20 Engaging Nonfiction Books for Teens

By , Staff Writer
20 Engaging Non-Fiction Books for Teens
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Not all books need to be fiction in order for them to be a page-turner. Some of the best books for teens are nonfiction books. Not only are these stories real, but they can show you the true power of the human spirit. Explore 20 of the best nonfiction books for teens covering a variety of topics.

1. Unbroken

Written by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption explores the real-life story of Louis Zamperini. Rather than becoming an inmate, this Olympian channeled his energy into running. However, this tale of survival doesn't end there. Rather, you are taken through Zamperini's time as an airman, survivor, and inspiration!

2. Penny Chic

A great nonfiction book for teenage girls, Penny Chic: How to Be Stylish on a Real Girl's Budget by fashion stylist Shauna Miller gives you all the tips for looking great on a budget that you and your parents can afford. Not only will you learn how to create your own outfits, but you'll explore ingenious ways to reuse pieces you own to create something completely new.


3. Laughing at My Nightmare

If your body was slowly failing you, could you laugh at the situation? If you were Shane Burcaw, then you would be able to find humor in any situation. Take a walk with him through his nightmare by exploring having spinal muscular atrophy and still having a "you only live once" life perspective.

4. Brown Girl Dreaming

Join Jacqueline Woodson, a National Book Award winner, as she walks you through her memoir. Using imaginative poetry, she gives you her unique perspective on the civil rights movement. For example, you see through her eyes what it's like wondering if she's as strong as Ruby Bridges.

5. Trapped

Could you imagine having to figure out how to rescue someone 2,200 feet below the earth? That's what the rescuers had to figure out to rescue the 33 miners trapped in Copiapo, Chile. Author Marc Aronson takes you through every aspect of what it took to get these miners out.


6. Honor Girl

Have you ever experienced that moment that changed your life forever? Maggie Thrash takes you through her moment at an all-girls camp when she finds her first love in the most impossible way. Delve into Maggie's graphic novel that chronicles her coming of age story during one exceptional summer.

7. Rhythm Ride

Buckle in with Andrea Davis Pinkney as she takes you on a historical exploration of Motown. From Berry Gordy to a cultural revolution, Pinkney uses her well-crafted writing style to take you on a memorable rhythm ride through African American culture and music.

8. We Should Hang Out Sometime

In his memoir, Josh Sundquist takes you on a hilarious journey through coming-of-age as an amputee cancer survivor. Using poignant humor, this paralympic ski racer and YouTube star walks you through his disastrous search for a girlfriend. It's truly a story that many teens could relate to.


9. Do You Know Who You Are?

Do you want to learn more about who you are? This book is going to work to help you answer this question. Through questionnaires, self-help advice, and journaling, Megan Kaye helps teens to figure out their real dreams and desires.

10. Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans

In one fell swoop, Hurricane Katrina decimated a city. Most of New Orleans was underwater. However, the culture and people persevered. Explore the tragedy and triumph of New Orleans through Hurricane Katrina. Discover the real stories that you've never been told.

11. The 57 Bus

In one moment, the lives of two teenagers were changed forever. One was severely burned, while the other was charged with a hate crime. Using interviews, social media, videos, and public records, Dashka Slater takes you through the story and lives of these two teens that lead to this one moment and its consequences through the book The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives.


12. Alexander Hamiton, Revolutionary

Martha Brockenbrough gives you a new take on Alexander Hamilton. Not only does she explore his upbringing and rise to become a founding father, but she gives you a keen look into his flaws. Mixing illustration and Hamilton's own writing, teens get a unique look at this founding father that will keep them turning the pages.

13. Rookie Yearbook Three

A great nonfiction book for teenage girls, Rookie Yearbook Three offers some of the best advice to girls for love, fights, and open relationships. By using interviews and inspiring contributions, Rookie Yearbook Three shares information that every girl needs to know.

14. Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina

In her memoir, Michaela DePrince brings to life her story of being orphan number 27 to becoming a prima ballerina. Get absorbed in Michaela's compelling narrative of both her emotional and physical struggles to make her dreams come true.


15. This Star Won't Go Out

Through her own blog posts, artwork, stories and poems, Esther Grace Earl paints a fantastic and heart-wrench image of the life of a teen with cancer. Though she lost her fight to thyroid cancer at only 16, this autobiography offers a poignant portrait of this inspiring budding author.

16. I Am Malala

Could you imagine not being able to go to school? That was a reality for Malala Yousafzai. Born in Pakistan, Malala refused to be silenced and fought for her education. It was a move that nearly cost her life when she was shot by the Taliban. Desperate to persevere, Malala fought and still continues to fight for all girls.

17. Red Scarf Girl

In her autobiography, Ji-li Jiang paints a vivid portrait of her life in Communist China during the cultural revolution. Through her memories, you discover what it's like to go from a popular and bright student to having everyone turn on her. The plight of her courage in the face of adversity is something that will keep you going until the end.

18. We Should All Be Feminists

Using her own experiences and the realities of sexual politics, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers teens a unique perspective of feminism in her personal essay. She'll help you truly see what it means to be a woman, and how your culture and upbringing can affect your perspective.

19. Stay Strong: A Journal

Teenage years are all about finding out who you are through self-reflection and really embracing yourself. In Stay Strong: A Journal, Demi Lovato uses her own insight and famous quotes to inspire all teens.

20. Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card

Sara Saedi was only two when her parents fled with her from Iran to California; however, she didn't find out that she was an undocumented American until she was 13. Get absorbed into Sara's fear of deportation, teen angst, taming her unibrow, and getting her green card.

Engaging Nonfiction Books for Teens

While it's nice to curl up with a good fantasy genre book, some of the greatest stories of the human spirit are true. From advice to inspiration, nonfiction books can take teens on a wild ride. Now that you've explored some engaging nonfiction books for teens, dive into some of the best books for grammar.