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Who Was...? Series


Who Was...? Series

With over 120 titles, Penguin Who Was? series tells the incredible stories of trailblazers, legends, innovators, and creators. Check out our titles below!

Who Was...? Series

Books in this series

by Kate Boehm Jerome and Nancy Harrison - Biography, Children's Nonfiction, History

In a society that didn’t believe women were capable of pioneering and didn’t allow women the same opportunities as men, Amelia Earhart was revolutionary. She broke gender barriers as she became a woman of many "firsts." In 1932, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1935, she also became the first woman to fly across the Pacific. Her story ends with a mysterious 1937 disappearance while attempting a flight around the world, but her strength and defiance will always be remembered. 

by Yona Zeldis McDonough and Nancy Harrison - Biography, Children's Nonfiction, History

Born a slave in Maryland, Harriet Tubman experienced America’s racist brutality first-hand. She knew what it meant to be someone's property; she was whipped by owners and almost killed by an overseer. It was from other enslaved field hands that she first heard about the Underground Railroad, a series of dangerous paths and way stations which she travelled by herself north to Philadelphia. She spent much of the rest of her life risking recapture, punishment and worse to rescue as many other slaves as she could through the Railroad. Harriet Tubman’s courageous actions in the face of systemic oppression serve as a reminder to fight for justice and equality today.

Written by Kirsten Anderson with illustrations by Tim Foley and Nancy Harrison - Biography, Children's 8-12, Reference

Born in Maine in 1836, Milton Bradley moved with his family to the working-class city of Lowell, Massachusetts, at age 11. His early life consisted of several highs and lows, from graduating high school and attending Harvard to getting laid off and losing his first wife. These experiences gave Bradley the idea for his first board game: The Checkered Game of Life. He produced and sold Life across the country and it quickly became a national sensation. Working with his company, the Milton Bradley Company, he continued to produce board games, crayons and kid-friendly school supplies.

by Meg Belviso and Pamela Pollack - Biography, Children's Nonfiction, Education, History, Nonfiction

As a child he dreamt of changing South Africa; as a man he changed the world. Nelson Mandela spent his life battling apartheid and championing a peaceful revolution. He spent twenty-seven years in prison and emerged as the inspiring leader of the new South Africa. He became the country’s first black president and went on to live his dream of change.

by Judith Bloom Fradin and Nancy Harrison - Biography, Children's Nonfiction, History

Sacagawea was a Lemhi Shoshone woman who was only sixteen when she made one of the most remarkable journeys in history, traveling 4500 miles by foot, canoe and horse --- all while carrying a baby on her back. Without her, the Lewis and Clark expedition would have failed. She helped them achieve each of their chartered mission objectives exploring the Louisiana Purchase, established cultural contacts with Native American populations and researched natural history.

Written by Heather Alexander with illustrations by Dede Putra and Nancy Harrison - Biography, Children's 8-12, Politics

At age 14, Hillary Clinton thought it would be thrilling to become an astronaut, so she sent an application to NASA. The reply was a flat out rejection: the space program didn't take women. It was a critical moment for the young girl, one that made her realize the world she lived in needed changing and that she had better try to make those changes happen. Clinton's life has been a thrilling series of firsts --- First Lady of the US, then first First Lady to become a US Senator, Secretary of State and possibly the first woman to run as the Democratic candidate for President.