All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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Nonfiction for Teens

Some teens just aren't interested in reading novels, but do enjoy learning new facts, skills and even trivia from nonfiction titles, including biographies, histories, titles about sports or science, even how-to books.

 Declare Yourself: Speak. Connect. Act. Vote.

Declare Yourself: Speak. Connect. Act. Vote.

Age Level: 14-16

A variety of celebrities write mini-essays about the importance of getting involved in politics. Actors, musicians, writers and politicians each give their unique spin on this timely topic, which could be used in government classes or as a jump-off for creative writing.

 5,000 Miles to Freedom

5,000 Miles to Freedom

Age Level: 12-14

Ellen and William Craft, an enslaved married couple, devised a daring plan to escape to freedom. Capitalizing on Ellen's mixed race heritage and light skin, she would dress her as a wealthy white man, while William posed as her slave.

A Wreath for Emmitt Till

A Wreath for Emmitt Till

Age Level: 14-16

Using a complicated literary format (heroic crown of sonnets) and wrenching subject matter (the lynching of Emmett Till) poet Marilyn Nelson creates a work of complete beauty. Each of the 15 sonnets feature a part of Till's story, using imagery and metaphor rather than straightforward graphic language. The illustrations by Philippe Lardy are a lovely complement to the poetry.

Hitler Youth : Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow

Hitler Youth : Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow

Age Level: 12-14

How were otherwise kind, intelligent teenagers drawn into an organization like the Hitler Youth? This well-researched and well-documented book examines the rise of the Nazi party and its sway over teens. Using primary sources, including interviews, the author features the stories of several teens who came of age during Hitler's years of power.

Pick Me Up: Stuff You Need to Know

Pick Me Up: Stuff You Need to Know

Age Level: 9-12

This book of miscellany is a browsers' paradise. Using photography, illustration, and a busy layout, the authors offer information on range of subjects-love, bugs, fights, dancing, you name it.

Lifetime of Secrets

Lifetime of Secrets

Age Level: 16-18

The latest in a series of PostSecret, Frank Warren's inspirational community art project has become an immense public confessional. Several years ago, he left flyers around his neighborhood asking people to send him their secrets. Millions of books, art exhibits and speaking tours later, the secrets are still rolling in.

Cooking up a Storm

Cooking up a Storm

Age Level: 12-14

This big, colorful cookbook features simple recipes for budding Top Chefs. The author is also a teenager.

She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer

She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer

Age Level: 9-12

Most of us have heard of Helen Keller, but few have heard of Laura Bridgman. Left blind and deaf in her childhood in the 1830's, Bridgman attended school and taught Helen's teacher, Annie Sullivan, to fingerspell.

Gang Leader for a Day

Gang Leader for a Day

Age Level: 16-18

As a graduate student, Venkatesh began exploring the housing projects of Chicago and befriended members of a Chicago gang (after the gang briefly kidnapped him.) Venkatesh reports on the underground economy at work and the allure of gang membership, and makes suggestions for reaching out to gang members.

The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain

The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain

Age Level: 9-12

Growing up in Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia, Sis craved Western pop culture, subverted authority in small ways, and maintained a strong fear of the secret police. This title won the Sibert medal for distinctive non-fiction for children.