Staff Picks Young Adult Nonfiction

« All Staff Picks

August 2023

Victory. Stand!: Raising my fist for justice

by Tommie Smith

A fist in the air. Eighty seconds of a profound symbolic act that will not be forgotten. This engaging graphic novel co-written by Derrick Barnes and the man himself, Tommie Smith, is powerfully illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile and will move readers deeply into a moment in history with such significance that it still resonates today. This is the story of a courageous world record-breaker, from childhood to his stepping into the world stage where he risked all in the name of justice and human rights. The story behind the protesting expression of two black athletes at their triumphant moment at the Mexican Olympic games of 1965 where they decided they had to be seen because they (and many more) were not being heard. Smith’s first-ever memoir for young readers, received the 2023 YALSA Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction Award among many other recognitions. It is also a pick for the 2023-2024 Read For A Lifetime statewide teen reading program.

Recommended by: Fanny Camargo, Youth Services Reference Librarian I

Posted in: Young Adult Nonfiction


June 2023

Mindfulness Meditations for Teens

by Bodhipaksa

It’s summertime! With great weather and some flexible time, an opportunity returns to explore and unplug. Discover the power of meditation to clear your mind, slow down, and find brief moments of peace to reconnect with yourself. Grab your earbuds or your favorite headphones and give meditation a try with this soothing playaway that you can take anywhere, indoors or outdoors, to unwind and recharge. The track list includes ten brief sessions by Buddhist practitioner, author, and teacher Bodhipaksa to help you release a calmer, positive, and creative mindset.
Recommended by: Fanny Camargo, Youth Services Reference Librarian

Posted in: Young Adult Nonfiction


March 2023

Everything You Need to Ace American History in One Big Fat Notebook

by Lily Rothman

Maybe you are in need of  a study guide to brush up and improve your history grades or maybe you are a history aficionado looking for a condensed, yet comprehensive resource to dive into all things American history. From the ice age to the internet age, this workbook will appeal to voracious and reluctant readers alike. Full of colorful doodles and eye-catching graphics, it is truly presented as a notebook borrowed from that smart and artistic kid in class. The editors of the popular Brain Quest games are behind this series delivering non-intimidating middle school student-friendly guides with a bullet journal aesthetic.
Recommended by: Fanny Camargo, Youth Services Reference Librarian

Posted in: Young Adult Nonfiction


Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein

by Lita Judge

Written in free-verse, this captivating biography is not only intriguing and moving, but also visually mesmerizing. The black and white watercolor illustrations complement the author’s narrative of Mary Shelley’s life as if it were told in her own voice. Full of passion and drive, this pregnant teen runaway created much more than just a horror story. Shelley was a pioneer of science fiction to be celebrated for her remarkable legacy. Judge delivers in her own work biographical poetry paired with such astounding art that truly evokes the essence of Mary and her legendary Monster.

Recommended by: Fanny Camargo, Youth Services Reference Librarian

Posted in: Young Adult Nonfiction


December 2022

Killer Style: How Fashion Has Injured, Maimed, & Murdered Through History

by Serah-Marie McMahon

This account of stories of unfortunate fashion victims will leave readers considering the price of beauty and style throughout history. McMahon and Matthews David offer intriguing information about questionable ingredients and practices in the fashion industry when it comes to making and wearing clothing, make-up, and accessories. From mercury infused hats, lead make-up, constricting corsets, and distressed denim, the standards used in the long and recent past have affected the health and safety aspects of everyday fashion. Each entry is presented in a two-page spread with a clean magazine-like layout. Includes eye-catching graphics and supportive historical photographs that illustrate the topics, as well as engaging sidenotes such as the myth of the mad hatter or the Kardashians “waist training” trend. A book for curious minds that is indeed “equal parts fab and frightening” as it claims. 

Recommended by: Fanny Camargo, Youth Services Reference Librarian I

Posted in: Young Adult Nonfiction


November 2021

In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers: The Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Months, and Years after the 9/11 Attacks

by Don Brown

A deeply moving graphic novel that depicts the events of 9/11 and the personal stories of many involved due only to being in the wrong place or going to rescue those in the wrong place. The ongoing ramifications from that day are told here in the U.S. and abroad. As in Drowned City, Don Brown meticulously researches his topic…7 pages of citations in Bibliography.

Recommended by: Joan Stoiber, Youth Services Reference Librarian I

Posted in: Young Adult Nonfiction


September 2021

All Thirteen: the Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team

by Christina Soontornvat

A fascinating account of the rescue of thirteen people from a flooded cave in Thailand. Experts in different fields from all around the world worked together, against incredible odds, to successfully rescue all thirteen. 

Recommended by: Becky McCormack, Youth Services Assistant Manager

Posted in: Young Adult Nonfiction


February 2021

Fever Year: The Killer Flu of 1918: A Tragedy of Three Acts

by Don Brown

This nonfiction graphic novel describes the panic in 1918 – 1920 when the Spanish flu killed hundreds of thousands of people. This book is available in the library and on Hoopla as an ebook.

Recommended by: Becky McCormack, Youth Services Assistant Manager 

Posted in: Young Adult Nonfiction


October 2020

Crash: The Great Depression and the Fall and Rise of America

by Marc Favreau

This nonfiction book of the history of the United States from 1929 –1945 is very readableIt includes many pictures depicting those times. 

Recommended by: Becky McCormack, Youth Services Assistant Manager

Posted in: Young Adult Nonfiction


April 2020

Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir

by Nikki Grimes

This novel in verse takes us through the author’s formative years of life. Since her mother is a paranoid schizophrenic and her father is unable to care for her, Nikki and her sister land in the foster care system. When her mother remarries Nikki is brought back to live with her but her older sister is not. Nikki misses her sister and her biological father who encourages her artistic side. While difficult to read at times, this book is ultimately uplifting and celebrates perseverance and fortitude. 

Recommended by: Becky McCormack, Youth Services Assistant Manager

Posted in: Young Adult Nonfiction


1 2