7 Best Books for Parenting Teens

7 Best Books for Parenting Teens

I tried to think about where I have looked over the years to help us when we were frustrated or upset, or just needing a few pointers. When it comes to parenting, here are 6 (now 7!) of my favorite go-to best books for parenting teens.

There is so much information in my head about raising kids, teenagers in particular. I am a such a reader, that it is really hard to pin down my favorites, because I rarely meet a book that I don’t like.

We are all looking for answers, strategies, and ideas to try. I try to break down each of these so you can find one that fits your needs as you work at raising teenagers! *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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My list of best books for parenting teens

Teen Proofing

A great book for parenting teens!1) Teen-Proofing Fostering Responsible Decision Making in Your Teenager I have to say that John Rosemond is my parenting mentor, guru, go-to guy!!!!!!! We have every single book of his, or did have, because I have loaned out some and never got them back!

He is amazing. No nonsense, but loving strategies that work. He terms himself as a parent, as someone who uses “grandma’s law”. I love him!

If you have toddlers, then Making the Terrible Twos Terrific was awesome, that’s the first book of his that I read. I have recommended it hundreds of times to personal friends and families that I have come into contact as a preschool teacher.

Teen-Proofing research was begun by him as a parent of teenagers himself years ago. This is a great book to refer back to again and again, as are all of his books. “Managing teens so they make self-protective rather than self-destructive decisions is teen-proofing.” The book is full of real world examples that are simple to implement.

Learned Optimism

2) This was a book that I had to read back when I was teaching elementary school, long before I had my own kids, let alone teenagers, but it was so good that I held onto it.

On the back of the book, the blurb says, “…Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I-give-up’ habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue.

These skills can help break up depression, boost your immune system, better develop your potential, and make you happier.”

Huh! That’s a big mouthful, but really it means that you can learn how to talk to yourself in a more  positive way. It’s a bit text book-y, but really interesting.

I do recommend it because it gives real life examples and you really can use the information to change your life for the better, which in turn will help your kids, your marriage, really all aspects of your life. It truly might save someone’s life with some of these strategies.

The Optimistic Child

3) The Optimistic Child is a sequel to Seligman’s first book with children specifically in mind. It shows the relationship between what children think and how it affects their lives.

“This book shows that learning the skills of optimism not only reduces the risk of depression in children but also boosts school performance improves physical health. It provides them with the self-reliance they need as they approach the teenage years and adulthood.”

Again, a bit textbook-y, but so applicable! I have tried to use many of the strategies with my kids in conversations over the years. As I skim through to write this post, I am amazed at all the strategies that I could still use, and thinking maybe I will reread a chapter or two!

You can teach your child how to talk to him or herself in their own heads. It is amazing how negative we can be to our own selves. This book and his first show how this is a skill that can be taught (and learned!)  Both for adults and kids. Try it:)

The Last Lecture

4)  The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch  Ok, this is a gem. Pausch wrote this as a “last lecture” which many professors are asked to do imagining that it is the end of their life and wanting to share a great lesson. He actually was dying, and it truly was his last lecture. But, the book isn’t about dying.

His lecture and the book are all about LIVING. I have read snippets and chapters out loud to my kids at bedtime, in the car on trips, in the middle of a teenage drama scene in our own house…  His words are great, and not to be forgotten. Life is too short, so get busy!

Cleaning House

Written by a mom in the trenches. Another great book for parenting teens.

5) Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement This book is hilarious. It is the journal of Wyma’s year of working with her family to get back to the real world. She has a great writing voice, and I loved everything she had to say.

Wyma breaks down each month’s goal into bite-sized chunks, gives advice to the reader about the ups and downs of living through this experience.

She has a blog called The MOAT blog www.themoatblog.com  (MOAT stands for A Mother of Adolescents and Teens) which I recommend. She did a bootcamp this past summer with her Cleaning House goals in mind.

I have 3 boys, and the last thing that I want a future daughter-in-law to say to me is that my son doesn’t know how to help around the house. All of my boys know how to cook and clean, among other things. It was nice to read her book for affirmation that I am not the only “mean mom” around!

