5 Autobiographies for Middle and High School Students - Kumon

5 Autobiographies for Middle and High School Students

From the Recommended Reading List, this is a collection of autobiographies that are candid, expressive, and thought provoking. Taking place in different eras and locations, each title provides its own unique perspective and narrative.


  1. Boy by Roald Dahl

Readers between 5th and 8th grades

The author of beloved works such as James and Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the Fantastic Mr. Fox also wrote a couple of autobiographies. The first in the series is Boy, containing stories from Roald’s adventurous life growing up in England. This book is perfect for children who are interested in becoming writers, as well as children who want to know more about Dahl’s inspiration for some of his other famous titles.

  1. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Readers between 5th and 8th grades

This vivid, journalistic story truly brings to life oppression in Europe during the World War II Nazi occupation. Anne Frank was a German-born Jewish girl who wrote a diary between the ages of 13 and 15, until she was apprehended by the Nazis. The courageous story chronicles Anne’s life for the two years she was in hiding in Amsterdam. Translated into 60 languages, people from around the world are moved by Anne’s fascinating commentary about how the human spirit can transcend even the worst of horrors.

  1. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

Readers between 7th and 10th grades

This entertaining autobiography takes place on a Greek island and is full of humorous anecdotes. Gerald moved from England to Corfu with his family when he was ten years old and stayed for five years. The author’s sense of humor and captivating storytelling make this a wise reading choice. This book is particularly amusing for adolescents who love wildlife, animals, and the environment.

  1. My Life and Hard Times by James Thurber

Readers between 8th and 11th grades

James Thurber is often called the finest humorist of the 20th Century, and this deadpan prose will not disappoint the reader. Each chapter brings to life comic moments about James growing up in Ohio. His word choice and sentence structure is well crafted, and his cartoon illustrations add touches of whimsy.

  1. Night by Elie Wiesel

Readers between 9th and 12th grades

This seminal memoir is a short and powerful book, giving the reader a realistic account of the Nazi concentration camps from the perspective of a survivor. His physical, emotional, and spiritual experiences are serious, but the book candidly offers a poignant account of an important time in world history. Elie Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Night in 1986.