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Themed Booklists

Our themed booklists will help you find books that appeal to all kinds of readers, including kids who are reluctant to read for fun. 

Diverse Books

Cover detail from Genesis Begins Again

Themed Booklists

Black Characters and Social/Cultural Themes

From graphic novels to fantasy and fiction, these fabulous books spotlight the diversity, histories, cultures, and experiences among those who identify as Black.

Detail from cover Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of Stamped from the Beginning

Themed Booklists

Race and American History

The history of race in America encompasses questions of freedom, justice, and equality. Explore current and past struggles over racial equity through a collection of non-fiction novels.

autism book list

Themed Booklists

On the Autism Spectrum: Voices and Stories

Understanding autism can begin with stories about a child, sibling, friend, or classmate. This booklist includes stories written by young people and adults about how neurodiversity has shaped them. 

Me and My World

Detail of Becoming Naomi Leon book cover with Latina adolescent outside in lush setting

Themed Booklists

Everyday Life

Not all teens are interested in boy wizards, vampires, rich-girl cliques, or an angst overload. Some are just looking for a good story about other kids like themselves.

Detail from book cover of Street Love

Themed Booklists

Romance and Relationships

Books on romance, dating, and relationships can be reassuring for teens, letting them know they’re not alone in their angst.

Detail of book cover The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963

Themed Booklists

Summer Fun

Summer is a time to relax a little, have some adventures, earn a little money, and, in the case of the characters in many of these titles, have a life-changing moment.

Explore New Genres

Close up of book cover Escape: The Story of the Great Houdini

Themed Booklists


Biographies are on lots of school booklists, but they can also be popular leisure reading choices for teens. They often feature real-life characters who have overcome adversity — a theme teens are drawn to again and again.

Fantasy Genre

Themed Booklists


Believe it or not, the Fantasy genre was a hit with teens even before Harry Potter. Here’s a selection of the many subgenres, including urban fantasy and fairy tale retellings.

Detail of Rick Riordan book cover The Lightning Thief

Themed Booklists

Myths and Folktales

Heroes, villains, underdogs, pranksters, romance, betrayal, and intrigue — is it Mount Olympus or junior high school?

Detail of book cover 5,000 Miles to Freedom

Themed Booklists

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.

Detail of book cover A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms

Themed Booklists


Since 1996, April has been National Poetry Month. Here are some books that will serve as great poetry starting points.

Detail from book cover The Odyssey by Homer

Themed Booklists

Revisiting the Classics

Looking to use some classic texts in your classroom? In our list, we’ve matched canonical texts with popular YA Lit read-alikes.

A Hispanic mother and child walk with clouds and flowers behind them

Themed Booklists

Picture Books for Teens

Picture books can help middle school and high school readers build background knowledge and visual literacy. The endless range of subject matter presented in picture books, in the hands of skilled storytellers and artists provides many opportunities to

Popular Topics

Detail of book cover Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream

Themed Booklists

Air and Space

For those who dream of being airborne, rather than earthbound — fiction and nonfiction about inventors, adventurers, and technological innovations that allow mankind to travel by air and explore space.

Detail of book cover Baseball Crazy

Themed Booklists

Baseball Books

Some great books for boys and girls who love baseball — a biography of one of today’s top players, a history of the women’s pro league, an anthology of great baseball writing, a fictionalized journal of a negro league player, and lots of go

Detail of book cover Dragon Tales

Themed Booklists

Dragon Tales

Christopher Paolini, author of the mega-popular fantasy books Eragon and Eldest, has announced that he will write two more books in the series. While fans are excited about that news, they also need more like this to read now.

Detail of book cover Beige

Themed Booklists

Press Play

Do you know a teen who’d rather crank the tunes than crack a book? Try tempting them with one of the music-themed titles below.

Close up of fingerprints, target lines and action shots of Matt Damon as Jason Bourne

Themed Booklists

Spies Like Us

Most kids go through a “spy” stage, and some never grow out of it! Whether it’s the gadgets, the secret identities, or the gathering of clues — spies are cool!

Detail from book cover Little Brother

Themed Booklists


As technology permeates all aspects of our lives, it’s not surprising that high-tech gadgets, plot devices, even formats, increasingly appear in teen lit, and not just in the science fiction genre.

