith Ann Gantly. Reading time: 22 minutes.

Explains that George Washington did not want to be the first president of the new country. Discusses why he was unsure at first and then later accepted the position. Describes his trip to New York--the nation's original capital--and his swearing-in ceremony. 2006.


Meet John F. Kennedy by Nancy Bean White

BR 50623; web-braille not available. 

A biography of President John F. Kennedy. 1993.

Grades 3 to 6

Barack Obama: Our 44th President by Beatrice Gormley

BR 51955; web-braille not available. 

Biography about the forty-fourth president of the United States. 2008.


Dwight D. Eisenhower: Thirty-fourth President of the United States by Jim Hargrove

DB 30392

Read by Jon Beryl. Reading time: 1 hour, 49 minutes.

When Ike was just a baby, his family moved from Texas to Kansas, where he grew up. Although Ike preferred sports to school work, he had a gift for math and loved to read about ancient wars. A West Point graduate, Ike was put in charge of all the armies sent to fight Hitler in Europe during WWII, and became a hero. He was elected president in 1953. 1987.


George Washington: A Picture Book Biography by James Giblin

BR 13642; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

A short biography of the first president of the United States. Relates his love of home and family and his sense of duty to his country. Describes his boyhood, his military experiences, and his leadership qualities. Includes the cherry tree myth. 1992.


Harry S. Truman: Thirty-third President of the United States by Jim Hargrove

DB 30391

Read by Jon Beryl. Reading time: 1 hour, 50 minutes. Harry Truman was born in Missouri in 1884. At an early age  he began to wear glasses. Because he was afraid he would break them at play, reading became his favorite activity. His eyesight kept him from being accepted at military academies, and he could not afford to pay for college. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt died in 1945 he became president. 1987.


The Revolutionary John Adams by Cheryl Harness

DB 60902

Read by Erik Synnestvedt. Reading time: 52 minutes.

A biography of John Adams, the second president of the United States. Describes his activities in the Second Continental Congress, his role in the American Revolution, and his respect for patriotic duty above all else. 2003.

Grades 4 to 7

Benjamin Franklin, American Genius: His Life and Ideas, with Twenty-one Activities by Brandon Marie Miller

DB 70737

Read by Andy Pyle. Reading time: 5 hours, 14 minutes.

Biography of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) highlights his self-reliance from age seventeen on and his roles as a printer, writer, scientist, inventor, and diplomat. Discusses his political views and work on the Declaration of Independence. Activities include craft, cooking, and science projects appropriate to Franklin's era. 2010.


First Kids: The True Stories of All the Presidents' Children by Noah McCullough

BR 51974; web-braille not available. 

First Kids are kids like any other. Discover likes and dislikes and learn about the games they played and the vegetables they hated. 2008.


George Washington: The Man Who Would Not Be King by Stephen Krensky

BR 51843; web-braille not available. 

In this biography of George Washington, readers learn how this modest man led the American Revolution and later became our first president. 1991.


Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman

DB 58762

Read by Todd Scofield. Reading time: 2 hours, 58 minutes.

Biography of sixteenth U.S. president. Describes his rise from humble beginnings in rural Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois to become a self-educated lawyer, state representative, and, in 1860, president. Highlights Lincoln's Civil War leadership before his 1865 assassination. Newbery Medal. 1987.

Grades 5 to 8

Abraham Lincoln by George Sullivan

BR 51724; web-braille not available. 

Presents a biography, including excerpts from his speeches, letters, and other writings, of the man who was President during the Civil War. In Their Own Words series. 2000.


Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States by Rebecca Stefoff

BR 08007; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Lincoln was born in 1809 in a log cabin in Kentucky. Frontier life was hard, and he was able to attend school for only a few months. But Lincoln developed a thirst for knowledge and worked hard to educate himself. As a young man he became interested in politics and law. As president, he would lead the nation through its only civil war. 1989.


