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Recommended reads on this page include memoirs and narrative nonfiction on science and a variety of contemporary social issues, including racism, mental health, immigration, and anti-AAPI violence. Genre information can be found at the end of each book description.
All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto, by George M. Johnson
All Boys Aren't Blue by
Publication Date: 2020-04-28
In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys. Autobiographies and memoirs; Biographies; Essays.
The Birds of Pandemonium: Life Among the Exotic and the Endangered, by Michele Raffin
The Birds of Pandemonium: Life Among the Exotic and the Endangered by
ISBN: 9781616201364, 240 p.
Publication Date: 2014-10-07
Pandemonium, the home and bird sanctuary that Raffin shares with some of the world's most remarkable birds, is a conservation organization dedicated to saving and breeding birds at the edge of extinction, with the goal of eventually releasing them into the wild. Raffin discusses her crusade to save precious lives, and offers rare insights into how following a passion can transform not only oneself but also the world. Autobiographies and memoirs; Life stories; Nature Writing.
Discovering Wes Moore: Chances, Choices, Changes, by Wes Moore
Discovering Wes Moore: Chances, Choices, Changes by
ISBN: 9780385741682, 176 pages
Publication Date: 2013-09-10
The author, a Rhodes scholar and combat veteran, analyzes factors that influenced him as well as another man of the same name and from the same neighborhood who was drawn into a life of drugs and crime and ended up serving life in prison, focusing on the influence of relatives, mentors, and social expectations that could have led either of them on different paths. Autobiographies and memoirs; Biographies.
(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation About Mental Health, edited by Kelly Jensen
(Don't) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation About Mental Health by
Publication Date: 2018-10-02
To understand mental health, we need to talk openly about it. Because there’s no single definition of crazy, there’s no single experience that embodies it, and the word itself means different things–wild? extreme? disturbed? passionate? – to different people. In this book, thirty-three actors, athletes, writers, and artists offer essays, lists, comics, and illustrations that explore a wide range of topics: their personal experiences with mental illness, how we do and don’t talk about mental health, help for better understanding how every person’s brain is wired differently, and what, exactly, might make someone crazy. Anthologies; Essays; Growing up; Social issues.
From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial That Galvanized the Asian American Movement, by Paula Yoo
From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial That Galvanized the Asian American Movement by
Publication Date: 2021-04-20
America in 1982: Japanese car companies are on the rise and believed to be putting U.S. autoworkers out of their jobs. Anti–Asian American sentiment simmers, especially in Detroit. A bar fight turns fatal, leaving a Chinese American man, Vincent Chin, beaten to death at the hands of two white men, autoworker Ronald Ebens and his stepson, Michael Nitz. When Ebens and Nitz pled guilty to manslaughter and received only a $3,000 fine and three years' probation, the lenient sentence sparked outrage in the Asian American community. This outrage galvanized the Asian American movement and paved the way for a new federal civil rights trial of the case. Narrative nonfiction; Social issues.
Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren
Lab Girl by
ISBN: 9781101873724, 304 p.
Publication Date: 2017-02-28
Jahren has built three laboratories in which she's studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. She tells about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom's labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and the disappointments, triumphs and exhilarating discoveries of scientific work. Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home. Autobiographies and memoirs; Life stories; Science Writing.
In the Country We Love: My Family Divided, by Diane Guerrero
In the Country We Love by
ISBN: 9781250134967, 272 p.
Publication Date: 2017-05-30
Diane Guerrero, the television actress from the megahit Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just fourteen years old on the day her parents and brother were arrested and deported to Colombia while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family. Autobiographies and memoirs; Life stories; Politics and global affairs; Society and culture.
A Map Is Only One Story: Twenty Writers on Immigration, Family, and the Meaning of Home, edited by Nicole Chung and Mensah Demary
A Map Is Only One Story: Twenty Writers on Immigration, Family, and the Meaning of Home by
ISBN: 9781948226783, 234 p.
Publication Date: 2020-02-11
From rediscovering an ancestral village in China to experiencing the realities of American life as a Nigerian, the search for belonging crosses borders and generations. Selected from the archives of Catapult magazine, the essays in A Map Is Only One Story highlight the human side of immigration policies and polarized rhetoric, as twenty writers share provocative personal stories of existing between languages and cultures. Anthologies; Essays; Society and culture.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by
ISBN: 9780316453707, 320 p.
Publication Date: 2020-03-10
A fast-paced, conversational history of racist and antiracist ideas in America, from their roots in Europe until today, adapted from the National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning. “This is NOT a history book. This is a book about the here and now. A book to help us better understand why we are where we are. A book about race.” Antiracist literature; History books; Social issues.
We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults, by Susan Kuklin
We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults by
ISBN: 9780763678845, 192 p.
Publication Date: 2019-01-08
Meet nine courageous young adults who have lived in the United States with a secret for much of their lives: they are not U.S. citizens. They came from Colombia, Mexico, Ghana, Independent Samoa, and Korea. They came seeking education, fleeing violence, and escaping poverty. All have heartbreaking and hopeful stories about leaving their homelands and starting a new life in America. And all are weary of living in the shadows. Collective biographies; Narrative nonfiction; Social issues.