Reality Rules!

A Guide to Teen Nonfiction Reading Interests

by Elizabeth Fraser


This guide identifies more than 500 of the most popular nonfiction for teens and organizes them into specific genres and reading interests that teens enjoy—from true adventure, sports and life stories, and how-to. Grades 6-12.

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Cover image for Reality Rules!

June 2008

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 264
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Reference and Information Services and Tools/Readers' Advisory and Leisure Reading
  Reference and Information Services and Tools/Arts and Humanities Literature Reference Tools

It's real, it's radical, and it rocks! Nonfiction has become the preferred genre for many teen readers, both male and female. This guide identifies some of the most popular nonfiction for today's teens, and organizes it into specific genres and reading interests that teens enjoy—from true adventure, sports and life stories, to do-it-yourself. More than 500 titles are described, with notes on classics, award winners, reading levels, read-alikes, and titles that especially appeal to boys and to reluctant readers, or are appropriate for book groups. This is an essential readers' advisory resource for anyone who works with teen readers, and a practical collection development aid. Grades 6-12.

Teens read nonfiction for pleasure as much or more than adults. In recent years, librarians have become increasingly aware of the appeal of this literature and the need to offer and promote it to teen readers. This guide focuses on titles created for teens and those with strong teen appeal. The author covers more than 500 titles published since 2000, also including benchmarks and perennial classics that teens continue to enjoy. For each title you'll find complete bibliographic information, a descriptive annotation, indications of award winners, reading levels, read-alikes, titles suitable for book groups, and books with extra appeal for boys. In addition, she identifies fiction read-alikes and sure bets for each subgenre (i.e., consider starting with).

A general introduction and chapter introductions discuss the appeals of the genre, working with teens, and issues related to nonfiction. This is an essential guide for any librarian who works with teens.

Author Info

Elizabeth (Betsy) Fraser is currently selector for the Calgary Public Library system in Calgary, Alberta. She has been a reviewer for VOYA, School Library Journal, and CM (Canadian Review of Materials). She has served on several committees for the American and Canadian Library Association, including the Michael L. Printz Award and the Award for Excellence in Nonfiction. Fraser is the recipient of the 2016 YALSA Service to Young Adults Achievement Award.



"I have post-it notes stuck in this book...of titles and subjects I will want to include in my next book order...This is for those libraries trying to beef up their nonfiction 'leisure' reading materials. Recommended."Library Media Connection

"Fraser fills a hole in the readers'-advisory literature with this reference on nonfiction reading interests for teens. The book annotates more than 500 titles in 11 chapters....The author also provides nonfiction and fiction read-alikes in each chapter and for many individual titles. In addition to aiding young adult librarians, this book would be useful for adult librarians who sometimes serve young adults or for small libraries with a single service desk."Booklist

"This resources is valuable not only for suggesting nonfiction reading for teens but also for helping librarians and teachers learn about the types of nonfiction teens read for fun. It can also be used as a collection development aid. The annotations give enough information for basic readers' advisory resources, both in print and online, rounding out a useful tool for all libraries serving teens."VOYA

"Will teens read nonfiction? Only if they know what's available, and this excellent guide is a great start to collection building and display to catch a reader."Teacher Librarian

"The emphasis is on recreational reading, and fiction read-alikes are helpfully provided in each chapter. This is another good addition to the publisher's ongoing Genreflecting Advisory Series."American Libraries

"Fraser's expertise is evident in this guide to suggested titles for teens. Books are arranged by genre, including adventure, crime, memoirs, autobiographies, biographies, history, science, math, the environment, sports, how-tos, the arts, and understanding and changing the world.... Additional information includes which awards the titles have won, books that both adults and teens will enjoy, books aimed at male readers, those suitable for book groups, core titles that have stood the test of time, and those for reluctant readers. Most of the titles annotated have been published since 2000, although older classic and popular titles are included. Each chapter contains a brief selection of titles under Consider Starting with, followed by Fiction Read-Alikes. The outstanding suggestions are often supported by excellent references at the end of each chapter. This book is a must-read for any teacher or librarian working with teens."School Library Journal

"Fraser's chapter topics accurately reflect current teen reading interests, including true adventure, true crime, and how-to books. The author has been very thoughtful in designing the key elements of her text. Three of these features extend this resource's usefulness beyond that of other books developed for the teen librarian. The first is a list of keywords after each entry, which provides an instant search strategy for finding related titles. The second is the 'Consider Starting With' section, which offers quick guidance for librarians or teachers doing readers advisory. The third and best part of this resource is the 'Fiction Read-Alike' annotated list at the end of each chapter. This is a great way to help kids combine fiction and nonfiction reading when they are truly captivated by a subject. The tabbing on the outside of the book allows for quick and easy access to any chapter in the book. The topical nature of chapters makes this book equally accessible to the newest and most experienced teen librarian or teacher; it is similarly useful as a reference book for capable teens to use on their own. Reality Rules! is an innovative resource for those who work with teens in any type of library or school. It helps librarians and teachers match the right book to the right teen, placing nonfiction books into the hands of teens at the moment when they are ready to read them. The only way this resource would be any better is if it were longer."Reference & User Services Quarterly

"Fraser's descriptions of the books are concise and well written. Although she is Canadian, most of the books are from the United States. While not a book to be read cover-to-cover, it does fill a gap in the literature and as such should be purchased by any young adult librarian looking to expand their collection."ARBA

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