Andrew Johnson 17th President of the United States by Rita Stevens

BR 08008; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

No president had more humble origins than Andrew Johnson, born in North Carolina in 1808. His family lived in a borrowed shack, and he was unable to attend school for even a day. At thirteen he became a tailor's apprentice. Later, he moved to Tennessee and became involved in politics. He succeeded Lincoln as president. 1989.


Barack Obama: Working to Make a Difference by Marlene Targ Brill

DB 65433

Read by Michele Schaeffer. Reading time: 51 minutes.

Biography of U.S. senator from Illinois, from his childhood to his announcement to run for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Chronicles his school years and his early career promoting civil rights. Describes his experiences as the child of a white mother and an African father. 2006.


Benjamin Harrison: 23rd President of the United States by Rita Stevens

BR 08014; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Benjamin Harrison was born in 1833 in Ohio. His great-grandfather was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, his grandfather was the ninth president, and his father was a member of Congress. After graduating from college and passing the bar, Benjamin moved to Indiana. A Civil War hero, he was elected to the Senate in 1881, and became president in 1888. 1989.


Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt! by Jean Fritz

LP 01195

Follows the life of the dynamic twenty-sixth president, discussing his conservation work, hunting expeditions, family life, and political career. 1991.


Calvin Coolidge: 30th President of the United States by Rita Stevens

BR 08021; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

John Calvin Coolidge born on July 4, 1872, in Plymouth, Vermont, was the eldest of two children. After graduating from Amherst College he clerked in a law office and passed the bar in 1897. He entered local politics and became governor of Massachusetts in 1919. Elected to the vice presidency one year later, he became president upon the death of Harding. 1990.


Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States by Rita Stevens

BR 08012; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Arthur was born in 1829 in Vermont. His father was a Baptist minister and the family moved often. Taught at home by his father, he later graduated from Union College. After teaching a few years, he moved to New York to clerk for a prominent lawyer and abolitionist. As vice-president, he became president upon Garfield's assassination. 1989.


Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States by Rafaela Ellis

BR 08025; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1.

Eisenhower grew up in a small Kansas town. Although money was scarce, Ike and his five brothers enjoyed a happy childhood. When Ike was twenty-one, he enrolled in West Point. During World War II he became Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in western Europe, second only to Roosevelt and Churchill in power. He served as president from 1953-61. 1989.


Franklin D. Roosevelt by Don Nardo

DB 46895

Read by Randy Davidson. Reading time: 2 hours, 53 minutes.

Biography of the only U.S. president who was elected to four terms in office. Describes how Roosevelt contracted poliomyelitis years before his presidency. Although his rivals in the New York governor's race tried to use his physical disability to discredit him, Roosevelt proved to be an effective campaigner and a respected leader. 1996.


Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States by Miriam Greenblatt

BR 08023; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt was born in 1882 into a wealthy, well-known New York family. Shortly after finishing the Columbia School of Law, he was elected to the New York State Senate. At the age of thirty-nine polio paralyzed his legs, but he did not let that stop him. He was the only president elected to four terms, serving from 1933 until his death in 1945. 1989.


Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Russell Freedman

DB 33341

Read by Art Metzler. Reading time: 3 hours, 55 minutes.

"The man who could not walk became the leader of a country paralyzed by uncertainty and despair." Freedman presents the life and times of the dynamic and controversial president in a cogent, even-handed manner. Against the backdrop of the Great Depression and World War II, FDR's public stances, and private convictions are compared and discussed, and his human frailties are also delineated. 1990.


Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the United States by Fern G. Brown

BR 08005; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Franklin Pierce was born in 1804 in New Hampshire. The Pierce home, which also served as an inn and tavern, was a very lively place. After graduating from Bowdoin College, Pierce became a law apprentice. The same year that he was admitted to the bar his father was elected governor of New Hampshire, and Pierce's political rise began. 1989.


