Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens
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The Victory Season: The End of World War II and the Birth of Baseball’s Golden Age, by Robert Weintraub

The Victory Season: The End of World War II and the Birth of Baseball’s Golden Age, by Robert Weintraub | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

"Weintraub recounts tales of the fascinating events and bigger-than-life characters of major league baseball's epic 1946 season, the first post-WWII season "

Leslie Whidden's insight:

A fast-paced narrative full of big name players who left the game to join the war effort.

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A Long Way Gone: memoirs of a boy soldier, by Ishmael Beah

A Long Way Gone: memoirs of a boy soldier, by Ishmael Beah | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

"This is how wars are fought now: by children, traumatized, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. Beah's memoir "provides the human context that is missing."

Leslie Whidden's insight:

#1 teen read. Sierra Leone. Child soldiers. Rehabililtation. Teen readers not keen on fiction often claim this is the first book they have finished reading ... and enjoyed.


Youtube interview, Ishmael Beah

"Childhood became monstrous when you were forced to kill your families and burn your villages."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KytToTiPU4U

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place, by Aron Ralston  (Film: 127 Hours )

Between a Rock and a Hard Place, by Aron Ralston  (Film: 127 Hours ) | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

"In April 2003, Aron Ralston was hiking alone in the Utah wilderness when he decided to go canyon climbing. Halfway up a rock face, disaster struck. In the first of three exclusive extracts from his harrowing new book, he recalls the accident that forced him to cut his own arm off."

Excerpt

Leslie Whidden's insight:

This book is LOVED. Show students the photo of the pocket knife he uses to cut off his arm. Eeeeew. 

Adventure, survival. Lots of photos.

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A Stolen Life, and Freedom, by Jaycee Dugard

A Stolen Life, and Freedom, by Jaycee Dugard | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

"Emma Koonse recommends 'A Stolen Life' and 'Freedom' by Jaycee Dugard, two memoirs detailing Dugard's kidnapping at age 11, her 18 years in captivity, and her path to recovery over the past six years of freedom."

Leslie Whidden's insight:
Heartbreaking memoirs, popular with teen readers.
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The Deserter's Tale by Joshua Key/ As told to Lawrence Hill

The Deserter's Tale by Joshua Key/  As told to Lawrence Hill | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

Excerpt:

"I know that many Americans have their minds made up about people like me. They think we are cowards who just couldn't take it. I don't blame them. I had my own mind made up about war deserters long before I set foot in Iraq. But I know right from wrong. I had a conscience by the age of six. I had to suspend it for a while in Iraq."

       “Destined to become part of the literature of the Iraq war. "

Leslie Whidden's insight:

Big hit with reluctant teen readers.  Powerful characterization, fast paced story, war memoir. Co-authored by Lawrence Hill, 'Book of Negroes":  www.lawrencehill.com

 

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Catch Me If You Can, by Frank Abagnale

Catch Me If You Can, by Frank Abagnale | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it
The life story—zingingly told—of a teenage imposter who once kited checks, had over $500,000 stashed away in bank accounts, and spent much of it on women and fancy cars—all before he was 21!
Leslie Whidden's insight:

A top teen read. Teen con artist successfully impersonates co-pilot, doctor, lawyer, professor, all before the age of 21. 

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HOLE IN MY LIFE, by Jack Gantos

HOLE IN MY LIFE, by Jack Gantos | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it
After penning a number of novels for preteens, including the Joey Pigza books and the Jack series, Gantos makes a smooth transition as he addresses an older audience. He uses the same bold honesty
Leslie Whidden's insight:
Top with our reluctant readers. Gantos is the 'phoenix that rises from the flames' of drug smuggling and prison time to become a writer of excellent YA fiction. 
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Coyotes: A Journey Across Borders With America's Illegal Migrants, by Ted Conover

Coyotes: A Journey Across Borders With America's Illegal Migrants, by Ted Conover | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it
"Disguised as an illegal alien, the author explores the outlaw realm of illegal immigration at the Mexican-American border and describes the role of the coyotes--mercenaries who sneak Mexican laborers into America "
Leslie Whidden's insight:
Immersion journalism. Conover follows the story of Mexicans he met riding the rails in his first book,  Rolling Nowhere
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Under the Bridge: The True Story of the Murder of Reena Virk, by Rebecca Godfrey

Under the Bridge: The True Story of the Murder of Reena Virk, by Rebecca Godfrey | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

"A murder as vicious and visceral as the sustained beating and drowning of 14-year-old Reena Virk at the hands of her teenage peers creates a vacuum in understanding that pulls in all attempts at explanation."

