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Emily Dickinson Biography: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Emily Dickinson was a poet who lived in the 1800s. This lesson will teach you about her life, where she lived, her poetry, her hobbies, and some other interesting facts about this famous writer.

Who Was Emily Dickinson?

Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. She had a younger sister, with whom she was close, and an older brother. Her family was important and a little famous in Massachusetts because Emily's dad was a lawyer and politician there.

Emily Dickinson portrait with her siblings
Emily Dickinson portrait with her siblings

Some of Emily's hobbies were probably a little different than yours, though you might enjoy some of the same things she did. She liked gardening, baking, reading, singing, playing piano, and taking walks.

Unlike today, most girls in the 1800s didn't go to school, but Amherst was different. Girls typically went to school there and Emily did, too.

When she was young, Emily was outgoing and liked being around people, just like the way you enjoy hanging out with your friends. As she got older, she spent most of her time alone and wrote a lot.

Emily Dickinson the Poet

In her 20s and 30s, Emily Dickinson wrote a lot of poems. You might have to write a few poems during school each year, but during this time in her life, Emily wrote about 1,100 poems!

Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson

And when you write your poems, your teacher probably wants them on notebook paper, but Emily wrote many of hers on paper scraps, the back of recipes, old envelopes, and even grocery lists. Very few were published for people to read. Her few published poems usually didn't even have her name on them.

She gave poems to friends and family, but she mostly kept them to herself, the way you might keep a diary.

Emily still lived with her parents for most of her life because she never got married. At the same time she was writing so many poems, she and her family moved back to the home that had belonged to her grandparents.

Home of Emily Dickinson
Home of Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson's Later Life

Although Emily continued to write poetry as she got older, she didn't write as much and was in pain due to an eye problem.

Though you probably like to go outside and play, Emily eventually stopped leaving her family's house. She got sick and had to stay in bed a lot before she died on May 15, 1886. She was 55 years old.

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