Chasing the American Dream: Nonfiction Books for YA Readers

Blumenthal, Karen. Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX, the Law That Changed the Future of Girls in America. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, c2005. 152p. IL 5-8, Lexile: 1140

Examines Title IX, the 1972 legislation that mandated schools receiving federal funds could not discriminate on the basis of gender, and focuses on the law's effects in schools, politics, sports, and the culture as a whole.

Carson, Ben. Gifted Hands. Zondervan, c1990. 232p. IL YA, Lexile: 950

Captures the physician's fight to beat the odds, the secret behind his outstanding accomplishments, and what drives him to take risks.

Davis, Sampson. We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Helped Us Succeed. Dutton Children's Books, c2005. 194p. IL 5-8, Lexile: 860

Shares anecdotes from the childhoods, teenage years, and young adult lives of three men from Newark, New Jersey, who made a pledge to one another in high school to stay safe from drugs, gangs, and crime, and to work to become doctors -- a goal they have successfully achieved.

Fleming, Candace. Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart. Schwartz & Wade Books, c2011. 118p. IL 5-8, Lexile: 930

Traces the life of female aviator Amelia Earhart from her childhood to her final flight, discusses the extensive search for her and her missing plane, and includes photographs, maps, handwritten notes by Amelia, and sidebars.

Govenar, Alan B. Extraordinary Ordinary People: Five American Masters of Traditional Arts. Candlewick Press, 2006. 85p. IL 5-8, Lexile: 930

Through interviews and photographs, presents the art and life stories of five American masters of the traditional arts.

Helfer, Andrew. Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography. Hill and Wang, 2006. 102p. IL AD

Presents a brief biography of Malcolm X in graphic novel format, describing his life from his early experiences with racism through his political and religious conversions.

Hoose, Phillip M. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. Melanie Kroupa Books, 2009. 133p. IL YA, Lexile: 1000

Presents an account of fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin, an African American girl who refused to give up her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, nine months before Rosa Parks, and covers her role in a crucial civil rights case.

Stone, Tanya Lee. Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream. Candlewick Press, 2009. 133p. IL 5-8, Lexile: 980

Profiles thirteen women who challenged social norms and government policies to prove they could be exceptional astronauts.

Taylor, Sarah Stewart. Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean. Disney/Hyperion Books, c2010. 78p. IL 5-8, Lexile: 1080

A biographical depiction, in graphic novel format, of the life of aviator Amelia Earhart, focusing on her crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 1928.

Excerpted from 101 Great, Ready-to-Use Book Lists for Teens by Nancy J. Keane. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited. Copyright © 2012.

Nancy J. Keane

MLA Citation Keane, Nancy J. "Chasing the American Dream: Nonfiction Books for YA Readers." School Library Connection, December 2015,

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Entry ID: 1991883

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