Leslie Whidden's insight:

1997 murder in Vancouver, Canada, provides context for classroom discussion of high school bullying.

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Journeyman, by Sean Pronger

Journeyman, by Sean Pronger | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

"Honest. That is about the best way I can sum up Journeyman: The many triumphs (and even more numerous defeats) of a guy who's seen just about everything in the game of hockey.  I loved reading this..."

Leslie Whidden's insight:

Hockey. Fast paced, dialogue, action.

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A heart-wrenching memoir from Jordin Tootoo

A heart-wrenching memoir from Jordin Tootoo | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it
It's the most compelling, honest and unputdownable hockey read in years, says reviewer Nancy MacDonald
Leslie Whidden's insight:
Hockey memoir, indigenous peoples, survival, addictions.
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American Sniper: Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US History by Chris Kyle

American Sniper: Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US History by Chris Kyle | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

" With 160 confirmed kills, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was the most lethal sniper in United States military history, and—in his enemies' eyes—the most feared: Iraqi insurgents christened him the Devil of Ramadi and put a hefty bounty on his head.."

Leslie Whidden's insight:

Fast paced narrative, highly engaging subject, easy read.

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A Fighter's Heart, By Sam Sheridan

A Fighter's Heart, By Sam Sheridan | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

" How can we rationalise the enduring attraction of boxing, or cage-fighting, or any other form of regimented violence that still passes as a sport? These are the questions that Sam Sheridan attempts to answer in this frequently compelling study of the testosterone-fuelled world of recreational fighting... "

Leslie Whidden's insight:
Top teen pick. Compelling. Cage-fighting. Immersion Journalism. (That's the author on the cover!)
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Rolling Nowhere : Riding the Rails with America's Hoboes, by Ted Conover

Rolling Nowhere : Riding the Rails with America's Hoboes, by Ted Conover | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it
"Hopping a freight in the St. Louis rail yards, Ted Conover embarks on his dream trip, traveling the rails with “the knights of the road.” Equipped with rummage st...
above all, Conover gets to know the men and women who, for one reason or another, live this life. ...the tramps Conover meets show him a segment of humanity outside society, neither wholly romantic nor wholly tragic, and very much like the rest of us. "
Leslie Whidden's insight:
Immersion journalism. Anthro study In poverty, homelessness, hopelessness, abandonment. A natural progression from The Good Soldier, and Thank You For Your Service, by David Finkel.  Read with Fiction: Cannery Row, or Going After Cacciato, by Tim O'Brien. 
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Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer,

Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer, | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

"After graduating from Emory University in Atlanta in 1992, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska, where he went to live in the wilderness.


Four months later, he turned up dead."

Leslie Whidden's insight:
Teen favourite. Survival, adventure, rebellion.
Krakauer presents hitherto unknown evidence on the cause of Chris McCandless's death. http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/how-chris-mccandless-died ; @NewYorker
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Dispatches, by Michael Herr

Dispatches, by Michael Herr | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it
Herr brought the Vietnam War back home in all its uncensored, unadulterated reality in Dispatches. Proclaimed as the greatest book written not only on the Vietnam War, but also on any war,
John Leonard called it "a certain kind of reporting come of age - that is, achieving literature. It is the reporting of the 1960's at last addressing itself to great human issues, subjective, painfully honest, " John Le Carr called it simply: "The best book I have ever read on men and war in our time."
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Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

Wild, by Cheryl Strayed | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it
When she had no one and nothing left, Cheryl Strayed traveled the Pacific Crest Trail alone, writing about the experience years later in “Wild.”
Leslie Whidden's insight:

Survival story with a female hero.

