YA Book Lists: Nonfiction

Printable book lists: Part 1 and Part 2

Matthew Polly / 796.8155 POLLY
American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
On a quest to transform himself from a scrawny weakling into a kung fu master, Polly drops out of Princeton and journeys to the legendary Shaolin Temple.

Adam Bradley / 782.42164909 ANTHOLOG
The Anthology of Rap
This pioneering anthology brings together more than 300 rap and hip-hop lyrics written over 30 years, from the old school to the golden age to the present day.

Lawrence Anthony / 590.7356747 ANTHONY
Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo
Terrific tale about how Iraqis, a South African conservationist and American soldiers saved the animals of the Baghdad Zoo in April 2003 after the Baghdad Zoo was bombed during the opening days of the Iraq war.

Michael Lewis / 796.332092 LEWIS
The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game
Follows one young man from his impoverished childhood with a crack-addicted mother, through his discovery of the sport of football, to his rise to become one of the most successful, highly-paid players in the NFL.

Jon L. Wertheim / 796.815 WERTHEIM
Blood in the Cage: Pat Miletich and the Furious Rise of the UFC
A look into the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), its rival organizations, and its rise into the mainstream. Focuses on Pat Miletich, who runs the most famous mixed martial arts training school in the world.

James M. Deem / J 937.7 DEEM
Bodies from the Ash: Life and Death in Ancient Pompeii
A fascinating look at the sudden destruction of Pompeii through the ash mummies left behind.

Wayne Coffey / 796.962 COFFEY
The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team
This unbelievable Cinderella story about a great coach and a great team is retold with excitement and heart.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar / 940.5421 ABDULJAB
Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten Heroes
Abdul-Jabbar chronicles the bravery of Patton's all-black tank battalion and its 183 days on the front lines at the Battle of the Bulge.

Clara Kramer / 940.53108092 KRAME
Clara's War: One Girl's Story of Survival
Chronicles the 18 months she spent as a teen hiding with other Polish Jews under Nazi occupation.

Caroline Kettlewell / 629.2293 KETTLEWE
Electric Dreams: One Unlikely Team of Kids and the Race to Build the Car of the Future
This true tale of a high school competition to convert an automobile into an electric vehicle is full of characters and will leave you "shocked."

Theodore Gray / 546 GRAY
The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe
The 118 elements of the periodic table are photographed and described with humor, style and authority.

Sid Fleischman / J B HOUDINI
Escape!: The Story of the Great Houdini
The magical true story of the world's greatest escape artist, the death-defying Houdini!

Mark Levine / 551.553 LEVINE
F5: Devastation, Survival and the Most Violent Tornado Outbreak of the 20th Century
Deadly storms of unprecedented ferocity wreak devastation and an emotional toll on a small Alabama community. Levine zeroes in on the rural hamlets hit by at least 148 tornadoes over 16 states in April, 1974, six of which attained the rare F5 category.

Judith Bloom Fradin and Dennis Brindell Fradin / J 306.3 FRADI
5,000 Miles to Freedom: Ellen and William Craft's Flight From Slavery
Ellen and William Craft, who risked mortal danger to flee their lives as slaves in the South, journey endless miles away from their home and then worked to end slavery when they reached their safe destination in the North.

Russell Freedman / J 323.1196076 FREEDMAN
Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott
When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man, a movement was set in motion that led to other nonviolent boycotts, marches, and walks, resulting in the Civil Rights Movement and major social changes throughout the nation.

Kevin Conley / 791.43028092 CONLEY
The Full Burn: On the Set, at the Bar, Behind the Wheel, and Over the Edge with Hollywood Stuntmen
A behind the scenes look at the on the edge world of stuntmen and women.

Chris Crowe / J 364.1523 CROWE
Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case
A bold and honest look at how young Emmett Till's murder ignited the spark of America's Civil Rights Movement.

James Cross / J 920 GIBLIN
Good Brother, Bad Brother: The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth
The story of two brothers, both respected actors, but one who would forever be remembered for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Yuval Taylor / J 306.3 GROWING
Growing Up in Slavery: Stories of Young Slaves as Told By Themselves
The brutal true stories of 10 slaves writing about their childhoods in slavery.

Leslie Dendy and Mel Boring / J 616.027 DENDY
Guinea Pig Scientists: Bold Self-Experimenters in Science and Medicine
The unbelievable true stories of scientists that put their lives on the line to move science forward!

David Owen / 614.1 OWEN
Hidden Evidence: 40 True Crimes and How Forensic Science Helped Solve Them
The world of forensic crime fights for justice with the invisible, using science to unlock mysteries and deliver justice.

