27 Best Nonfiction Books for Teens That’ll Help Them Become Their Best Selves

Looking for the best nonfiction books for teens? I’ve got you covered.

Teenagers usually love reading for fun, but occasionally, they read for education — that’s where nonfiction books come in.

The books in this list range from strict education books to autobiographies to entertaining and inspiring true-life stories.

Whatever you are looking for, I am sure you’d find something you like.

Alright. Let’s get right into it.

Contents hide

Best Autobiography Nonfiction Books for Teens 

I Am Malala book cover

I Am Malala is an autobiography that details the remarkable life of a young girl who fought for the education rights of girls in the Swat Valley in Pakistan. 

Shot in the head and expected to die, Malala miraculously survived and continues to advocate for women’s rights around the world amid a persistent threat to her life. 

What’s in it for you:

  • A gripping story of the power of the human spirit to inspire change. 
  • An inspirational story for girls and women around the world. 

This is a must-read nonfiction book for teenage girls everywhere. 

2. 1776: America and Britain at War by David McCullough

1776 is a teen nonfiction book that narrates the story of America’s battle for independence from the British.

It includes amazing characters and people such as George III, George Washington, and several other soldiers and families who played crucial roles in the birth of the United States of America.

What’s in it for you: One of the greatest works on America’s history.

Anne Frank is the biography of a thirteen-year-old girl who together with her Jewish family went into hiding.

It chronicles her thoughts and emotions during the cruel wars, right up to the discovery of her family by the Gestapo and their imminent death soon after.

What’s in it for you: A testament to the strength of the human spirit, even in the face of insurmountable challenges.

Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation) by Laura Hillenbrand book cover

Unbroken is a teen nonfiction book that narrates the true story of a former Olympian who showed courage and fortitude as his plane crashed in enemy territory.

What’s in it for you: A dramatic, inspirational, and heart-wrenching story of one man’s suffering and subsequent triumph.

5. The Finest Hours (Young Reader’s Edition) by Michael J. Tougias and Paul Casey Sherman

The Finest Hours (Young Reader’s Edition) by Michael J. Tougias and Paul Casey Sherman book cover

The Finest Hours narrates the grueling story of a shipwreck and how four men on a tiny Coast Guard ship manage to go against all odds to save more than 30 sailors.

What’s in it for you: A great, timeless story of heroism at sea.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Young Reader’s Edition by William Kamkwamba book cover

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a compelling and gripping memoir of a young inventor who, through grit and perseverance, brought Electricity to his rural Malawian village.

What’s in it for you: How one young person’s ingenious idea can light up the world.

7. The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose

This teen nonfiction book narrates the tale of how two brothers, together with their fellow young friends, helped to spark a revolution in their native Denmark against the occupying Nazi troops.

What’s in it for you: An inspiring story of the bravery of young heroes.

100 African-Americans Who Shaped American History by Chrisanne Beckner book cover

This teen nonfiction book narrates the story of legendary African-Americans, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Dred Scott, Benjamin Banneker, and so much more. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Beautiful illustrations throughout. 
  • An easy-to-read, concise book.
  • Inspiring stories.
Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults) by Bryan Stevenson book cover

Just Mercy narrates the true stories of people who have been wrongfully imprisoned and their fight for justice.

What’s in it for you: A compelling, compassionate, and unforgettable true-life story.

10. Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman

Vincent and Theo- The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman book cover

Vincent and Theo narrates the story of two brothers who had an enduring and deep friendship that both shaped and impacted their lives positively.

What’s in it for you: A touching story of loyalty and undying brotherly love.

11. The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater book cover

The 57 Bus narrates the true-life story of two teenagers whose lives are irrevocably changed when they meet on a bus.

What’s in it for you: A remarkable story of pain, compassion, and forgiveness.

Best Self-Development Nonfiction Books for Teens

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey book cover

An adaptation of the popular The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this teen nonfiction book will teach teenagers the right habits to help them succeed at school and in life. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Written in a language that speaks directly to teenagers.
  • A life-changing, motivational book for teens.
  • A step-by-step guide to help teens win in all aspects of their lives. 

The 7 Habits is a gift to the teenage world. 

13. Anxiety Relief for Teens by Regine Galanti

According to this blog post on folio.ca, the current generation is more anxious — way, way more anxious — than previous generations. 

In this concise book for teens, Galanti will teach you how to manage your stress and anxiety and get back on track to living a better, happier, and healthier life.

What’s in it for you:

  • How to better understand yourself and your anxiety triggers. 
  • Best tools to help you manage your anxiety. 
  • Over 30 mindfulness practices. 

Teens suffering from anxiety issues will find great value in this book.

14. Getting Things Done for Teens by David Allen et al.

Getting Things Done for Teens by David Allen et al. book cover

This is one of the best productivity books for teens. It promises to teach you how to take control of your life amid the ever-expanding distractions of the teenage world.

What’s in it for you:

  • The right steps to help you gain control.
  • How to experience stress-free productivity.
  • The best guide for teens on personal organization. 
  • And so much more!

