The 50 Best Nonfiction Books for Teens

  • Post last modified:December 28, 2020
  • Post category:Books

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.

Editor’s Picks

1. Official SAT Study Guide by The College Board

2. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Young Reader’s Edition by William Kamkwamba

3. S.E.X. by Heather Corinna

4. I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai

5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey

1. Official SAT Study Guide by The College Board

Official SAT Study Guide 2020 Edition by The College Board book cover | nonfiction books for teens

Overall best book on education.

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

One of the most inspiring true-life stories for teens.

3. S.E.X. by Heather Corinna

S.E.X. by Heather Corinna book cover

Overall best book on sex education for teens.

I Am Malala book cover

Overall best autobiography book for teens.

Overall best self-help book for teens.

Autobiographies / True Stories

  1. I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai 
  2. 1776: America and Britain at War by David McCullough 
  3. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank 
  4. Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation) by Laura Hillenbrand 
  5. The Finest Hours (Young Reader’s Edition) by Michael J. Tougias and Paul Casey Sherman
  6. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Young Reader’s Edition by William Kamkwamba 
  7. The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose 
  8. 100 African-Americans Who Shaped American History by Chrisanne Beckner 
  9. Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults) by Bryan Stevenson 
  10. Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman 
  11. The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater 
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 amidst 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 for teenage girls everywhere. 

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

1776 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 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

The 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 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.

Education

  1. Official SAT Study Guide by The College Board 
  2. The Official ACT Prep Guide by ACT 
  3. SAT Prep Black Book by Mike and Patrick Barrett 
  4. Careers: The Graphic Guide to Planning Your Future by DK 

1. Official SAT Study Guide by The College Board

Official SAT Study Guide 2020 Edition by The College Board book cover | nonfiction books for teens

If you’re looking for good nonfiction books for teens, then a book that will help you ace your SAT exams should be top of the list, right? 

What’s in it for you:

  • Eight official SAT practice tests. 
  • Additional instructions and test information. 
  • Up to date information and SAT strategies from the College Board. 
  • And so much more.

Official SAT Study Guide is a must-read for every teen preparing for college in the US. 

The Official ACT Prep Guide by ACT book cover

This book is the only guide from the official ACT exam makers, and it includes practice tests that can be taken at your own pace. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Detailed answers and explanations.
  • Additional online resources.
  • Practical tips and advice to help you boost your score.
  • And so much more!

Every teen preparing for the ACT exams should read this book. 

3. SAT Prep Black Book by Mike and Patrick Barrett

SAT Prep Black Book by Mike and Patrick Barrett book cover

SAT Prep Black Book contains some of the most effective SAT strategies up to date. 

 What’s in it for you:

  • Proven and tested advice that works. 
  • Covers all aspects of the SAT.
  • A clear and concise book that provides a roadmap to success in SAT exams. 
  • And so much more!
Careers- The Graphic Guide to Planning Your Future by DK book cover

Careers is packed with great advice and ideas that will help you choose the best career path. 

What’s in it for you:

  • The best advice you’ll need on your path to the perfect job. 
  • Your personal career handbook. 
  • Advice on a career spanning several fields. 

High school and college students will greatly appreciate this handbook.

Fun, Art, Others

  1. The Totally Awesome Book of Useless Information by Noel Botham 
  2. 97 Things to Do Before You Finish High School by Erika Stalder 
  3. The Master Guide to Drawing Anime by Christopher Hart 
  4. The Way Things Work Now by David Macaulay 
  5. Drawing Dragons by Sandra Staple 
  6. How to Draw Cool Stuff by Catherine Holmes 
  7. Not Parent Approved: A Fun Card Game for Kids, Tweens, Teens, Families, and Mischief Makers 
  8. Why Fish Fart by Francesca Gould 
The Totally Awesome Book of Useless Information by Noel Botham book cover

The Totally Awesome Book of Useless Information is just a fun book containing several cool facts that you can amaze your friends with.

For example, do you know the favorite food of cockroaches? Oh, and do you know how long it will take to drive to the sun?

These and many more fun facts are contained in this book.

What’s in it for you: Funny, wild, and odd facts that will amuse you and your friends.

97 Things to Do Before You Finish High School by Erika Stalder book cover

High School is supposed to be fun and exciting, but for many, it is one of the most stressful periods of their young lives. 

In this book, Stalder will teach you 97 fun things to do while in High School, so you can ease up the tension and have a lot more fun. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Discover new things to do — hobbies, places, new friends. 
  • All the fun stuff that you’re not taught in school, such as how to plan your first road trip, host a film festival, etc. 
  • And so much more.