George H.W. Bush: 41st President of the United States by Rebecca Stefoff

BR 08032; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

George Herbert Walker Bush was born on June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts, the second eldest of four sons and one daughter. In the spring of 1944, he became the youngest pilot in the U.S. Navy, and earned several medals. When he returned from the war, he married Barbara Pierce and enrolled at Yale University. He was elected president in 1988. 1990.


George Washington, 1st President of the United States by Lucille Falkof

BR 07992; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Washington was born in 1732 in Virginia. When he was six, his half-brother, Lawrence, returned from England. George was captivated by his brother, whose service in the military convinced George that he, too, was meant for military life. Many years later he would become commander-in-chief of the American forces in the War of Independence. 1989.


Gerald R. Ford, 38th President of the United States by David R. Collins

BR 08029; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Ford was born in Nebraska on July 14, 1913, and named Leslie King, Jr. Two years later his parents divorced, and he and his mother moved to Michigan. His mother remarried, and his name was changed to Gerald R. Ford, Jr. Upon the resignation of Nixon, Ford became the first president never elected to the presidency or the vice-presidency. 1990.


Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States by David R. Collins

BR 08013; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Grover Cleveland was born in 1837 in New Jersey, and soon moved to New York. One of nine children, he grew up as "a minister's kid." When he was sixteen his father died, and he went to work at the New York Institution for the Blind in New York City. After serving as governor of New York, he was elected president in 1884 and again in 1892. 1988.


Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States by David R. Collins

BR 08024; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Harry S. Truman was born in 1884 in Missouri. Because he wore thick glasses and loved to read, he was often teased by the other boys. After finishing high school he went to work because he could not afford college. In 1944, after serving in the Senate, he was elected vice-president. When President F. D. Roosevelt died in 1945, Truman became president. 1988.


Herbert C. Hoover, 31st President of the United States by Barbara Garland Polikoff

BR 08022; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Herbert Hoover was born on August 10, 1874, in West Branch, Iowa. He graduated from Stanford University with a degree in engineering and worked all over the world. Elected president in 1928, he was denounced for opposing federal aid to starving Americans during the Great Depression. He was defeated in 1932 and left office embittered. 1990.


Jack: The Early Years of John F. Kennedy by Ilene Cooper

DB 59399

Read by Anne Hancock. Reading time: 4 hours, 42 minutes.

A biography covering the boyhood years of Jack Kennedy, who later became the thirty-fifth president of the United States. Describes his growing up in a wealthy, Catholic family as the second-oldest of nine children, his chronic health problems, school experience, and youthful pranks and escapades. 2003.


James A. Garfield: 20th President of the United States by Fern G. Brown

BR 08011; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

James Abram Garfield was born on November 19, 1831, in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. His father died when he was a toddler, and he and his brother and two sisters worked hard helping his mother farm. James's mother believed that he was destined for greatness, and insisted that he be educated. He was elected president in 1880 and was assassinated in 1881. 1990.


James Buchanan: 5th President of the United States by David R. Collins

BR 08006; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

James Buchanan was born in 1791 in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania. Elected to the presidency in 1856, he brought more than forty years of experience in public service to the office. Within days of his inauguration the Supreme Court delivered its pro-slavery decision in the Dred Scott case. Buchanan was shocked and burdened by the anger and hostility it created. 1990.


James E. Carter, 39th President of the United States by Daniel A. Richman

BR 08030; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Jimmy Carter was born in 1924 in Plains, Georgia, and grew up on a 350-acre farm. His childhood dream was to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. Accepted when he was eighteen, he became an officer upon graduation, and later served as an aide to Adm. Rickover. After the death of his father he returned to Plains and began his rise to the presidency. 1989.


James K. Polk, 11th President of the United States by Miriam Greenblatt

BR 08002; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Polk was born in 1795 in North Carolina, and later moved with his family to Tennessee. At the age of eighteen he began school, determined to make up for lost time. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, he returned to Tennessee, became a clerk with a prominent lawyer and politician, and soon began his own political rise. 1988.