Detail of book cover Friday Night Lights

Themed Booklists

TV Tie-ins

Even as the Internet absorbs more of teens’ attention, TV remains a constant presence.

Stories in Different Formats

Detail of book cover To Kill a Mockingbird

Themed Booklists


Audiobooks can help re-create the pleasure of being read to as a child.

Detail of The Poet X cover featuring mixed race woman with curly hair overlaid with poetry

Themed Booklists

Novels in Verse

A new form of novel has become popular — the novel told in verse or free-form poetry. Appealing to tweens and young teens, the plots are rich and varied. Here are some of our favorites.

Detail from book cover Flying Lessons & Other Short Stories

Themed Booklists

Short Stories

These short stories have plenty of intrigue to keep students engaged and teachers can use them to teach literary devices including plot, characterization, foreshadowing, and irony.

Multicultural Books

Detail of book cover American Born Chinese

Themed Booklists

Asian Pacific American Heritage

Since 1978, Asian Pacific American Heritage has been celebrated in America, first with a week, now with the entire month of May.

Detail from book cover Mexican WhiteBoy

Themed Booklists

Hispanic Heritage

In this booklist, you’ll find a range of titles — young adult novels by award-winning Hispanic-American authors, bilingual poetry, biography, memoir — celebrating Latino culture and examining the immigrant experience.

Detail of book cover The Joy Luck Club

Themed Booklists

Multicultural Stories

As the number of young adult literature books has grown, so has the number of quality titles featuring characters of diverse ethnicity, religion, and nationality, and compelling story lines about identity, prejudice, and understanding.

History and Social Studies

Detail of book cover Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life

Themed Booklists

The White House and Its Residents

These fiction and nonfiction titles will ignite young people’s interest in the history and function of our presidential mansion, as well as the lives of some of those who have lived or worked there.

World War Two

Detail from cover of Behind the Secret Window with illustration of group of Jewish children

Themed Booklists

Jewish Children’s Experiences During World War II

These stories of separation, deprivation, defiance, and bravery help students to understand the horror and magnitude of the Holocaust. These books are an excellent complement to history units on World War II. 

Detail of book cover Number the Stars

Themed Booklists

Those Who Risked Their Lives in WWII

Read about the underground resistance movement and brave individuals who helped shelter Jews, from the perspectives of both the rescuers and the survivors. These books are an excellent complement to history units on World War II. 

Detail from book cover Maus I: A Survivor's Tale

Themed Booklists

The Concentration Camps

Memoir, biography, historical fiction, photo essays, as well as poems and art work, tell the stories of concentration camp victims and survivors. These books make an excellent complement to history units on World War II. 

Detail of book cover Soldier X

Themed Booklists

WWII Soldiers’ Stories

Books in this list — both fiction and nonfiction — present personal stories of soldiers who fought on both sides of World War II. These books are an excellent complement to World War II history units. 

Detail of book cover Forgotten Fire

Themed Booklists

Other Holocausts

From Rwanda, to Cambodia, to Sarajevo, to Armenia, to North Korea, the books on this list explore historical and contemporary genocide. This list is excerpted from Dr.

Detail of book cover The Complete Persepolis

Themed Booklists

Contemporary Prejudice

These books feature teens examining their own beliefs and values in the face of religious, cultural, racial and gender discrimination. Titles complement history units on World War II and the Holocaust. 

Books for the College Bound

Detail of book cover Water for Elephants

Themed Booklists

Arts and 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.

Detail of book cover A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World

Themed Booklists

History and Cultures

A YALSA committee of librarians selected these books to open doors on new worlds, exciting ideas, eccentric personalities, unfamiliar cultures, and distant time periods.

Detail of book cover Caramelo

Themed Booklists

Literature and Language Arts

A YALSA committee of librarians selected these books to open doors on new worlds, exciting ideas, eccentric personalities, unfamiliar cultures, and distant time periods.

Detail book cover The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring

Themed Booklists

Science and Technology

A YALSA committee of librarians selected these books to open doors on new worlds, exciting ideas, eccentric personalities, unfamiliar cultures, and distant time periods.