Teens struggling with managing their school and personal lives would benefit most from Getting Things Done

The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make by Sean Covey book cover

In this teen nonfiction book, Covey discusses the six most important aspects of a teenager’s life: self-esteem, parents, friends, sex, substances, school/career. 

What’s in it for you:

  • How to figure out and approach the major decisions in your life. 
  • The right habits that will help you cope and overcome your challenges. 
  • And so much more!

16. How to Survive Anything by Rachel Buchholz

How to Survive Anything by Rachel Buchholz book cover

This book teaches you everything you need to know about surviving anything, be it social or parental pressures, or even coming face to face with a bear. 

What’s in it for you:

  • A humorous yet informative guide on overcoming the challenges of school and the jungles of South America. 
  • The best advice to help you overcome any obstacle. 

A young adult adaptation of the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul, this book consists of inspiring stories of love, learning, and life. 

 What’s in it for you:

  • 101 inspiring stories that speak to teens.
  • Important life lessons on life, love, and learning.
  • And so much more!

18. The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens by David and Tom Gardner

The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens by David and Tom Gardner book cover

This is the ultimate guide on investing for teens. It will teach you how to stand out from the crowd and create a solid plan for financial independence. 

 What’s in it for you:

  • How to build a sound portfolio of stocks. 
  • How to dodge common spending and saving pitfalls. 
  • How to discover the best startups to invest in. 

19. Mindfulness for Teens in 10 Minutes a Day by Jennie Marie Battistin

This teen nonfiction book promises to teach you how to take control of your thoughts and feelings and improve your focus while at it. 

What’s in it for you:

  • How to reduce your stress and anxiety. 
  • How to feel more calm and peaceful. 
  • 60 guided practices to help you improve your focus. 
  • And so much more!

Teens overwhelmed with the onslaught of things going on in their lives — homework, social media, relationships — will greatly benefit from Mindfulness

20. Rising Above by Gregory Zuckerman

Rising Above by Gregory Zuckerman book cover

Rising Above narrates the inspirational stories of several high-profile athletes who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their youths to achieve extraordinary results. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Inspirational and encouraging messages to help you overcome your own obstacles. 
  • Invaluable principles and life lessons.

Non-sports and sports-loving teens will greatly appreciate the life lessons in this book. 

21. Shoot Your Shot by Vernon Brundage Jr.

Shoot Your Shot by Vernon Brundage Jr. book cover

What do all the big names in basketball — Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Stephen Curry — have in common? And how can you learn from them and apply their principles in your own life? 

Shoot Your Shot explores the key principles that propelled some of the big names in sports to their great heights and how the reader can take advantage of these principles to live a better, fuller life. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Key success principles.
  • How to accomplish your goals and dreams. 
  • A fun and entertaining read that will equip you with the necessary requisite toolset to succeed in the real world.

Teens who love basketball will definitely want to read this book; however, anyone can read it without necessarily having a deep interest in sports. 

Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens by Sheri Van Dijk book cover

This teen workbook promises to teach you how to manage and take control of your emotions. 

What’s in it for you:

  • How to stay calm in difficult situations.
  • How to create friendly environments with friends and family. 
  • How to effectively manage difficult emotions.
  • And so much more!

This book is a great resource for teens who struggle with controlling their emotions. 

23. Adulting 101 by Josh Burnette and Pete Hardesty

Adulting 101 is an ultimate guide to adulthood for teenagers. It teaches you everything you would need to know to succeed in the adult world. 

What’s in it for you:

  • How to find and succeed at your job. 
  • How to set and prioritize the right goals.
  • How to save and invest wisely. 
  • How to build the right relationships. 
  • And so much more!

24. What Color is Your Parachute? for Teens by Carol Christen and Richard Bolles

What Color is Your Parachute? for Teens by Carol Christen and Richard Bolles book cover

What Color is Your Parachute? promises to help you zero in on your skills and find a perfect career that highlights those skills. 

What’s in it for you:

  • How to discover your skills and passions. 
  • How to choose the best major or career. 
  • The ultimate guide on landing the perfect job or career for you.

Best Sex Education Books for Teens

25. Being a Teen by Jane Fonda

Being a Teen by Jane Fonda book cover

This is a straight-forward guide that talks about everything related to teens, such as relationships, sex, identity, love, etc. 

What’s in it for you:

  • A detailed guide on teenage related topics. 
  • How to overcome some of the challenges of being a teen, such as bullying, sexual abuse, eating disorders, etc.
  • How to build an empowering and authentic identity. 
  • And so much more!

Teens who are shy about discussing delicate topics with their parents or peers would benefit greatly from this book. 

26. S.E.X. by Heather Corinna

S.E.X. by Heather Corinna book cover

This is the ultimate book for teens on everything about sex. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Discusses several topics on sex, such as consent, safe sex, sexuality, emotional health, etc. 
  • Expert advice on contraceptives, STDs, etc.
  • And so much!

27. The ABC’s of LGBT+ by Ashley Mardell  

The ABC’s of LGBT+ is the best guide on transsexuality, bisexuality, and general gender identity education for teens. 

What’s in it for you:

  • How to understand your gender and sexual identity. 
  • A remarkable book on everything LGBT+

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