Best Non Fiction Books For Teens

Prefer real life to fiction? Sometimes non-fiction is more exciting and inspiring than fiction – simply because true stories can really hit home when it comes to showing us what’s possible with hard work, courage, and perseverance.

Best Non Fiction Books for Teens

And if you’re looking for the best nonfiction books for teens, we’ve got you covered!

Below, we’ve rounded up our top picks for the best non-fiction books that all teens need to read (Also check out these Brilliant Books For 13-Year-Olds To Read). 

These are real-life stories, memoirs, and autobiographies for teens that excite, educate, and inspire, so definitely add the following to your reading list!

1. Hidden Figures

  • Author: Margot Lee Shetterly
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Genre: Non Fiction, History, Science, Biography

First up: Hidden Figures. Some stories need to be told and heard, and that’s especially true for the female African-American mathematicians who worked behind the scenes for NASA before the first United States space program.

One of those people was Margot Lee Shetterly, who tells her story, and of those she worked alongside, right from the heart.

2. We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, A True Story

  • Author: Josh Sundquist
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Genre: Non Fiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Humor

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story is a coming-of-age autobiographical memoir by Josh Sundquist as he navigated cancer, an amputation, and failed dates, before becoming a Paralmypic ski racer, YouTube sensation, and motivational speaker – a heartfelt, funny, and inspiring must-read for teens.

3. Hey Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, And Dealt With Family Addiction

  • Author: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Publisher: Graphix
  • Genre: Non Fiction, Young Adult, Family, Autobiography, Memoir

Jarrett J. Krosoczka didn’t have the best upbringing. His mother was an addict and his father was non-existent. In Hey Kiddo, Jarrett details his experience growing up in a family dealing with addiction, offering powerful advice for teenagers complete with stunning illustrated graphics.

4. The 57 Bus: A True Story Of Two Teenagers And The Crime That Changed Their Lives

  • Author: Dashka Slater
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
  • Genre: Non Fiction, LGBT, True Crime, Mystery

If you’re interested in true crime, The 57 Bus offers a real-life true story and mystery about two teenagers from Oakland who crossed paths on a bus ride – leaving one burned and one facing imprisonment for life.

It’s a page-turner from start to finish and an enthralling examination of the criminal justice system. 

5. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, And You

  • Author: Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Genre: Non Fiction, History, Race

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You is the bestselling book Stamped from the Beginning written for teens, providing an incredible insight into modern-day racism, how to deal with it, and what can be done to stamp it out for good.

There’s no doubt that racism is still one of society’s most pressing issues, which makes Stamped essential reading. 

6. All Boys Aren’t Blue

  • Author: George M. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
  • Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir, Autobiography, LGBT

Author George M. Johnson is a well-known race and gender activist, whose book All Boys Aren’t Blue details his childhood and teenage years dealing with bullies, racism, relationships, and sexuality.

Written with heart, honesty, and celebration, this autobiographical memoir is a must-read for young adults and teens alike.

7. Yes She Can

  • Author: Various
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
  • Genre: Non Fiction, Politics, Feminism, Short Stories

Yes She Can: 10 Stories of Hope & Change from Young Female Staffers of the Obama House offers ten inspiring short stories from junior staff members of the White House during Obama’s presidency.

These strong women played a bigger role than most people know, during a time that changed the country for the better.

8. Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story Of Bonnie And Clyde

  • Author: Jeff Guinn and Jonathan Hogan
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Genre: Non Fiction, True Crime, History

Few criminal couples have received as much attention as Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. And in Go Down Together, author Jeff Guinn provides a thrilling insight into their lives and story, far beyond their romanticized fame as cunning, on-the-run bank robbers that most know them for.

9. Being Jazz

  • Author: Jazz Jennings
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Publisher: Listening Library
  • Genre: Non Fiction, Autobiography, Memoir, LGBT

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen is Jazz Jennings’ story in the spotlight, having shared her experience transitioning into a girl in interviews and other public television features since the age of five.

