All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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Arts & Humanities

A YALSA committee of librarians selected these books to open doors on new worlds, exciting ideas, eccentric personalities, unfamiliar cultures, and distant time periods. Use it to broaden students' horizons as they prepare for college entrance exams and courses.

Girls Like Us

Girls Like Us

Age Level: 16-18

In three interwoven biographies, Weller chronicles the life and times of three tradition-breaking women singer-songwriters who came of age in the late 1960s.

The Annotated Mona Lisa

The Annotated Mona Lisa

Age Level: 16-18

In an accessible format, this unique work provides a basic working knowledge of art and art history through short essays, sidebars, and photographs.

Photography: An Illustrated History

Photography: An Illustrated History

Age Level: 12-14

This work looks at photography as it evolved from daguerreotypes in the 1800’s to the respected art form that it is today. Numerous compelling black-and-white and color photographs document technological developments, the contributions of pioneers in the field, as well as the impact photography has had upon all aspects of society.

American Shaolin

American Shaolin

Age Level: 16-18

The author reflects on the childhood dream that led him, as an adult, to take a break from Princeton and travel to China’s famed Shaolin Temple to study martial arts for two years.

John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth

John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth

Age Level: 14-16

Partridge provides a wide-open view into the work and life of one of the most influential and complicated persons from the world’s musical heritage.

Our Movie Heritage

Our Movie Heritage

Age Level: 16-18

This work provides over one hundred beautiful pictures of top stars, directors, and others in the film industry, but the focus is on film preservation and the race against time to salvage what is left of the large number of films that are currently deteriorating in our nation’s vaults, theaters, and private collections.

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

Age Level: 16-18

In a memoir full of humor and candor, Martin shares his personal itinerary as he negotiates the maze of honing his profession and the pitfalls he avoided.

Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design

Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design

Age Level: 16-18

Landis showcases 100 years of Hollywood’s most memorable costumes and the characters they helped bring to life as she reveals a behind-the-scenes look at the evolution of the costume designer’s art.

She's Got Next: A Story of Getting In, Staying Open, and Taking a Shot

She's Got Next: A Story of Getting In, Staying Open, and Taking a Shot

Age Level: 14-16

Through pick-up basketball games and the people she meets on the streets of Chicago, the author learns valuable life lessons.

The Year of Living Biblically

The Year of Living Biblically

Age Level: 16-18

A non-judgmental and humorous look at the twelve months Jacobs lived as closely as he could to literal compliance with biblical rules.

Shooting Under Fire: The World of the War Photographer

Shooting Under Fire: The World of the War Photographer

Age Level: 14-16

Ten leading combat photographers share their experiences of horror, humor, bravery, and daring while reporting from war-torn locations such as Vietnam, Haiti, Chechnya, El Salvador, Sarajevo, and Afghanistan. Over 150 black-and-white and color photographs provide a powerful and moving look at war and those who risk everything to document it.

Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath

Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath

Age Level: 12-14

Hemphill creates a chronological biography in verse format from the viewpoint of others in Plath's life. This is a worthy homage to Plath as her legend lives on.

Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants

Age Level: 14-16

Gruen creates a story full of enchanting circus lore, mystery, trains, romance, and danger with no holds barred.

Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art

Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art

Age Level: 12-14

Can a painting speak? This collection of lyrical responses to famous American works of art provides answers.

The Voice That Challenged a Nation

The Voice That Challenged a Nation

Age Level: 9-12

A Newbery Honor book that accounts the life and musical career of the great African American vocalist, Marion Anderson, in the context of the history of civil rights in the United States.

Pillars of the Earth

Pillars of the Earth

Age Level: 16-18

This best-selling epic tale of ambition, anarchy, and absolute power set against the canvas of twelfth-century England depicts fascinating characters and provides a spellbinding introduction to medieval religion, architecture, politics, and daily life.

The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano

The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano

Age Level: 9-12

Written in verse, this is a Pura Belpré Award-winning portrait of Juan Francisco Manzano, the poet who was born a slave in Cuba in 1797. Margarita Engle explores Manzano's poetic interpretations of his world and what freedom really means in a slave society.

Eagle Blue

Eagle Blue

Age Level: 14-16

This true story explores the tiny village of Fort Yukon, Alaska, its vanishing cultural heritage, and its relationship with mainstream American culture through its high school basketball team.

The Red Tent: A Novel

The Red Tent: A Novel

Age Level: 16-18

This novel recreates the biblical life of Dinah, daughter of Leah and Jacob, from her birth in Mesopotamia through her death in Egypt.

The Power of Myth

The Power of Myth

Age Level: 16-18

A companion to the six part television documentary originally broadcast on PBS, this book covers such subjects as the role of mythology in the modern world, the journey inward, the hero's adventure, and tales of love and marriage.

Shakespeare: The World as Stage

Shakespeare: The World as Stage

Age Level: 16-18

Bryson hits the mark with his characteristic wit as he explores the world of Shakespeare and the mystery surrounding the man and his plays.

World Religions: The Great Faiths Explored and Explained

World Religions: The Great Faiths Explored and Explained

Age Level: 14-16

This comprehensive work introduces the reader to faiths of the world through religious artifacts, paintings, architecture, and annotations of sacred texts. It includes a time line comparing significant events and people.

Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX: The Law That Changed the Future of Girls in America

Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX: The Law That Changed the Future of Girls in America

Age Level: 12-14

This nonfiction work looks at Title IX, the 1972 legislation mandating that schools receiving federal funds could not discriminate on the basis of gender, ensuring equal treatment and opportunity for girls in sports and education. Included are period photos, a time line, "then and now" commentary, extensive source notes, and suggested resources for further reading.

Frida: Viva la Vida! Long Live Life!

Frida: Viva la Vida! Long Live Life!

Age Level: 9-12

In twenty-six original, free-verse poems the author depicts the thoughts, feelings, and life events of Mexican self-portraitist Frida Kahlo. The poems are accompanied by twenty-four full-color reproductions of Kahlo's paintings. Substantial background materials include a biographical sketch, chronology, and glossary.

This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie

This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie

Age Level: 12-14

This biography brings the legendary artist and activist to life (warts and all).