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YA Nonfiction for New Year’s Resolutions!

Nonfiction books for New Year’s resolutions is a great way to pull individuals back into the library every January. Adults aren’t the only ones wanting to better themselves for the new year. Teens can join in on the action as well. Take a look at these YA nonfiction selections for teens to start the year by putting their best foot forward.

New Hobbies

Embrace the new year by trying out a new hobby to fill any downtime!

Botanical Beauty by Aubre Andrus

Sure you could scour the edges of the Pinterst-verse, but why do that when you don’t have to? Children’s author Aubre Andrus (American Girls Series) uses her writing and graphic design skills to create a variety of recipes that are straightforward and easy to understand. It is aimed at mid-to-older teens. However, younger teens can still enjoy the soap, hand cream, body scrub, mosquito repellent, and shaving cream action with just a can-do attitude (or a little bit of assistance).

DIY Drones for the Evil Genius: Design, Build, and Customize Your Own Drones by Ian Cinnamon, Romi Kadri, and Fitz Tepper

It’s time to get techie with this book that covers how to make a drone into your own specialized equipment. The fun twist of being meant for an evil genius serves as a platform for engagement. Yet, the book still covers safety, design, assembly, and adding some outstanding fixtures like a GoPro mount or LED lights.

Dear Ally, How Do You Write a Book? by Ally Carter

Time to get writing your own book! The astounding YA author Ally Carter (Gallagher Girls Series, Embassy Row Series) answers the questions of real teen writers about how to write a book and everything that quest entails. Ally answers questions concerning editing, querying agents, and developing your personal writing process in a way that is easy to read and engaging. Read this YA nonfiction book in January and you might have a manuscript ready to go out before the end of the year!

New Skills

Learning new skills is a good way to expand your horizons this year!

The Sewing Book: Over 300 Step-By-Step Techniques by Alison Smith

This book is more on the border between a skill and a hobby in my opinion. Learning to sew (whether by hand or machine) is a valuable skill to have – especially when tight on money. It can also be a valuable resource to add more money in your pocket by charging for your services or selling your items. This book is one of the best for both beginners and those with more experience to easily learn a variety of tips, techniques, and tricks.

Managing Your Money by Jane Bingham, Holly Bathie, Freya Harrison, and Nancy Leschnikoff

The skill of money management is invaluable in adult life. Why not learn the basics while still a teen so that you can get the jump on everyone else? Rather than muddling through money matters, this book is full of amazingly practical advice about shopping, getting student loans, managing insurance, and more. The graphics and writing style also make the book easy to read so that you aren’t so bored that you toss the book away before finishing.

Hack Your Cupboard: How to Make the Best of Every Kitchen (No Matter How Small) by Alyssa Wiegand and Carla Carreon

Rather than just a generic cookbook, this nonfiction selection encourages teens to gain confidence in the kitchen. In addition to some easy and straightforward recipes, the authors try to show different ways to cook whether in your parents’ kitchen, a dorm room, or even a shared community kitchen. While it is aimed at young adults, it is really good for anyone wanting to learn how to cook no matter their skill level, supplies, or appliances.

Buckle Down in School

If you want the new year to be about improving your academics, look no further than these handy YA nonfiction guides!

The Straight-A Conspiracy: Your Secret to Ending the Stress of School and Totally Ruling the World by Hunter Maats

Filled with good humor and informal language, it is easy to get through this book and become a top student. The author tears down the “talent myth” and shows ways for anyone to become an expert through systematic processes. Even just reading it on-and-off will still give teens tricks and skills to improve their studies.

Learning How to Learn: How to Succeed in School Without Spending All Your Time Studying; A Guide for Kids and Teens by Barbara Oakley, Terrence Sejnowski, Alistair McConville

Yes, the title is insanely long. However, this particular YA nonfiction book uses simplicity and metaphors to make learning theories and concepts accessible. Since it is written in a fun and fast-paced way, teens actually stand a chance of finishing it. Bring some joy back into learning!

The High School Survival Guide: Your Roadmap to Studying, Socializing, and Succeeding by Jessica Holsman

YouTube star Jessica Holsman became famous with her video series Study with Jess. Her straightforward wisdom is now accessible in this book! There are tons of tips and tricks for being a better student, studying smarter, and performing well on tests. The author doesn’t stop there though. She also has tidbits on developing certain social skills that will help teens throughout their lives.

Get Physically Fit

Check out these nonfiction books that can support your fitness and health goals!

No Weigh!: A Teen’s Guide to Positive Body Image, Food, and Emotional Wisdom by Shelley Aggarwal, Signe Darpinian, Wendy Sterling

This guide is a great well-rounded resource. Not only does it feature debunked health myths but it also presents cognitive-behavioral and narrative-based techniques for healthy eating. It is packed with information for being such a short, quick read.

Total Teen: Tracy Anderson’s Guide to Health, Happiness, and Ruling Your World by Tracy Anderson

Physical fitness involves many different areas, and this book covers them all. There are menus with easy recipes, exercise routines with step-by-step diagrams, and prompts for readers to think about what fitness means to them. Using a body-positive approach, this book tries to teach teens about a balanced life and setting foundations for adulthood. The cover may be off-putting but the written material isn’t.

Girl’s Guide to Fitting in Fitness by Erin Whitehead and Jennipher Walters

Let’s focus on good habits that can carry you through life. That sentence summarizes the push of this nonfiction book as it shows fun and easy exercises, simple recipes, and plenty of interesting factoids to carry you through this short but effective book. The focus is on being healthy and feeling strong. The book may be aimed at girls but there is some valuable advice for anyone willing to read it.

Get Mentally Fit

Taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical health each and every year!

Feel Good 101 by Emma Blackery

Like the pitch for the book says — “This book won’t change your life, but it might just help you change it yourself!” Written by YouTuber star Emma Blackery, this book covers some of her hard-learned life lessons. Readers will get advice on standing up to bullies, embracing body confidence, and even simply making peace with who you are. The writing is very much like Emma’s trademark speaking style, allowing the book to be accessible and fun despite the deep topics.

Take in the Good: Skills for Staying Positive and Living Your Best Life by Gina Biegel

This self-care activity journal teaches teens the art of channeling their feelings into a project. There are tons of writing prompts, art projects, and even exercises to focus on something positive rather than dwell on the negative. Not all YA nonfiction has to be passive reading, and this book proves it!

Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles edited by Jessica Burkhart

Sometimes mental health can be more about not feeling alone rather than needing a handbook for improvement. This book is composed of different short pieces from YA authors like Ellen Hopkins, Melissa Marr, Jennifer Armentrout, and more. The authors share a piece of their own battles with mental health and how they struggled in these internal wars. All the essays stress that you are not alone.

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Brooke Windsor

Despite having two graduate degrees (M.S. in Instruction and Curriculum with a specialization in School Library Media and M.I. in Library and Information Sciences), I'm still a kid at heart -- plenty of geektastic passions (cosplay FTW), Disney lover, Netflix binge watcher, and owner of massive movie collection dubbed Brooke-buster. Currently, I serve a wide variety of teens from a range of backgrounds at a public library-secondary school shared facility in southern Ontario. I also totally dig my work as a member on the Ontario Library Association's Child and Youth Services Committee. P.S. -- Need a good movie to watch or series to binge? Give me a shout! I've got TONS.