Ending the Homework Hassle

6) Ending the Homework Hassle John Rosemond  I told you that I was crazy about this guy! This is a book that we have gone back to again and again over the years. Such practical and user-friendly advice.

We have used many of his strategies, and I will have to say ALL have worked. His advice is the type that you do a face slap and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?!”

I’m a teacher, and I wish that I had known about this guy back when I was in my 4th grade classroom. The main thing that I like about this book is that it helps the parent move the child to independence at school which leads to more success at school.

Smart but Scattered Teens

7) Smart but Scattered Teens Richard Guare  This book is a new one for me, but I really like everything in it! It explains how our teens’ brains are still developing, and this is why there can be so many issues going on with them especially with their ability to get anything accomplished.

This is not just a book for parents with kids that have ADHD.It is for parents that are constantly nagging their kids to get through the day. The authors give “critical tools needed to solve problems, manage time, and perform tasks.”- Library Journal

I hope that my list of  the best books for parenting teens helps you!

I always like to have a parenting book with me as well as a book for pleasure. Actually, I’m such a book nerd, that I love non-fiction parent-help books just as much, maybe even more than some fiction because they are so helpful. It’s always good to feel smarter at the end of the day.

This list of great books for parenting teenagers, mindful parenting, and positive parenting techniques has helped my husband and I so much -I hope it helps you too…

Good luck, and let me know if you have any books for parenting teens that you would recommend!

Related posts:

Best Books for Teaching Social Justice

When You Have An 18 Year Old: Information You Need To Know

Our 2 1/2 Rules for Teen Discipline

Parent Toolkit for Helping Our Teens Survive High School

27 Best Books To Read As A Young Adult For Success

15+ Best Gift Guides for Teens

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles!

And, here’s a link to Amazon where I have an ever growing list of my favorites for teens and adults!

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure to visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube where I share lots of helpful info for parents of tweens and teens! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️ 

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How To Get Ready For College: 7 Things To Know!

How To Get Ready For College: 7 Things To Know!

Many people ask how to get ready for college…

How to get ready for college? -that is a question easily answered with conversations that you can have with your child over their teenage years!

As we got our kids ready for leaving high school, it looked different for our olderst two boys so far. Because there is so much to know, I wrote about how to get ready for college using conversations with your teens.

Have you got a teen or two in your house? For awhile, we had three teenage boys. Our oldest two are now in their 20s, and we have survived so far.

One thing that we have used in our parenting journey is conversation. It has helped us to answer the question, “How to get ready for college?” Lots of talking  about lots of topics. Here’s a link to another post, 5 Ways to Improve Communication With Your Teen.

**This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive (at no additional cost to you) a small commission, which helps pay for this blog. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Things to consider when thinking about how to get ready for college

College Bound came about as a way for me to give back to other parents. My husband and I struggled to find our way parenting our teens with no real road map in our hands.

There is no “what to expect” when your teen is 13 or 15 or 18….! We also wondered about the answers for, “How to get ready for college?”

We stumbled onto a system of having regular conversations with our teens. It has really worked for each of our boys, and they are all as different as they can be.

Grab the Conversation freebies here! I realized since publishing my book that I left out the questions and conversation starters for the end of each conversation-ugggh! So, here is a link to that list of questions. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Did we use magic in this process of getting ready for college?

Many of you might scratch your head and wonder how it is that we got our teenage boys to talk. It was not magic, if that’s what you’re wondering.

We started these “talks” when the boys were younger, always around the time that their grades arrived home. This occurred about every six weeks. You too, can talk to your teens.

The beauty of this system was that it happened regularly. The boys knew that when their grades came home, we would soon be setting up a time to meet with each of them one-on-one.

(And, just so you know, our expectations were that they get all As and Bs. The occasional C was only ok if they were trying their hardest in a subject that was hard for them.)  They knew that whether or not we were pleased with their grades, a meeting would occur.

