All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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2018 Picks for Reluctant YA Readers

The best fiction and nonfiction books for encouraging reading among teens who dislike to read for whatever reason.
(Created by YALSA)

How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child

How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child

Age Level: 12-14

Sandra sees her mother and sister gunned down when she is ten. Surviving that massacre, she becomes a refugee struggling with no home and no money. Sandra escapes, comes to the United States, and faces many challenges while building a new life.

Top Prospect

Top Prospect

Age Level: 12-14

Travis Gardner is an amazing quarterback. His incredible skill is enough to eclipse his older brother's recruitment to Gainesville University. Before he knows it, the head coach is recruiting Travis, and Travis becomes the lucky recipient of not only a great deal of recognition, but a little swag on the side. The problem is, that sort of notoriety comes with a price, and convincing a team of varsity football players to follow a freshman quarterback has its own challenges.

Wild Bird

Wild Bird

Age Level: 12-14

Fourteen-year-old Wren has a rude awakening one night when a policeman, with her parents' permission, drags her out of bed. She soon ends up in the middle of the desert at a wilderness camp for troubled youth, where she has to face her inner demons in order to survive.

No More No Name

No More No Name

Age Level: 12-14

Bobby's father is an alcoholic and it's messing up his life. Native American traditions and language highlight this engaging basketball story.

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give

Age Level: 14-16

Starr Carter must decide whether or not to testify in court when she witnesses a police officer shoot her friend. Her life as a black teen from a crime-heavy neighborhood and a student at a mostly white private school provide points of conflict. This is a timely exploration of racial bias and police brutality from a teen's perspective.

Mr. 60%

Mr. 60%

Age Level: 14-16

High school drug dealer Matt does just enough to pass his classes while taking care of his uncle, who is dying of cancer. Enter Amanda - a too-cheerful, ambitious girl who may be just the friend Matt needs, if he can accept her help.

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives

Age Level: 12-14

An African-American teenage boy is charged with setting a transgender white teen on fire aboard a bus in Oakland, California. The riveting story behind the headlines is told in brief, gripping chapters that invite teens to think deeply about social justice issues.

Firewall

Firewall

Age Level: 14-16

Josh is alone and isolated--his choice. The split of his parents and his subsequent move to a small suburban town from Chicago is enough to drive him to isolation and the addictive game,"Killswitch." Except one of the players in the game is developing some creepy add-ons that have drastic implications.

Patina

Patina

Age Level: 9-12

Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu are back on the track. This time, Patina narrates her story. Insight into her world shows the pressure she puts upon herself to come in first and to do everything she can for her family, because Patty "ain't no junk".

42 Is Not Just a Number: The Odyssey of Jackie Robinson, American Hero

42 Is Not Just a Number: The Odyssey of Jackie Robinson, American Hero

Age Level: 9-12

Outstanding athlete, exceptional courage AND restraint in the face of violent hatred, Jackie Robinson is a hero for all ages.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet

The Stars Beneath Our Feet

Age Level: 9-12

Just months after his older brother is killed in a gang-related shooting, Lolly and his mom struggle through their first Christmas without Jermaine. When pressured to join the "crew" himself, twelve-year-old Lol seeks solace building a fantastical interactive Lego city with another student.

One of Us Is Lying

One of Us Is Lying

Age Level: 14-16

Five students enter detention, but only four come out. One is dead, and one is lying...but who?

Moxie: A Novel

Moxie: A Novel

Age Level: 12-14

Vivian Carter is tired...tired of disrespect, bump and grabs, and a principal who turns a blind eye to football players who treat girls inappropriately. When Vivvy finds an old shoebox full of evidence from her mom's feminist exploits as a teen, she is inspired to start her own Moxie girl rebellion.

Warcross

Warcross

Age Level: 14-16

Emika Chen's life goes from desperation to unbelievable fame and fortune literally overnight, when she is hired to detect and stop a scheme to disrupt the mega-popular annual Warcross games.

Dreamland Burning

Dreamland Burning

Age Level: 16-18

When Rowan Chase discovers a skeleton buried on her family's property, her investigation reveals a murder and a racially charged historical event.

Four-Four-Two

Four-Four-Two

Age Level: 12-14

It's World War II and Yuki doesn't have many options. As a Japanese American, he can choose to go into an internment camp, or he can go to war. He opts to go to war and is assigned to the 442 regiment--a segregated regiment made up of Japanese Americans.

Refugee

Refugee

Age Level: 9-12

Three countries in strife...three different periods in time...three families seeking one universal goal: FREEDOM. Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud offer realistic, fictionalized accounts of attempts to find refuge from 1930's Nazi Germany, Castro's 1994 Cuba, and war-torn Syria in 2015.

Overturned

Overturned

Age Level: 6-9

When Nikki's casino boss father's conviction is overturned, he is released from death row. After her father is killed shortly after returning home, Nikki takes on card sharks, bikers, and alleged mobsters to avenge her father's death and imprisonment.

Scooby Apocalypse Vol. 1

Scooby Apocalypse Vol. 1

Age Level: 6-9

In this gritty reimagining of Scooby Doo we are introduced to dark new versions of the familiar Scooby gang as they battle a variety of monsters. It's Scooby Doo meets Resident Evil.

Unstoppable: True Stories of Amazing Bionic Animals

Unstoppable: True Stories of Amazing Bionic Animals

Age Level: 6-9

This collection of courageous stories shows readers how 3-D printing and brain-controlled prosthetics are helping animals right now.

Sandwiches!: More Than You've Ever Wanted to Know

Sandwiches!: More Than You've Ever Wanted to Know

Illustrated by: Brian Deines

Age Level: 9-12

Easy-to-follow sandwich recipes, accompanied by fun facts will make stomachs growl! From simple Level 1 "Plate and Knife" to Level 2 "Toaster and Microwave" on up to "The Big Time" Level 5, young chefs of all skill levels will be satiated.

Solo

Solo

Age Level: 9-12

Born to a legendary and chronically addicted rock star father, Blade Morrison just wants to spend some time with his girlfriend and his guitar in a drama-free zone. When a family secret is exposed, Blade's life changes completely and sends him on a new journey.

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life

Age Level: 9-12

Kwame uses basketball terminology and anecdotes from famous athletes and leaders to inspire and motivate young people to achieve and succeed.

Long Way Down

Long Way Down

Age Level: 12-14

Fifteen-year-old Will's big brother has been shot and killed. According to the rules that Will has been taught, it is now his job to kill the person responsible. He easily finds his brother's gun and gets on the elevator to head down from his eighth-floor apartment. But it's a long way down to the ground floor. At each floor, a different person gets on to tell a story. Each of these people is already dead. As they relate their tales, readers learn about the cycle of violence in which Will is caught up.

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