Biographies for the Eighth Grade

Susan Cook

Available to buy

Quick Look

  • Gathers the stories of twenty remarkable men and women from the around the world including Martin Luther King Jr, Mohandas Gandhi and Marie Curie
  • A helpful resource for Steiner-Waldorf teachers to draw upon for teaching in Class 8
  • Contains illustrations from Waldorf students to inspire further activities

A helpful resource for Steiner-Waldorf teachers approaching history for Class 8, this collection includes the stories of twenty remarkable men and women from around the world, including Marie Curie and Nelson Mandela.

203 x 127 mm
Waldorf Publications
Steiner-Waldorf Education; Waldorf Publications
22 b/w illustrrations
166 pages
Publication date:
13 May 2021


In the Waldorf education system, history is often taught through the use of biography, in order to introduce students to historical events with a human context.

In this collection, Susan Cook has gathered together the stories of twenty remarkable men and women from around the world, including Marie Curie, Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Hellen Keller and Martin Luther King Jr. These stories are told in vivid and lively detail and enhanced with illustrations from Waldorf students.

The result is a valuable tool for Steiner-Waldorf teachers using biography in their Class 8 teaching, giving them a wealth of stories to draw upon to enhance their lessons.

Table of Contents

John Harrison (1693-1776) - an English carpenter and clockmaker who invented the marine chronometer
Eli Whitney (1765 – 1825) - an American inventor, widely known for inventing the cotton gin, one of the key inventions of the Industrial Revolution.
Sequoyah (c. 1770 – 1843) - a Native American polymath of the Cherokee Nation. In 1821 he completed his independent creation of a Cherokee syllabary, making reading and writing in Cherokee possible.
Simon Bolivar (1783 - 1830) - a Venezuelan military and political leader who led what are currently the countries of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama to independence from the Spanish Empire.
Benito Juarez (1806 – 1872) - a Mexican lawyer and politician, who served as the 26th president of Mexico from 1858 until his death in 1872. He was the first president of Mexico who was of indigenous origin.
Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895) - an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York.
Harriet Tubman (1822 – 1913) - an American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815 - 1902) - a leader of the women's rights movement in the U.S. during the mid- to late-1800s.
Clara Barton (1821 – 1912) - a pioneering American nurse who founded the American Red Cross.

Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) - a Polish and naturalised-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity.
Janusz Korczak (1878 – 1942) - a Polish Jewish educator, children's author and pedagogue.
Mohandas Gandhi (1869 – 1948) - an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist, and political ethicist, who employed nonviolent resistance to lead the successful campaign for India's independence from British rule.
Hellen Keller (1880 – 1968) - an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Mao Zedong (1893 – 1976) - also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who was the founding father of the People's Republic of China.
Nien Cheng (1915 – 2009) - a Chinese author who recounted her harrowing experiences during the Cultural Revolution in her memoir Life and Death in Shanghai.
Jomo Kenyatta (1891 – 1978) - a Kenyan anti-colonial activist and politician who governed Kenya as its Prime Minister from 1963 to 1964 and then as its first President from 1964 to his death in 1978.
Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) - a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
Martin Luther King, Jr (1929 – 1968) - an American Christian minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.
Cesar Chavez (1927 – 1993) - an American labour leader, community organiser, businessman, and Latino American civil rights activist.
Wangari Maathai (1940 – 2011) - a renowned Kenyan social, environmental and political activist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize.


Susan Cook lives in San Francisco where she teaches at the San Francisco Waldorf School, specialising in the middle grades. She has three grown children.

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