It was amazing how many times we had to tell them to do better in school-still do to this day! It was a good and regular interval of time to have these conversations. Our teens could talk about all sorts of things that were going on in their lives at that particular time in their lives.

Keep in mind that my husband and I are not parenting experts. Far from it. However, we have gotten one kid out of his teens and out of college. Another has finished his associate’s degree, and our baby is a sophomore in high school.

This has been a fun, but challenging journey. I hope that some of what has worked for us will work for you!

If you are looking for other tips for parenting teens, check out this round-up post of more than 50 posts with all sorts of parenting subjects!

How to get ready for college or whatever else is to come

I broke College Bound into 14 conversations. They range in topics from setting up a college budget, obtaining letters of recommendation, contacting colleges with questions to finding scholarships, and more.

Each chapter covers a conversation, why each is important, different things to think about, and how to talk about each topic.

There are many other conversations with your teens that need to occur, but for the sake of the book, these topics were the ones I felt were the most important when thinking about college and life prep.

Award for Top 10 Finalist for Advice Book|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Will these topics matter if my child decides not to attend college?

Yes. All of these topics matter because if your child decides to go into the military, get a job, or go to trade school a resume will always be a good thing to leave high school with. Grades and test scores will matter. Maybe not to the degree as getting into college, but the real world is competitive.

The better your teen looks coming out of high school compared to the next guy who is applying for the same program, the better their chances for getting that job or higher rank or whatever!

Have you grabbed my high school parent toolkit yet? It is a blueprint for staying organized through all four high school years! Get it here!

Isn’t a lot of this common sense?

A lot of it IS common sense. When we first started out in these teen years with our oldest, the amount of things that we did not know was overwhelming.

This book was born out of frustration with not knowing what to ask or even who to ask about parenting teens or how to get ready for college. Counselors at high schools are awesome, but totally overworked. They are also usually trying to help those kids with no support systems in place.

It seemed like other parents had the same questions as we had. So, between my husband and I, we started researching and asking questions to anyone who looked like they might have an answer. I read books, Googled a lot of things, and we both asked parents with older teens what had worked for them.

Have lots of conversations with your teens!

We talked with our kids a lot. Note the use of “with” and not “to”. Of course, there were times that we did talk to our kids, but we really wanted to engage them in conversation.

There were times that it seemed like our conversations were going nowhere fast, but then one of the boys would make a decision that made sense. Or one of them would tell us something that gave us a glimpse into the fact that maybe we were making some sort of headway into this parenting thing.

Parenting teens is NOT for the faint of heart. It takes consistency, patience, and stamina to say the least. Remember that many, if not all, of these conversations will need to take place gradually. Start where you are.

Having conversations with teens is not for the faint of heart!

If none of these topics have been discussed before, then choose one. Talk with your spouse or significant other first to make sure you are in agreement or at least know where you each stand.

Teens are super smart and will be able to tell if you guys are not of the same mind. They will use this to their advantage every time, so be prepared!

Do not try to talk about all of this at once! Have discussions a little at a time, and spread them out. It would be really easy to overwhelm both you and your teen.

The key is to just START to get ready for college!

Just because your teen might not be talking to you at this moment, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start these conversations. Try to find some common ground. Call a truce. Talk about starting this in the context of making plans.

Most teens are wanting to talk about the future, they are feeling lots of mixed emotions. They are scared, excited, overwhelmed, and usually have many questions if given the right situation.

These conversations with your teens are for them to start the process of preparing to leave your home. These are all topics that need to be covered in most situations.

Set some goals together. Make the time. Remember not to lecture, but have discussions. Let your teen talk and ask questions. Try not to interrupt.

[Reset Your Relationship is a course I developed for parents of tweens and teens. It will provide you with tools you need to reconnect with your teen. Simple and easy-to-implement strategies that will get you back on the right track with your teen. It is natural for your teen to want some privacy and to start pulling away. You can put limits on that and still stay in a close relationship! Check it out here!]