James Madison, 4th President of the United States by Barbara Garland Polikoff

BR 07995; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

James Madison was born in Virginia in 1751. The eldest of twelve children, Jemmy loved to walk among the trees at Montpelier, the family home. After graduating from Princeton, he returned to Virginia and entered politics. Madison served as chief recorder at the Constitutional Convention, and is known as the "Father of the Constitution." 1989.


James Monroe, 5th President of the United States by Rebecca Stefoff

BR 07996; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

James Monroe was born in 1758 in Virginia. Two years after he enrolled at the College of William and Mary, the Revolutionary War began and eighteen year old Monroe enlisted in the Continental Army. After serving as governor of Virginia, he was appointed minister to France and helped make the Louisiana Purchase. As president, he put forth the Monroe Doctrine. 1988.


John Adams, 2nd President of the United States by Rebecca Stefoff

BR 07993; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

John Adams was born in 1735 in Massachusetts, the eldest of three sons. His father was a deacon in the local Congregational Church and John had a strict, Puritan upbringing. As a young lawyer, he became involved in the fight for American independence. He would later serve as the first ambassador to Great Britain and as president. 1988.


John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States by Lucille Falkof

BR 08026; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

John Kennedy was born in 1917 in Massachusetts. Both of his grandfathers were influential Boston politicians. After graduating from Harvard, he served in the Navy during World War II and became a hero. In 1947 he was elected to Congress. His presidency is noted for the "Cuban Missle Crisis" and for civil rights gains. 1988.


John Quincy Adams: 6th President of the United States by Miriam Greenblatt

BR 07997; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

John Quincy Adams was born in Braintree, Massachusetts, on July 11, 1767. His family had lived in Massachusetts for more than one hundred years and was quite prominent. John Quincy's career in public service began with his appointment as ambassador to the Netherlands in 1794. He also served as secretary of state before becoming president. 1990.


John Tyler, 10th President of the United States by Lucille Falkof

BR 08001; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

John Tyler was born into a well-educated and affluent family in Charles City County, Virginia, on March 29, 1790. He graduated from William and Mary College in 1807 and was admitted to the bar in 1809, the year that his father became governor of Virginia. Elected vice president in 1840, Tyler became president in 1841 upon the death of Harrison. 1990.


Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States by Lucille Falkof

BR 08027; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Lyndon Johnson was born in 1908 in the "Hill Country" of Texas. His father, a member of the Texas House of Representatives, often took him to legislative sessions. In 1937, Lyndon himself was elected to the U.S. Congress. He became president on the death of John Kennedy, and worked hard for civil rights and welfare legislation. 1989.


Martin Van Buren: 8th President of the United States by Rafaela Ellis

BR 07999; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Martin Van Buren was born in 1782 in a small Dutch community in New York. Although Martin was needed to work in his family's tavern, he finished the academy and became a law apprentice when he was fourteen. He soon discovered politics and moved to New York City where he became a notable lawyer and politician. He was elected president in 1836. 1989.


Millard Fillmore: 13th President of the United States by Kevin Law

BR 08004; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Millard Fillmore was born on January 7, 1800, in Cayuga County, New York. As a young boy he worked hard on the farm that his family leased. At fourteen he was apprenticed to a clothmaker. When he was nineteen he became a clerk in a law office and was admitted to the bar in 1823. He became president in 1850 upon the death of Zachary Taylor. 1990.


The New Big Book of U.S. Presidents by Todd Davis and Marc Frey

BR 14842; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Biographical sketches of all the American presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush. Provides interesting facts for each presidency, such as prominent contemporaries, political happenings, and notable events. 2000.


Richard M. Nixon: 37th President of the United States by Rebecca Stefoff

BR 08028; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Richard Nixon was born into a working-class Quaker family in California on January 9, 1913, the second of five sons. Nixon was an excellent, hardworking student. He began his political career in 1946 after returning from World War II, and was elected president in 1968. Reelected in 1972, he became the first president to resign from office.


