Biography Week- Just Being Audrey

Just Being Audrey is just fantastic. Don’t be put off because Audrey Hepburn seems to draw more of female audience. I’ve seen many a 5th grade boy enjoy this biography, and boys AND girls need to hear biographies of great men AND women. 
Today on my other blog I wrote about how I love decorating my girl’s rooms with children’s book illustrations. I would even tear up a book for it. I loved the whimsical art in Just Being Audrey so much that I framed this illustration:
Just Being Audrey covers the high points of the life of Audrey Hepburn including:
*Challenges through childhood.
*Persistence to overcome challenges and try new things early in her life.
*Audrey’s acting career.
*Audrey becoming a mother.
*Audrey’s work with UNICEF.
*Audrey giving a speech to the United Nation’s Children’s Fund.
I LOVE that this book focuses on a few key themes of her life:
1) Overcoming challenges
2) Being yourself (Hence the title! Maybe you could have your class predict the theme!)
3) Serving others
This book is amazing for working on author’s purpose… (Side note: I feel that when we only use PIE to teach author’s purpose, we are really missing the mark. PIE can be a starting place, but there’s so much more.)
I felt that one of the author’s greatest purposes in writing this book is to share with us that Mrs. Hepburn was so much more than a beautiful, fashionable actress. Her inner beauty and service to others is the most important.
You can even show your class a portion of this clip of Mrs. Hepburn giving that speech to the United Nations Children’s Fund.
There are also many youtube videos, such as the one below, of Audrey Hepburn serving with UNICEF. There are many great ones, but I would be selective about which portions to show, because some of the images of starving children are disturbing. While I’m all for exposing my own children to realities of the world, you as a teacher have to take the pulse of your classroom and decide what they can view. You can get the message across without some of the more graphic images.
Here are a few other quick ideas for using this book in the classroom:
Show students a brief clip of Audrey, maybe the first 2 minutes of the Breakfast at Tiffany’s intro. You could have it playing as they come into the room.
As I said before, have students predict theme based on the title.
Have students predict the author’s purpose. 
Later on, have students quote textual evidence from the book to prove the author’s opinion of Audrey Hepburn and the author’s purpose for writing. (Slide this book on the document camera to have students dig for that evidence.)

 From the 5th grade standards you could discuss how the author presents the events in her life. You can discuss chronological order.


Take some time to read the timeline at the end of the biography. Discuss how this text feature is used in the biography, what is it’s purpose, what can you learn, etc.


Discuss how one device biographies often use is quotes from that person. You can take a look at some of Audrey Hepburn’s favorite quotes and have students write responses.

Click here for Audrey Hepburn quotes.

This would be an amazing biography to share with your class!


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