My teen thinks that they know it all…

I feel your pain. Have them do some research about the thing or things of which they are trying to convince you. This has worked for us, a lot. We had one son, who really thought he knew a lot about a lot.

He is super smart, but through his research online and asking around, he realized that maybe we knew a few things as well. This was something that we let him discover over time on his own.

We also have learned so much about parenting teens. Our teens were smarter and more responsible than we had given them credit for. Patience was something that we had to use in all of these conversations.

We learned how and when to shelf a discussion for later without everyone getting mad–not always, but most of the time. There is also the fact that our teens have so much going on in their lives, that they really appreciated these times to debrief and make plans.

Have some conversations with your teens!

Set up a time to have a conversation with your teen. Let them know when and why you are wanting to do this. Tell them that there will be time for them to talk about things that they want to talk about as well.

Start out short and sweet. See what works, and what doesn’t. Each child and each conversation will be different. Take notes. Try again soon. Grab my book, College Bound now!

You will hopefully find that your relationship with your teen will improve. It won’t always be great, but in general, your kids will talk more in every day situations than they used to. They will have more questions.

Teens want to plan for their own future, and you will find out that it is really fun to do this! Grab my three freebies for this system here. They are:

1. Template for keeping notes from each conversation.

2. Conversation starters.

3. Tips for success when starting this plan.

Download these freebies to help talk with your teen about college

There may be more going on with your teen than you think. Talking with them will hopefully help to bridge that gap, if there is one, between you and your teen.

If there is more going on than you can handle, here is the link to a good post about your teen and drugs. If you think that your teen may be depressed, check out this link for more information.

Share any ideas that you have that might help the rest of us! About parenting or how to get ready for college or anything! I can’t wait to hear what works for you. Remember to get College Bound here.

Related posts: 

Do you have an 18 year old? Here’s what you need to know!

29 Ways To Prepare for College

Our 2 1/2 Rules for Raising Teens,

5 Ways to Improve Communication With Your Teen,

7 Things to Know If You Love a Teenager  and

6 Books You Should Read If You Are Parenting Teens!

Looking for a Gift Guide for Different Occasions With Your Teen?

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure to visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube where I share lots of helpful info for parents of tweens and teens! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️

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Best Social Justice Books For Teens: 30+ Great Choices

Best Social Justice Books For Teens: 30+ Great Choices

There are some amazing books that teach about social justice -books that teach about social justice and are great for Martin Luther King Day and black history month. Social justice books for teens are a great way to start conversations.

As a mom, as a teacher, as a person, I need to be willing to put myself in someone else’s shoes. To empathize with my fellow man. As I live out my life, I hope that the lessons my own children, as well as my students, have learned from me will help them to be better people. To be empathetic, sympathetic, to be GOOD people, now and always.






These are all concepts that need to be taught. Defined. Lived. As mothers, teachers, parents, we can only do so much, but with everyone’s help, our world can be a better place.

With headline after headline of police brutality, rioting, social injustice-sadly, the list goes on and on. We need to do better. We need to BE better. No excuses. We have run out of time. That’s where the idea for this post about social justice books for teens came from…

Best social justice books for teens -movies too!

Teens and social justice….

One of the units that I teach as a middle school English teacher is Deep Study of Character -with Lucy Calkins curriculum. It is literature based on all the above characteristics woven through their themes. I love to use books to teach all sorts of lessons.

I was new back to the classroom last year after a long hiatus bringing up my boys, so many of the books on the following list are still new to me. However, I have researched all of these, and I am part of a wonderful group of teachers on Facebook that shares and elaborates, so I pulled a lot of information from that group. Read on for great social justice books for young adults (and everyone)!

Check the bottom of this post for other options besides books!

Here is a link to one of my most popular posts: Best Books to Read When Parenting a Teen

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Social justice books for teens, and, really anyone!

These books were chosen to represent the best of what I have taught and what I have learned as a teacher listening to other teachers…

There are sections for picture books, short stories, young adult and adult, and finally, authors who have written so many books to choose from. I wanted to get this out and published because this is such an important subject and will be adding to this list frequently! Let me know if you would add another book to this post, so that I can read it and add it to the best social justice books for teens.