 

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Black Like Me, by John Howard Griffin

Black Like Me, by John Howard Griffin | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

"Fifty years after John Howard Griffin darkened his skin and travelled through the segregated US south, his record of the fear and prejudice he experienced is still resonant."

Leslie Whidden's insight:

Top choice with teens. Prejudice, racism, immersion journalism. Griffin's experience of racism in US deep south. Well-developed characterization, setting help students to identify, empathize. 

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Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing, by Ted Conover

Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing, by Ted Conover | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

"NEW JACK: GUARDING SING SING gives an inside look at the work of correctional guards. Its author, Ted Conover, spent a year working as a "newjack" — the inmate term for a newly-minted New York correctional officer — in New York's Sing Sing prison.

John Riley is an assistant professor with the Justice Center.

 

Leslie Whidden's insight:

Riveting read. Maximum security prisons. Immersion journalism.

Youtube: Conover on Literary Reportage  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmY8CLjZVO0&feature=channel_page

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Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America's Hoboes, by Ted Conover

Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America's Hoboes, by Ted Conover | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it
"Riding the rails, Ted Conover tasted the life of a tramp with companions like Pistol Pete, BB, and Sheba Sheila Sheils. From them he learned survival skills - how to "read" a freight train, scavenge for food and clothing, avoid the railroad "bulls."
Leslie Whidden's insight:
At 22 years old, Conover did 4 months research for university Anthropology major. Immersion journalism, adventure, survival, 'riding the rails'.
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Girl, Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen

Girl, Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

"In these brief, direct essays, the author takes a sharp-eyed look back at her nearly two-year stay in a Boston psychiatric hospital 25 years ago. In April 1967, after a 20-minute interview with a psychiatrist she had never seen before, Kaysen, then 18 years old, was admitted to McLean Hospital, diagnosed as a borderline personality."

Leslie Whidden's insight:
Mental illness, institutionalization.
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The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

From her first memory, of catching fire while boiling hotdogs by herself in the trailer park, to her last glimpse of her mother, picking through a New York City Dumpster, Walls’s detached, direct, and unflinching account of her rags-to-riches life proves a troubling ride.

Leslie Whidden's insight:

#1 with girls.  Powerful, fast-paced narrative. Short entries, lots of dialogue, easy-access language. Memoir of growing up, dysfunctional family, poverty, reminiscent of Liar's Club by Mary Karr and Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt.

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I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, by Nujood Ali

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, by Nujood Ali | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it
It’s no coincidence that Yemen is home to child brides — including Nujood Ali, who fought for and won a divorce at 10 — and terrorists.
Leslie Whidden's insight:

Easy-reading level. Heartbreaking and inspiring.. Memoir narrated by Nujood. Forced marriage, child marriage, abuse. Strong narrative arc, characterization, conflict.

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Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo

Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by  Katherine Boo | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

Author interview.

" it was important to me to keep the perspective as much as possible [of] what the people in the slum saw and understood or were impressed and moved or weirded out by in this wealthier part of the city."

Leslie Whidden's insight:

Novel-like: gripping, heart wrenching. Social issues: poverty, corruption, family, survival in Mumbai.

Q&A with K. Boo http://www.gatesnotes.com/development/qa-with-katherine-boo-author-of-behind-the-beautiful-forevers

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The Perfect Storm, by Sebastian Junger

The Perfect Storm, by Sebastian Junger | Creative Nonfiction : best titles for teens | Scoop.it

 "The Storm" told the story of the Andrea Gail, a fishing boat out of Gloucester, Mass., that sank amid horrific weather, killing everyone aboard. It’s a harrowing narrative "

The Storm, the magazine story behind Sebastian Junger's celebrated nonfiction book A Perfect Storm ran in Outside magazine in October 1994.

Leslie Whidden's insight:

Top notch, exciting narrative, favourite with students.

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