Top 10 New Non-Fiction Must-Read Books for High School Students

Reading has always been a vital part of life, but for teens it can be especially beneficial. Nonfiction books can provide teens with the opportunity to learn more about the world around them. They can be an excellent way for teens to engage in learning and explore topics that interest them. Nonfiction books can also help teens develop critical thinking skills and gain a better understanding of the world. In 2023, and late last year in 2022, there were several nonfiction books that could help get teens engaged.

These are my top 10 favorites.

  • Boundless by Lowe, Chaunte
    • A 2023 YA nonfiction book about Chaunte Lowe and how she grew up, and decided to make it to the Olympics. This story discusses never giving up on your goal or dream and nothing is impossible. This book has 3+ positive reviews. 
  • The best strangers in the world : stories from a life spent listening by Shapiro, Ari
    • A 2023 YA nonfiction book written by a journalist about traveling the world and conversations with strangers. This book has 4+ positive reviews. 
  • Banned books : the controversy over what students read by Loonin, Meryl
    • A 2023 YA nonfiction book that references ALA discussing why in 2021 there were more attempts to ban books than tracking has begun. The book dives deep into why book banning is happening now and why. This book has 2+ positive reviews. 
  • Luminary : a guide to magical self-care by Scelsa, Kate
    • A 2022 YA nonfiction book that focuses on personal history, self-help, and hands-on ways to use affirmations in your life. This nonfiction book helps teens interested in magic have self-acceptance, self-awareness and mindfulness. This book has 3+ positive reviews. 
  • Destination Moon : the remarkable and improbable voyage of Apollo 11 by Maurer, Richard
    • A 2023 YA narrative nonfiction release that discusses Earth science and space in a captivating way. This book digs deeper into history showing significant people who played a critical role in the Apollo 11 mission. Photos throughout help tell the story and many primary sources show the space race. This book has 4+ positive reviews. 
  • Doomed : Sacco, Vanzetti, and the end of the American dream by Florio, John
    • A 2023 YA narrative nonfiction release, discussing the 1920s, the Red Scare that captivated America and the two Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. They were wrongly accused and executed for murder. This book has 5+ positive reviews. 
  • Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America by Bartoletti, Susan Campbell
    • A 2023 YA narrative nonfiction release, this is a biography that feels very like a true crime novel. The author describes Mary Mallon, also known as Typhoid Mary, and her controversial life. The author pulls photographs, text, and a variety of other primary sources to show how she was treated by medical and legal officials. The author examines how Mary got her name, and public health measures at that time. This book has 3+ positive reviews. 
  • Rising Troublemaker by Ajayi Jones, Luvvie
    • A 2023 YA nonfiction book that focuses on personal growth and mental health protection in our society. The author shares stories about how to live fearlessly, and encourages teens to be themselves in a society that tells them what to do. This book has 2+ positive reviews. 
  • Kent State by Backderf, Derf
    • A 2023 YA nonfiction graphic novel discussing the Kent State University tragedy 50 years ago. This is when the Ohio National Guard shot and killed four unarmed college students protesting the Vietnam War. The graphic novel focuses on the victims and their lives leading up to the protest. It also focuses on the lives of the guardsmen and politicians responsible for the shooting. This book has 3+ positive reviews. 
  • Nearer my freedom : the interesting life of Olaudah Equiano by the author, Edinger, Monica
    • A 2023 YA nonfiction book that discusses human rights through an autobiographical slavery narrative. Poetry, Olaudah Equiano, and their lives of suffering, freedom, and abolition are the vehicle through which the story is told. This book has 4+ positive reviews.

Author: Jessica Fitzpatrick

Jessica Fitzpatrick is a high school librarian in Houston and is in her tenth year of education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Houston and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas. She is a 2022 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, 2022 TLA MVP, an AASL Inspire Special Event Grant recipient, 2022 YALSA’s MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens, the 2022 TLA Branding Award Winner for Reading Program, the 2020 TLA Branding Award Winner for Community Engagement, YALS article contributor, and on the TAYSHAS Reading Committee. She enjoys running, reading, and spending time with her two daughters and husband. You can follow her on Instagram at @librarian_fitz and on Twitter at @librarianfitz .

Categories: Collection Development, Literacy

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1 reply

  1. Luminary is a magnificent book! It’s worth reading for sure

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