*This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”―Martin Luther King Jr.

Social justice books for teens -picture books

Not My Idea -Higginbotham This is an honest book that looks at race, racism and being white in today’s world. This addresses the topic of civic responsibility in a great way for kids to relate to. I have ordered for my classroom!

For white folks who aren’t sure how to talk to their kids about race, this book is the perfect beginning. —O MAGAZINE

It’s Our World, Too: Young People Who Are Making a Difference: How They Do It -How You Can Too! -Hoose  This is two books in one. First part is stories about kids today who are making a difference in various ways. The second part is how-to advice to get started for young people who WANT to make a difference in positive ways.

Juneteenth for Mazie – Cooper Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the southern United States that had formed the Confederacy. This is a sweet story about a little girl who is ready to celebrate freedom. She celebrates the day her ancestors were freed from slavery.

Separate is Never Equal – Tonatiuh  The unknown story of school integration in California 10 years before Brown v. The Board of Education. This began school integration in California for Mexican-Spanish American children.

You, Me, and Empathy -Sanders   “Showing empathy towards others is a learnt trait, and one to nurture and cherish with the children in our care,” -this quote taken from the book description. Such a wonderful book about the main character, Quinn learning that empathy means “being able to understand how another person is feeling and recognizing their needs helps people to connect to one another across race, culture and the diversity that is ever-present and so important to our world.”  Everyone needs to read this one!

Unspeakable -Weatherford This is a wonderful book about a terrible event that took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma one hundred years ago.

“I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is that they must change if they are to get better.”― Georg Lichtenberg

Social justice books for teens -short stories

Thank You, M’am – Langston Hughes This short story is all about morality. What is good? How do we know? A boy tries to steal a woman’s purse to buy a new pair of shoes. Find out what happens… I found this on the CommonLit website.

Flying Lessons and Other Stories -Ellen Oh   This selection of stories is such a great collection. I have not read them all, but between my classes last year, I have heard about all of them from my students. All sorts of stories about all sorts of people. My students chose the story with this book that resonated with to do a project on for class. These ten stories are all great in their own way.

The Hero Next Door -Rhuday-Perkovich  This is another gathering of stories about being brave in today’s world. Young people can make a difference, all it takes a little courage. Again, I have not read all of this collection, but the couple that I have read were great!

Fresh Ink – Giles  These short stories are unfinished. Their endings are still playing out in today’s headlines. These are all amazing stories of individuality and bravery. Diverse and raw and uplifting. Please read!

Our Stories, Our Voices -Reed  These are essays by popular YA authors who all have something to say about all sorts of things that happen as kids grow up.

The Treasure of Lemon Brown -Myers  I found this on CommonLit.org  We studied this story in my eighth grade class this year. So many lessons contained in this short story! We all loved it.

51 Black Heroes -Norwood “Black Heroes introduces you to 51 black leaders and role models from both history and modern times” from all walks of life. This book is for younger audiences, but also good for lower readers.

“In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice…, the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man.”― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Try Audible on Amazon and get 2 free books!

Social justice books for teens -YA (young adult)

Wishtree -Applegate  An old oak tree that has been used as a “wishtree” for the surrounding community. A new family that is not necessarily welcomed by all. A crow and other creatures watch from the trees branches as this story unfolds. This is a wonderful story told by a tree, but so much more! If you are not a fan of fantasy, give this a try anyway-because, a tree is wise.

Dear Martin -Stone  This follows the story of a Justyce, who always Is doing the right thing: honor student, helps those in need, all-around good guy. Then, he is arrested and cuffed by an off-duty police officer after an event which Justyce just happens to be there. I have not read this, but it’s on my list! There is a sequel, Dear Justyce, which follows up as Justyce is at Yale as a college student.