Ronald W. Reagan: 40th President of the United States by Neal E. Robbins

BR 08031; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Ronald Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois. His family moved often because his father's alcoholism kept him from holding a job for very long. After college Reagan worked as a radio sports announcer before beginning his twenty-seven-year career as a motion picture actor. He was elected president in 1980.


Rutherford B. Hayes: 19th President of the United States by Neal E. Robbins

BR 08010; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Hayes was born in Ohio in 1822 ten weeks after the death of his father. A sickly child, Rud was very close to his sister Fanny, who urged him to become "somebody important." A Harvard Law School graduate, Civil War hero, and governor of Ohio, he was elected president in the most controversial election in the nation's history.


Grades 6 to 9

George Washington and the Founding of a Nation by Albert Marrin

BR 13755; 3 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. 

Candid biography of America's first president portrayed in the context of his times. Describes Washington's family and military career as well as his attitude towards slavery. Investigates the social, economic, and political forces that led to the colonists' rebellion against their king and Washington's role in the new nation. 2001.


The Great Adventure: Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of Modern America by Albert Marrin

DB 66916

Read by Patrick Downer. Reading time: 11 hours, 5 minutes.

Examines the life, political career, and legacy of the twenty-sixth U.S. president, Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919). Discusses his illnesses and determination to lead an adventurous life. Explains his expansion of presidential powers, conservation of natural resources, and promotion of the nation as a world power. 2007.


The Great Little Madison by Jean Fritz

DB 31862

Read by David Impastato. Reading time: 3 hours, 37 minutes.

James Madison was a small, pale, sickly child with a weak voice. But he did not let that stop him. Although he never grew very big and his voice always remained weak, he became known as the "Father of the Constitution" and served as the fourth president of the United States.


Old Hickory: Andrew Jackson and the American People by Albert Marrin

DB 59917

Read by Robert Sams. Reading time: 10 hours, 54 minutes.

Biography of the seventh president of the United States. Places him in the social and political context of the early nineteenth century. Discusses Jackson's backwoods upbringing, military achievements, and forceful personality. Considers Jacksonian society's attitude toward Native Americans, slaves, women, and hygiene. 2004.


Theodore Roosevelt: A Twentieth-century Life by Michael L. Cooper

BR 18717; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Biography of the twenty-sixth United States president, Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919). Describes Roosevelt's overcoming severe asthma as a child and becoming a man of high spirits with a sense of adventure, who demonstrated courage on the battlefield. Discusses his family life, political career, and conservation efforts. 2009.

Junior and Senior High

Andrew Jackson and His America by Milton Meltzer

DB 42161

Read by Brian Conn. Reading time: 5 hours, 7 minutes.

Biography of the controversial frontiersman, Indian fighter, military hero, and seventh president of the United States. Covers Jackson's humble birth and early backwoods life; his military career in the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, where he earned the nickname "Old Hickory"; his election to the presidency in 1828; and his contribution to U.S. history as the first populist president.


Barack Obama by Sherri Devaney and Mark Devaney

DB 64442

Read by Chuck Young. Reading time: 2 hours, 17 minutes.

Biography of the biracial Illinois senator who became a Democratic candidate for the 2008 presidential election. Describes Obama's childhood, education including Harvard Law School, early experiences as a community organizer, and later career as a state senator and congressman. 2007.


Barack Obama: The Politics of Hope by William Davis

BR 17822; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Biography of Illinois senator Obama (born 1961), the son of a Kenyan father and a white Kansan mother. Discusses Obama's upbringing in Hawaii and Indonesia. Recounts his education, community work, and political career through the start of his presidential campaign in 2007. 2008.


George W. Bush by Veda Boyd Jones

DB 64913

Read by Eric Synnestvedt. Reading time: 3 hours, 15 minutes.

Biography of the forty-third president of the United States, George W. Bush, born 1946. Details Bush's family life, including the influence of his father. Discusses his business career and entry into politics. Highlights the controversial 2000 presidential election and the war on terror. 2007.