Notable Non-Fiction for Your TBR

November 29, 2019 | 2:00 PM

Notable Non-Fiction for Your TBR

By Team Fierce Reads

Do you love non-fiction?

As much as we love a good story about fictional characters, we also love changing up with the occasional biography, historical, or factual novel. Check out the list below for some of our favorites. 




The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

One teenager in a skirt. 
One teenager with a lighter.
One moment that changes both of their lives forever. 

If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.




Strangers Assume My Girlfriend is My Nurse by Shane Burcaw

With his signature acerbic wit and hilarious voice, twenty-something author, blogger, and entrepreneur Shane Burcaw is back with an essay collection about living a full life in a body that many people perceive as a tragedy. From anecdotes about first introductions where people patted him on the head instead of shaking his hand, to stories of passersby mistaking his able-bodied girlfriend for a nurse, Shane tackles awkward situations and assumptions with humor and grace. 

On the surface, these essays are about day-to-day life as a wheelchair user with a degenerative disease, but they are actually about family, love, and coming of age.




Mary's Monster by Lita Judge

Mary Shelley first began penning Frankenstein as part of a dare to write a ghost story, but the seeds of that story were planted long before that night. Mary, just nineteen years old at the time, had been living on her own for three years and had already lost a baby days after birth. She was deeply in love with famed poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, a mad man who both enthralled and terrified her, and her relationship with him was rife with scandal and ridicule. But rather than let it crush her, Mary fueled her grief, pain, and passion into a book that the world has still not forgotten 200 years later.

Dark, intense, and beautiful, this free-verse novel with over 300 pages of gorgeous black-and-white watercolor illustrations is a unique and unforgettable depiction of one of the greatest authors of all time.




Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu

Throughout history and across the globe, one characteristic connects the daring women of Brazen: their indomitable spirit.

With her characteristic wit and dazzling drawings, celebrated graphic novelist Pénélope Bagieu profiles the lives of these feisty female role models, some world famous, some little known. From Nellie Bly to Mae Jamison or Josephine Baker to Naziq al-Abid, the stories in this comic biography are sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies. 




Mighty Moe by Rachel Swaby and Kit Fox

Rachel Swaby and Kit Fox present Mighty Moe, the untold true story of runner Maureen Wilton, whose world record-breaking marathon time at age 13 was met first with misogyny and controversy, but ultimately with triumph.

In 1967, a 13-year-old girl named Maureen Wilton set the women's world marathon record, running 26.2 miles in 3:15:23. Nicknamed “Little Mo” by her track teammates, Wilton was already a headline-making athlete. But her accomplishment was greeted with controversy and misogynistic accusations of cheating. Wilton receded into the background, left the sport, and kept her achievement secret.

This is the story of what happened, and how Maureen found her way back to the sport decades later as the mother of a young runner herself.

Introduction by Shalane Flanagan, winner of the 2017 NYC Marathon; afterword by Katherine Switzer, first official female participant of the Boston Marathon in 1967.




Elon Musk: A Mission to Save the World by Anna Crowley Redding

A riveting and beautifully designed YA biography that shows how a once-bullied school boy became an iconic visionary who the New York Times described as "arguably the most important and successful entrepreneur in the world." 

Elon Musk is the visionary behind SpaceX and CEO of the electric car company Tesla. He is working on unique and daring improvements to both public transit and solar energy. And then, there's his highly-publicized plans for colonizing Mars...

But behind the mind-blowing headlines and legendary drive is the story of a bullied and beaten school boy, who through creativity and determination decided to rewrite his story and find his own way to make the world a better place. And to do so with a sense of fun and style. 

From hosting raves to pay for college to re-writing the rules on space travel, Elon Musk has always gone his own way. And now, award-winning investigative journalist, Anna Crowley Redding takes readers on a well-researched trip through Elon's life and accomplishments. 




Polar Explorer by Jade Hameister

From her first trip to Everest Base Camp as a young woman, Jade Hameister knew what she wanted to achieve - the impossible. Jade battled  atrocious weather, unbelievably low temperatures, and a sled  that weighed almost twice as much as her to become the youngest person ever to complete the Polar Hat Trick.

Jade began her quest to complete the Polar Hat Trick in April 2016 when she was fourteen. She became the youngest person to ski to the North Pole from anywhere outside the last degree - the point where most people begin - and was named Australian Geographic Society’s Young Adventurer of the Year. But that was just the beginning. In June of 2017, she became the youngest woman to complete the crossing of Greenland, the second largest ice cap on the planet. On January 11, 2018, she arrived at the South Pole after an epic 37 day journey through Antarctica, becoming the youngest person to ski to both Poles and the youngest person to complete the Polar Hat Trick. Accompanied on her journey by National Geographic, Jade's story will be featured in a TV documentary in fall 2018.




Your Brain Needs a Hug by Rae Earl

Imbued with a sense of humor, understanding, and hope, Your Brain Needs a Hug is a judgment-free guide for living well with your mind.

My Mad Fat Diary author Rae Earl offers her personalized advice on the A to Zs of mental health, social media, family and friendship. When she was a teenager, Rae dealt with OCD, anxiety, and an eating disorder, but she survived, and she thrived.

Your Brain Needs a Hug is filled with her friendly advice, coping strategies and laugh-out-loud moments to get you through the difficult days. Witty, honest, and enlightening, this is the perfect read for feeling happier and healthier and learning to navigate life without feeling overwhelmed or isolated.




Deep Dark Blue by Polo Tate

I want to be in the Air Force someday.

These are the words Polo Tate engraves on her junior dog tags at age eleven. An unpopular dream for most young girls, but her hard work pays off and at age eighteen, Polo finds herself in Basic Training at the United States Air Force Academy.

She does everything right, except fly under the radar. No one prepares her for what comes next. Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse at the hands of her superior. Betrayal at the highest levels of authority. Harassment from her peers, who refuse to believe her story.




History vs Women by Anita Sarkeesian and Ebony Adams, Ph.D.

Rebels, rulers, scientists, artists, warriors and villains

Women are, and have always been, all these things and more. 

Looking through the ages and across the globe, Anita Sarkeesian, founder of Feminist Frequency, along with Ebony Adams PHD, have reclaimed the stories of twenty-five remarkable women who dared to defy history and change the world around them. From Toltec queens to Chinese pirates, Native American ballerinas to Egyptian scientists, Japanese novelists to British Prime Ministers, History vs Women will reframe the history that you thought you knew.

Featuring beautiful full-color illustrations of each woman and a bold graphic design, this standout nonfiction title is the perfect read for teens (or adults!) who want the true stories of phenomenal women from around the world and insight into how their lives and accomplishments impacted both their societies and our own.




Attucks!: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team that Awakened a City by Phillip Hoose

The true story of the all-black high school basketball team that broke the color barrier in segregated 1950s Indiana, masterfully told by National Book Award winner Phil Hoose.

By winning the state high school basketball championship in 1955, ten teens from an Indianapolis school meant to be the centerpiece of racially segregated education in the state shattered the myth of their inferiority. Their brilliant coach had fashioned an unbeatable team from a group of boys born in the South and raised in poverty. Anchored by the astonishing Oscar Robertson, a future college and NBA star, the Crispus Attucks Tigers went down in history as the first state champions from Indianapolis and the first all-black team in U.S. history to win a racially open championship tournament—an integration they had forced with their on-court prowess.

From native Hoosier and award-winning author Phillip Hoose comes this true story of a team up against impossible odds, making a difference when it mattered most.


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