Librarians Love: Biographies for Teens

YALSA-bk is a listserv with lively discussions among librarians, educators, and beyond about all things YA lit. Sometimes one listserv member will ask for help finding books around a certain theme or readalikes for a particular title. This post is a compilation of responses for one such request.

by flickr user urbanworkbench
by flickr user urbanworkbench

The original request
Does anyone have a list of recent biographies that might be of interest to teens? My YA Biography section could use some new blood but it’s not a genre I read in overly much.

Suggested titles

  • A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown
  • Driven by Donald Driver
  • This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Grace Earl
  • The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel
  • The Way I Am by Eminem
  • Girlbomb by Janice Erlbaum
  • Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game That Changed Everything by Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson, translated by Jennifer Hawkins
  • Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal by Karen Falk and Lisa Henson
  • Comeback by Claire Fontaine and Mia Fontaine
  • Everybody’s Brother by CeeLo Green
  • The Warrior’s Heart: Becoming a Man of Passion and Courage by Eric Greitens
  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kucklin
  • Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year by Demi Lovato
  • Orr: My Story by Bobby Orr
  • A Child Called “It” and The Lost Boy by David Pelzer
  • Hungry by Crystal Renn
  • Si-Cology by Si Robertson
  • The Duck Commander Family by Willie Robertson
  • My Bloody Life by Raymundo Sanchez
  • Monster: The Autobiography of an LA Gang Member by Sanyika Shakur
  • My Story by Elizabeth Smart
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  • Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift’s “Chocolate Pilot” by Michael Tunnell
  • Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • Smashed by Koren Zailckas

Suggested graphic novels

  • Baby’s in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles by Arne Bellstorf
  • Andre the Giant, Life and Legend by Box Brown
  • Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by Greg Neri
  • Jim Ottaviani’s graphic biographies of scientists, including Feynman, Primates, and Suspended in Language
  • March, Book One by Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aykin with art by Nate Powell

Suggested topics

  • Hip-hop figures
  • Musicians
  • Athletes
  • Addition/recovery memoirs
  • Biographies that are being made into movies
  • Biographies that have local interest

Have more titles you think should belong on these lists? Add them on the YALSA wiki or leave a comment! Looking for more compiled booklists? Check out the YALSA wiki or other booklists here at The Hub.

— Gretchen Kolderup, currently reading Panic by Lauren Oliver