Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings

jazzReading this memoir of one of today’s most famous transgender teens feels like sitting down for an eye-opening conversation with a friend.

Recommended grade level: 7 and up

Pages:   256 (for ISBN 9780399554643)

Genre(s) and keywords: nonfiction, memoir, LGBTQA+

Tone/Style: personal, youthful

Pace: moderate to fast

Topics: transgender people, coming out, media attention, dating, legal battles

Themes: courage, gender identity, being oneself, speaking out

Summary: Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. At the age of five, Jazz transitioned to life as a girl, with the support of her parents. A year later, her parents allowed her to share her incredible journey in her first Barbara Walters interview, aired at a time when the public was much less knowledgeable or accepting of the transgender community. This groundbreaking interview was followed over the years by other high-profile interviews, a documentary, the launch of her YouTube channel, a picture book, and her own reality TV series—I Am Jazz—making her one of the most recognizable activists for transgender teens, children, and adults. Continue reading

Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus (2012)

shadowThis WWII fiction draws students’ attention to the resistance against Nazi rule in Norway.

Recommended grade level: 6-10

Pages: 304 (for ISBN 9781419704246)

Genre(s) and keywords: historical fiction, adventure, international, Europe (Norway)

Tone/Style: danger-filled, exciting

Pace: moderate

Topics: World War II, Norway, spies, skiing

Themes: resistance, courage, treachery

Summary: Fourteen-year-old Espen and his friends are swept up in the resistance movement in Nazi occupied Norway. He gets his start delivering illegal newspapers, then graduates to the role of courier, and finally becomes a spy, dodging the Gestapo along the way. Continue reading

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson (2012)

titanic

The tragedy of the Titanic is brought home through the stories of people who were there.

Recommended grade level: 6-10

Pages: 289 (for ISBN 9780545116749)

Genre(s) and keywords: nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, history, survival

Tone/Style: informational, personal

Pace: moderate

Topics: Titanic, ships, disasters

Themes: sacrifice, selfishness, perseverance, courage, mistakes resulting in loss of life

Summary: Critically acclaimed nonfiction author Deborah Hopkinson pieces together the story of the TITANIC and that fateful April night, drawing on the voices of survivors and archival photographs. Continue reading

I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai (Young Readers Edition) (2014)

malala

Inspiring, heartbreaking, and timely, this is must-read nonfiction.

Recommended grade level: 6-12

Pages: 240 (for ISBN 9780316327930)

Genre(s) and keywords: nonfiction, memoir, current events, international, diverseMiddle East (Pakistan),  Kylie’s favorites

Tone/Style: personal, resolute

Pace: moderate

Topics: women’s rights, education, Al Qaeda, terrorism, war, Islam, assault, politics, activism, survival

Themes: social justice, courage, standing up for beliefs, reaching for dreams

Summary: I Am Malala. This is my story.

Malala Yousafzai was only ten years old when the Taliban took control of her region. They said music was a crime. They said women weren’t allowed to go to the market. They said girls couldn’t go to school. Continue reading

The Island of Beyond by Elizabeth Atkinson (2016)

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A thoughtful middle grade book about finding friends and pushing one’s boundaries on a summer trip to a rural Maine island.

Recommended grade level: 4-6

Pages: 288 (for ISBN 9781467781169)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction

Continue reading