Susan Campbell Bartoletti / J 943.086 BARTOLET
Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow
By the time Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, 3.5 million children belonged to the Hitler Youth. Bartoletti explores how Hitler gained the loyalty, trust, and passion of so many of Germany's young people.

Jack Gantos / B GANTOS
Hole in My Life
Mega-popular young adult and children's author Jack Gantos tells a true and gripping tale about his teenage years in jail for trafficking drugs.

Chris Crutcher / J B CRUTCHER
King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography
With his signature combination of hilarity and thoughtfulness, author Crutcher recounts his younger years.

Karen Blumenthal / J 796.082 BLUMENTH
Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX: The Law that Changed the Future of Girls in America
The inspiring true story of how one law opened the door for girls to play sports in school, and changed America forever.

Harper Hill / 170.84 HARPER
Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny
True-to-life, honest, raw advice for young men wanting to grow to be real men.

Ishmael Beah / 966.404 BEAH
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
A former child soldier in Sierra Leone recalls the heart-wrenching experiences that transformed him from an innocent 12-year-old into a cold-blooded killer.

Julia Keller / 623.4424 KELLER
Mr. Gatling's Terrible Marvel: The Gun That Changed Everything and the Misunderstood Genius Who Invented It
The story of the man that built the first weapon of mass destruction and ushered in the modern carnage of war.

Susan Kuklin / 364.6609 KUKLIN
No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row
Inmates sentenced to death as teenagers give first-hand accounts of life on Death Row and relatives of both victims and prisoners share their experiences in this collection of interviews.

Anita Lobel / J 940.5318 LOBEL
No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War
A piercing account of surviving the Holocaust by a famous children's author and illustrator.

Marc Spitz / 782.4216 SPITZ
Nobody Likes You: Inside the Turbulent Life, Times, and Music of Green Day
A chronicle of the band after their initial success with the "Dookie" album, then the critical disdain that branded them with the label of "punk poseurs," until their return to superstardom with the massive hit album "American Idiot."

Howard Zinn, Mike Konopacki, and Paul Buhle / 973 ZINN
A People's History of American Empire: A Graphic Adaptation
A comic book version of the controversial classic look at the American history you probably won't learn in school.

Marjane Satrapi / YP FIC SATRAPI
Persepolis
Satrapi's graphic novel autobiography is a timely and timeless story of a young girl's life under the Islamic Revolution.

Ken Silverstein / 621.48 SILVERST
The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor
Quiet David Hahn sidesteps his dysfunctional family to create a dangerously effective reactor in the middle of his suburban neighborhood.

Julie Gregory / 616.85 GREGORY
Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood
This astounding story describes a life crippled by an insidious form of child abuse, and the struggle to move beyond it.

Carla Killough McClafferty / J B CURIE
Something Out of Nothing: Marie Curie and Radium
The poor Polish girl who worked for eight years to be able to afford to attend the Sorbonne in Paris became one of the most important scientists of her day, winning not one but two Nobel Prizes. Her greatest triumph turned into tragedy as she was poisoned by the discovery that brought her fame.

Bethany Hamilton / 797.32092 HAMILTON
Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board
Could you return to the water after losing an arm in a shark attack? Hamilton did. Find out how in this harrowing and hopeful look at the power of dreams.

Mary Roach / 611 ROACH
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
For anyone interested in what happens when you donate your body to science, this humorously macabre work shines some light on the bizarre details of your entrails.

Susan Campbell Bartoletti / 322.420973 BARTOLET
They Called Themselves the K.K.K: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group
Uses personal accounts unearthed from oral histories, congressional documents, and diaries, to unveil the creation of the Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tenn., and its spread across the American South.

Mark Salzman / 808.042 SALZMAN
True Notebooks: A Writer's Year at Juvenile Hall
These thoughts of teens behind bars are full of insight and emotion. They write about mistakes, heartbreaks, loss, and regret.

Sebastian Junger / 958.1047 JUNGER
War
In this riveting combat narrative, Junger spends 14 months in 2007–2008 intermittently embedded with a platoon of the 173rd Airborne brigade in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, one of the bloodiest corners of the conflict.

Marc Aronson / 810.803581 WAR
War Is … Soldiers, Survivors, and Storytellers Talk about War
A balanced collection of contemporary and historical writings including interviews, stories, memoirs, and a blog posts address the experience of enlisting, serving, and surviving war from a variety of perspectives.

Valérie Zenatti / 956.94054 ZENATTI
When I Was a Soldier: A Memoir
A fascinating first-hand account of what it is like to be a teen and female in the Israeli army.

Marilyn Nelson / 811.54 NELSON
A Wreath for Emmett Till
A poetic look at the life and tragic death of Emmett Till, a murdered teenager whose killers were let free by an all-white jury.