Thursday, February 21, 2019

5 Marie Antoinette Biographies for Young History Enthusiasts

image: detail from 'Inseperables' by Florence Fuller, 1900

Like many people, my interest in history was sparked when I was still young. My earliest entries into the non-fiction section of my elementary school library were those irresistible  Biesty cross-section books, though it wasn't until the release of the ultra-successful James Cameron Titanic film that I read my first chapter non-fiction book. (Although it took many weeks for my name to finally--finally--be next on the hold list to check out one of the school's limited and highly prized books on the Titanic.)

The market for children's historical non-fiction is still going strong today, and perhaps never before has there been such a varied selection of non-fiction books for children to choose from. Not surprisingly, there is an relatively wide selection of biographies written for younger readers that focus on Marie Antoinette. The following 5 biographies are a non-exhaustive selection which I think will be greatly enjoyed by children who are developing an interest in history.

Who Was Marie Antoinette? by Dana Rau Meachen

Part of the immensely popular 'Who Was?' series, 'Who Was Marie Antoinette?' is a straightforward children's biography that is supplemented with black and white illustrations and occasional one-page interludes that provide additional information to help readers better understand the context of the historical events.

Marie Antoinette, Controversial Queen of France by Heather E. Schwartz

Marie Antoinette: Controversial Queen of France is a classroom reader-style biography of Marie Antoinette's life illustrated with portraits and other drawings from her lifetime. Additional information is provided frequently in margins to provide further context and facts to help readers understand Marie Antoinette's life, the revolution, and the reason for her status as a "controversial queen."

Marie Antoinette, Queen of France by Mary Englar

Part of Snap Books' 'Queens and Princesses' series, Marie Antoinette, Queen of France is a short biography that explores the life of Marie Antoinette through engaging young reader friendly text that is supplemented with actual portraits and illustrations from Marie Antoinette's lifetime; notably, the book also incorporates several quotes from Marie Antoinette's letters in its supplemental material. The book includes a short glossary as well as recommendations for further reading.

Marie Antoinette by Katie Daynes

This charmingly illustrated book is part of Usborne's 'Famous Lives' series. It retells the life of Marie Antoinette through simple text and plenty of full-color illustrations, many of which are quite nice. This book's story-like text makes it ideal for younger readers who would like to get a sense of Marie Antoinette's story before moving on to books with a more traditional educational format as they get older.

 Marie Antoinette Fashionable Queen or Greedy Royal? by Sarah Powers Webb

Marie Antoinette, Fashionable Queen of Greedy Royal? is part of the 'Perspectives on History' series which focuses on polarizing figures throughout history. This biography examines Antoinette's life while also encouraging young readers to think about different contextual perspectives for historical events and people, with the aim of the series being to help develop critical thinking skills in younger readers.

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