Booklist: Fiction and Nonfiction for Teen Poets and Writers

In 1996, the Academy of American Poets established April as National Poetry Month to encourage the reading of poetry and increase awareness of American poetry.  It is a great time to support and inspire the teen writers and poets who frequent your library!  Below is a sampling of fiction and nonfiction books to help you do just that.

YA Fiction Featuring Teen Writers

Words and Their Meanings by Kate Bassett

Ever since her beloved Uncle Joe died, aspiring writer Anna has lost her muse.  This poignant debut novel follows Anna through her grief journey as she struggles to rediscover her passion for writing and cope with the knowledge that she may not have known her uncle as well as she thought.

Gabi: A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (2015 Morris Award Winner, Best Fiction for Young Adults, Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers Top Ten)

In this novel in journal format, Gabi explores her feelings about her friend’s pregnancy, finds her voice in poetry, and works on her school’s zine.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

During November of her senior year, Darcy wrote a novel for National Novel Writing Month that was picked up by a major publisher.  In this unique book, chapters from Darcy’s novel alternate with her adventures in New York as she foregoes her first year of college to dedicate herself to the publication process.

Nonfiction:  Writers on Writing

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

In this memoir, King shares humorous and heartwarming stories of his childhood in Maine and how he came to be one of the most prolific horror writers in America.  He also frankly discusses his problems with substance abuse and alcoholism and his recovery from a near-fatal accident in 1999, along with a healthy dose of practical advice for aspiring writers.

Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir by Stan Lee

Marvel Comics Creator Emeritus Stan Lee chronicles his life from its humble beginnings as the son of Jewish immigrants to writing training films for the US military during World War II, as well as his tenure at Marvel in this funny, colorful graphic novel.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

In free verse, Woodson tells the story of her childhood as an African-American girl growing up in the 1960s and 70s, and how she found her identity through poetry and storytelling.

Poetry to Inspire the Writer in Everyone

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle (2016 YALSA Nonfiction Award Finalist)

In this evocative memoir in verse, Engle details her childhood growing up in Cuba and the United States during the Cold War years.

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

In 2015, rapper and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda took Broadway by storm with a hip-hop musical about US Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.  This book contains a complete libretto of Miranda’s revolutionary hip-hop poetry including his own annotations, as well as behind-the-scenes information about the show.

The Watch That Ends the Night:  Voices from the Titanic by Allan Wolf (2013 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults)

This riveting free verse novel tells the story of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in twenty-four distinct voices.  Perspectives include characters from all walks of life, from first-class passengers “Unsinkable” Molly Brown and John Jacob Astor to a Lebanese teenage girl on her way to a new life in America and the ship’s rat.  Enjoy this in print format, or the award-winning audio narrated by a full cast!

— Elizabeth Norton, currently reading Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

One thought on “Booklist: Fiction and Nonfiction for Teen Poets and Writers”

  1. I just requested “Gabi: A Girl in Pieces” from inter-library loan, and here you are recommending it! What exquisite taste we share! This is a great list, and I will pass it along to my own sweet teen writer.

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