Refugee -Gratz  This was another class favorite. Three refugees on three different paths are all connected  by the end of the story. All of them leave homes that they love for reasons beyond their control. They encounter so many difficulties both on their journeys and at their different destinations. I learned a lot about the plight of refugees and many of their circumstances!

All-American Boys -Co-written by Reynolds and Kiely  This story could unfortunately be ripped out of today’s headlines. Gripping and realistic. Could not put down!

Long Way Down -Reynolds  This book has haunted me. My students all were intrigued by this story and a lot of great discussion came from this. The length of time it takes to get down Will’s building’s elevator. His brother has been shot and killed. While Will rides the elevator down one day, he is visited by people from his brother’s past as it stops at each floor. This is now available in a graphic novel version -soooo good!

Will got on the elevator with a singular purpose. Will he get out at the bottom and carry through his plan?

“Genuine equality means not treating everyone the same, but attending equally to everyone’s different needs.”― Terry Eagleton

The Poet X – Acevedo  The main character her, Xiomara, is a young woman with a lot to say. She writes in her journal, and has many thoughts that she feels cannot be shared anywhere else. She is invited to a slam poetry contest, but she knows that her family would not approve.

The 57 Bus -Slater  This is based on a true story. Two kids from completely different parts of the world, within one city. They have eight minutes together each day. Then a tragic event occurs. One is injured. One is charged with a crime…

Monster -Myers  This is a complicated story about the trial of a young man for a crime. Is he guilty or innocent? A pawn of the system and the characters surrounding the crime. Is he a “monster” as he has been titled? Steve, the young man in this story, starts to transcribe his story as a film script. What is the verdict? This would be a good one to read with your teen…

Mexican White Boy – de la Peña  Half Mexican, half white, Danny is struggling with a lot of things as a teenager in San Diego. He mostly wants to figure out where he belongs…

The Hate You Give -Thomas  I have to admit that I have not read the book, but I loved the movie!

Harbor Me -Woodson  I loved this book! Six kids meet in a room that they have a special name for. They can talk about their lives. It’s a wonderful story about a caring teacher, a group of kids dealing with so much, and the friendships that evolve from their meetings. My students loved this book.

Out of My Mind – Draper  This book really got to me. Locked into a body that won’t work, Melody is assumed to be stupid. Far from it. She finally proves that she is really smart only to be rejected again. Heartbreaking, heartwarming… My students learned that students with disabilities are always what they seem! Along the same lines as Wonder, another wonderful book and movie -talk about overcoming adversity!

Ghost Boys -Rhodes  Two boys meet who have been tragically been killed as a result of racism in different places and times. They help one another to figure out some things about what happened to each of them. This is on my list to order for my classroom!

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry -Taylor  This is a classic! A wonderful story set in the depression about hate and racism and social injustice. It stands the test of time.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You -Jason Reynolds and Ibram Kendi  The authors reworked Kendi’s book Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, and wrote it in a way so that you can identify racist thoughts and ideas and “stamp” them out when they begin. I have not read this, but it was recommended by a good friend who is a counselor as a great choice to add to this list.

“When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else’s oppression, we’ll find our opportunities to make real change.”― Ijeoma Oluo

Social justice books for adults

Just Mercy  -Stevenson  This is a true story about a young lawyer defending a young man accused of a crime he swears that he did not commit. Compared to To Kill a Mockingbird, another great book about good v. evil.

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness -Brown  Written by Austin Brown, who finds out at the age of 7, that her parents named her Austin so that future schools and employers would think that she was a white man. As she grows up, Austin learns that people don’t mean what they say, and she grapples with what it means to be a woman of color in today’s world. Really good insight for me.

The Nation Must Awake -There are many books written about the Tulsa Massacre of 1921. I really like this one in particular because it is a memoir written in story form by a woman who lived through this event with her daughter.

Raising Fences -Datcher  I read this a few years ago for a book club. It’s a memoir written by a black man who wants to be a good father without having had one himself. This was painful to read, but I never felt so white while reading this.

Americanah -Aditchie  This is a novel that really opened my eyes. It is a love story, but is also a story about how unaware we are of race in this country as white people. This was so good!

