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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. Use it to broaden students’ horizons as they prepare for college entrance exams and courses.

New Found Land

New Found Land: Lewis and Clark’s Voyage of Discovery

Allan Wolf
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Historical Fiction
Published:
2004
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

Loung Ung
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Nonfiction
Published:
2006
Legacy of Ashes

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

Tim Weiner
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Nonfiction
Published:
2007
Bitterly Divided: The South's Inner Civil War

Bitterly Divided: The South’s Inner Civil War

David Williams
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Nonfiction
Published:
2008
Maus

The Complete Maus: A Survivor’s Tale

Art Spiegelman
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Autobiography and Memoir, Nonfiction
Published:
1980
The Complete Persepolis

The Complete Persepolis

Marjane Satrapi
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Autobiography and Memoir
Published:
2000
Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood

Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Fiction, Romance
Published:
2004

The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation

Gene Roberts, Hank Klibanoff
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Nonfiction
Published:
2006

The Night Birds

Thomas Maltman
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Historical Fiction
Published:
2007
Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City

Erik Larson
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Mystery / Crime, Nonfiction
Published:
2003
A Voyage Long and Strange

A Voyage Long and Strange

Tony Horowitz
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Nonfiction
Published:
2008
The Known World

The Known World

Edward Jones
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Historical Fiction
Published:
2003
The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam

The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam

Ann Marie Fleming
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Autobiography and Memoir, Biography, Nonfiction
Published:
2007

The Worst Hard Time

Timothy Egan
Age Level:
YA
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Junot Diaz
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Fiction, Romance
Published:
2007
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Jared Diamond
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Nonfiction
Published:
2004
Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea

Guy Delisle
Age Level:
YA, Adult
Genre:
Autobiography and Memoir, Nonfiction
Published:
2004
Daniel Half Human: And the Good Nazi

Daniel Half Human: And the Good Nazi

David Chotjewitz
Age Level:
Middle Grade
Genre:
Fiction, Historical Fiction
Published:
2006

The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II

Iris Chang
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Nonfiction
Published:
1991
Imperial Life in the Emerald City

Imperial Life in the Emerald City

Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Biography, Nonfiction
Published:
2006
Forgotten Fire

Forgotten Fire

Adam Bagdasarian
Age Level:
Middle Grade
Genre:
Fiction, Historical Fiction
Published:
2002
Rotten English: A Literary Anthology by Dohra Ahmad

Rotten English: A Literary Anthology

Dohra Ahmad
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Poetry
Published:
2007

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Anne Fadiman
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Nonfiction
Published:
1997
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
Age Level:
Middle Grade, YA
Genre:
Fiction
Published:
2007