Adventurous teens will definitely love this book. 

3. The Master Guide to Drawing Anime by Christopher Hart

The Master Guide to Drawing Anime by Christopher Hart book cover

The Master Guide will teach you how to create original anime characters from scratch.

  What’s in it for you:

  • The six common anime types and how to draw them.
  • Easy-to-follow, step-by-step tutorials.
  • Templates
  • And so much more!

Anime-loving teens would get a kick out of this book.

4. The Way Things Work Now by David Macaulay

The Way Things Work Now by David Macaulay book cover

In this book, Macaulay discusses everything about technology and how it impacts our lives. 

 What’s in it for you:

  • The inner workings of the latest technology developments. 
  • A humorous book about the way machines work. 
  • Detailed illustrations. 
  • And so much more!

5. Drawing Dragons by Sandra Staple

Drawing Dragons by Sandra Staple book cover

This book will teach you how to draw all sorts of cool dragons. And the best thing is that it is beginner-friendly, so anyone can learn the techniques in it. 

What’s in it for you:

  • An easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide. 
  • The best tricks and techniques to help you create awesome fire-breathing dragons. 
  • How to draw all sorts of dragons with just a pencil.

Dragon-loving teens will get a kick out of this book. 

6. How to Draw Cool Stuff by Catherine Holmes

How to Draw Cool Stuff by Catherine Holmes book cover

This book will teach you how to draw the coolest things you can imagine. 

 What’s in it for you:

  • Easy, step-by-step tutorials. 
  • Fun, practical exercises for everyone. 
  • How to train your brain to visualize like an artist.
  • And so much more!

How to Draw Cool Stuff is perfect for teens with an interest in art.

Not Parent Approved- A Fun Card Game for Kids, Tweens, Teens, Families, and Mischief Makers book cover

This is an award-winning party game for tweens and teens that will distract them from their screens and get them giggling while playing some card games. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Great for teens who do not love reading. 
  • A fun card game that everyone will want to play.
  • Portable cards so you can have fun wherever you are. 

This card game is usually suitable for older teens 12 years and up. 

8. Why Fish Fart by Francesca Gould

Why Fish Fart by Francesca Gould book cover

Why Fish Fart consists of the craziest facts in the world. 

What’s in it for you:

  • For example, which coffee type is made of poop?
  • Some of the weirdest facts in the world, and so much more!

Food and Cooking

  1. Teens Cook: How to Cook What You Want to Eat by Megan Carle et al. 
  2. The How-to Cookbook for Teens by Julee Morrison 

Teens Cook caters to teenagers’ unique food preferences and teaches them how to cook what they want to eat. 

 What’s in it for you:

  • Over 75 sumptuous recipes. 
  • The ultimate guide to cooking as a teen without burning the house down.
  • Easy-to-follow, step-by-step tutorials.

This is the perfect gift for teens who are interested in preparing their own meals.

2. The How-to Cookbook for Teens by Julee Morrison

The How-to Cookbook for Teens by Julee Morrison book cover

This book promises to make you a self-made cooking superstar.

What’s in it for you:

  • 100 teenage-friendly cooking recipes.
  • Learn the basics of cooking while having some fun.
  • Expert advice and tips
  • And so much more!

Self-development

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey 
  2. Anxiety Relief for Teens by Regine Galanti 
  3. Getting Things Done for Teens by David Allen et al. 
  4. The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make by Sean Covey 
  5. How to Survive Anything by Rachel Buchholz 
  6. Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul by Jack Canfield 
  7. The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens by David and Tom Gardner 
  8. Mindfulness for Teens in 10 Minutes a Day by Jennie Marie Battistin 
  9. Rising Above by Gregory Zuckerman 
  10. Shoot Your Shot by Vernon Brundage Jr. 
  11. Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens by Sheri Van Dijk 
  12. Adulting 101 by Josh Burnette and Pete Hardesty 
  13. What Color is Your Parachute? for Teens by Carol Christen and Richard Bolles 
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 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. 

2. 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.

3. 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 out there 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 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!

5. 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!

7. 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. 

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

This 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

9. 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. 

10. 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 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. 

12. Adulting 101 by Josh Burnette and Pete Hardesty

Adulting 101 is an ultimate guide to adulthood for teenagers. It teaches them everything they 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!

13. 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.