Recounting and reflecting on her experience as well as the world today, Being Jazz is a powerful and important contribution to the ongoing gender discussion.

Best Non Fiction Books for Teens

10. Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir

  • Author: Maggie Thrash
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Genre: Non Fiction, Autobiography, Memoir, LGBT, Graphic Novels

Summer camps, first loves, and heartbreaks – Honor Girl might sound like a coming-of-age young adult novel but it’s, in fact, the real-life memoir of Maggie Thrash and her experiences at an all-girl summer camp during her teen years.

A must-read for the LGBT community packed with heart, humor, and beautiful graphic illustrations. 

11. The Pregnancy Project

  • Author: Gaby Rodriguez and Jenna Glatzer
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
  • Genre: Non Fiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Young Adult

The Pregnancy Project is the personal account of Gaby Rodriguez who, during her school years, attempted an experiment: faking her own pregnancy. Why?

To record the reactions of her family and friends as well as how differently she’d be treated – an interesting and insightful read that shines a light on family life and society as a whole.

12. The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden And The Trial Of The Century

  • Author: Sarah Miller
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
  • Genre: Non Fiction, True Crime, History, Mystery

Sarah Miller brings new investigate insights to the trial of Lizzie Borden – accused of murdering her own family in 1892 as a young woman. It’s a gripping read for mystery lovers that resurfaces the all-important question that’s baffled the nation for over a century: Did she really do it?

13. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move The World

  • Author: Adam M. Grant
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Publisher: Viking
  • Genre: Non Fiction, Business, Self Help

For teens who often struggle with conformity, fitting in, and choosing their future, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World is a celebration of going against the grain and learning to stop following the crowd, filled with inspiring examples and essential life advice about pushing new ideas and being original. 

14. We Should All Be Feminists

  • Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • Genre: Non Fiction, Feminism, Essays

We Should All Be Feminists is an essential read for defining feminism in today’s world, written by award-winning writer and novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Even for older adults (not just teens), this book shines a light on important topics such as equality and social awareness, using fun and witty arguments for what being a woman is like and what it means.

15. For Every One

  • Author: Jason Reynolds
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
  • Genre: Non Fiction, Poetry, Young Adult

For Every One is poetry for the misunderstood, the self-conscious, and the young dreamers navigating today’s overwhelming world.

Straight from the mind of bestselling author Jason Reynolds, this is a heartfelt poetry collection—and letter—with an uplifting and inspiring message teens can benefit from hearing.

16. Do You Know Who You Are?

  • Author: Megan Kaye and Allie Singer
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Publisher: DK Publishing
  • Genre: Non Fiction

It’s a question most of us have asked ourselves at least once. Do You Know You Are? is a thought-provoking book that talks about choices, family, friends, dreams, desires, and happiness, providing a must-read guide on knowing who you are, and building the self-confidence to move forward successfully but, more importantly, happily.

17. The Truths We Hold: An American Journey

  • Author: Kamala Harris
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • Genre: Non Fiction, Politics, Autobiography, Memoir

As a role model for many, young and old, during one of America’s most significant presidential elections, Kamala Harris’ autobiographical memoir, The Truths We Hold, is an important read, talking honestly about human relationships and the truths that hold them together, citing her own insights as a female civil rights leader and politician. 

18. Popular: Vintage Wisdom For A Modern Geek

  • Author: Maya Van Wagenen
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
  • Genre: Non Fiction, Autobiography, Memoir

What began as a social experiment for Maya Van Wagenen transformed into a beautifully honest book detailing Maya’s experience following a popularity guide for one whole school year.

The results? A humorous and insightful read covering popularity, self-confidence, and what it really means to be a teen, and geek, navigating school life.

Final Word

And that wraps up our list of the best non fiction books for teens to read. These are must-read books for teens looking for guidance and inspiration from real-life stories, so make sure to add these books to your reading list or pick them up for someone you know!

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