Sex Education

  1. Being a Teen by Jane Fonda 
  2. S.E.X. by Heather Corinna 
  3. The ABC’s of LGBT+ by Ashley Mardell

1. 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. 

2. S.E.X. by Heather Corinna

S.E.X. by Heather Corinna book cover

This is the ultimate guide 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!

3. 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+

Society and Racism

  1. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds 
  2. This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell
Stamped- Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds book cover

Regrettably, racism is still pervasive in today’s world.

In Stamped, Reynolds explores the journey of racism from then to now, what has changed and why does racism still linger. 

What’s in it for you:

  • A remix of national book award winner Stamped from the Beginning.
  • The several forms that racism ideas take. 
  • How to identify and get rid of racist ideas in your daily life. 
  • The history of racist ideas, and hope for a better, antiracist future. 

Stamped is a must-read for all teens growing up in America and other parts of the world where racism is still prevalent. 

2. This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell

This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell book cover

This Book Is Anti-Racist will take you on a journey of self-reflection, as you examine the origins of racism and the ways in which it can be stopped and uprooted from society.

What’s in it for you: A book written for everyone in a racialized society.

Teen Boys’ Education

  1. Manual to Manhood by Jonathan Catherman 
  2. For Boys Only by Marc Aronson and HP Newquist

1. Manual to Manhood by Jonathan Catherman  

Manual to Manhood by Jonathan Catherman book cover

Manual to Manhood is the ultimate guide that teaches teenage boys everything they need to know before they enter manhood. 

What’s in it for you:

  • How to talk to a girl. 
  • How to fold a shirt. 
  • How to wear cologne correctly. 
  • And 97 other skills teenage boys need to survive. 

This is the perfect gift for teenage boys. 

2. For Boys Only by Marc Aronson and HP Newquist

For Boys Only by Marc Aronson and HP Newquist boook cover

For Boys Only teaches teen boys all the cool stuff they need to know, such as taking a ride on one of the scariest rollercoasters in America.

 What’s in it for you:

  • The most fun book you’ll ever read. 
  • Fun information on almost everything.
  • How to create fake blood, find hidden treasures, etc.

Adventurous teen boys would love this one. 

Teen Girls’ Education

  1. Girls Garage by Emily Pilloton 
  2. The Teen Girl’s Survival Guide by Lucie Hemmen
  3. 101 Things Every Girl Should Know by Editors of Faithgirlz 
  4. Teen Trailblazers by Jennifer Calvert 
  5. 100 Extraordinary Stories for Courageous Girls by Jean Fischer

1. Girls Garage by Emily Pilloton

Girls Garage by Emily Pilloton book cover

Girls Garage will teach teenage girls interested in DIY projects how to use tools and tackle projects like a pro.

What’s in it for you:

  • Inspiring DIY projects for teen girls. 
  • Home repair and woodcraft projects. 
  • The ultimate guide for building and projects for teenage girls. 
The Teen Girl’s Survival Guide by Lucie Hemmen book cover

This book will teach teen girls everything they need to know about surviving and thriving in their world, such as how to make friends, avoid drama, and deal with social stress.

What’s in it for you:

  • A fun and entertaining guide for teen girls.
  • How to create and maintain healthy relationships. 
  • How to improve and develop yourself. 
  • And so much more!

3. 101 Things Every Girl Should Know by Editors of Faithgirlz

101 Things Every Girl Should Know by Editors of Faithgirlz book cover

101 Things discusses some of the most important stuff that teen girls go through. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Inspirational and encouraging messages for girls. 
  • How to deal with everyday situations, such as how to cook dinner, accept compliments, etc.
  • And so much more!

Tweens and younger teenage girls will benefit most from this book. 

4. Teen Trailblazers by Jennifer Calvert  

Teen Trailblazers by Jennifer Calvert book cover

Teen Trailblazers narrates the true stories of young girls who made a big difference in the world before they reached the age of 20. 

What’s in it for you:

  • True and inspiring accounts of 30 young women who achieved incredible feats.
  • Inspiration for young girls everywhere in the world. 
  • Pretty illustrations that make the book a fun read. 

This is a must-read for young girls around the world. 

100 Extraordinary Stories for Courageous Girls by Jean Fischer book cover

This book narrates the stories of 100 women of faith — past and present — who have made a great impact on our world. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Amazing, inspiring stories of women of faith from past and present.
  • Beautiful, colorful illustrations. 

100 Extraordinary Stories is perfect for young girls of faith who need a little bit of inspiration. 

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