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration -Wilkerson  This is a story that covers the migration of six million people from the south to the north in the US from 1915 to 1970. Thousands of interviews and really great stories of a people who tried to escape oppression and find a better life for themselves and their families.

Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America -Kendi  “In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.” This is at the top of my list to read. Grab the companion book co-authored by Kendi and Jason Reynolds, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You.

“The world howls for social justice, but when it comes to social responsibility, you sometimes can’t even hear crickets chirping.”― Dean Koontz 

Authors to check out who write about social justice

Kwame Alexander

Matt de la Peña

Gary Soto

Jason Reynolds

Jacqueline Woodson

Walter Dean Myer

Alan Gratz

From my friend, Louisa, over at LPTutoring, she has this great list of podcasts that I copied here. Her post is awesome and has books as well as other resources!

I hope this helps you start a conversation about social justice…

This list of social justice books for teens is by no means complete! Please let me know if you have a good suggestion that will help to teach our young people lifelong lessons.

I hope that these best social justice books for teens will help you start or continue a conversation that has to happen in order for our world to be a better place for everyone.

Other book posts:

9 Books to Read With or Without Your Teen,

Great Book Gifts for Teens (And Adults!),

7 Best Books for Parenting Teens

27 Best Books To Read As A Young Adult For Success

And, here is a link to my ongoing list of favorite books on Amazon!

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles!

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure to visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube where I share lots of helpful info for parents of tweens and teens! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️ 

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social justice books for teens

The Best Books to Give At Graduation: 29 Great Choices

The Best Books to Give At Graduation: 29 Great Choices

As a lover of books, the idea of giving a book at graduation is my favorite. There are so many great books to give at graduation…

I love to wrap up useful gifts or money (or both) and include one of the following books. They are all great for different reasons. Another idea would be to gift one book from each category for a nice beginning to a young person’s library. There are best books for growth mindset, finances, relationships, and several more categories. 

Finding inspiring books for graduates can be fun. Pick the category that you feel like you wish you had known more about when your were starting out.

I divided the books up into these loose categories. Some of them fit into more than one spot, but I tried to pick the one that I felt like was the best fit. Good luck finding great books to give at graduation. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Books to Give At Graduation

Categories of great books to give at graduation

Finance books to give at graduation

Finance (n): a term for the management, creation, and study of money and investments. …

Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money

If you’re looking for practical information to answer all your “How?” “What?” and “Why?” questions about money, this book is for you. Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money covers the A to Z of Dave’s money teachings, including how to budget, save, dump debt and invest. You’ll also learn all about insurance, mortgage options, marketing, bargain hunting and the most important element of all―giving.

Because this is the handbook for Financial Peace University, you won’t find much new information here if you’ve already taken the nine-week class. It also covers the Baby Steps Dave wrote about in The Total Money Makeover, and trust us―the Baby Steps haven’t changed a bit. So, if you’ve already memorized everything Dave’s ever said about money, you probably don’t need this book. But if you’re new to this stuff or just want the all-in-one resource for your bookshelf, this is it!

How To Adult: Personal Finance for the Real World -Cousineau

Drawing on years of teaching personal finance in the high school classroom, as well as valuable life experience as a young professional, Cousineau introduces topics ranging from compound interest and mutual funds to Roth IRAs and insurance deductibles. Each chapter contains straightforward explanations, practical examples, revealing anecdotes, and hands-on tools that will help you to jump-start your personal financial journey.

In this book, you’ll learn:

  • The foundational concepts of personal finance and building wealth
  • How to avoid costly financial missteps
  • How to budget, save, and invest your money wisely
  • How taxes and insurance work
  • How to prepare for life’s big expenses

The Latte Factor: Why You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Live Rich -Bach

In this compelling, heartwarming parable, Bach and his bestselling coauthor John David Mann (The Go-Giver) tell the story of Zoey, a twenty-something woman living and working in New York City. Like many young professionals, Zoey is struggling to make ends meet under a growing burden of credit card and student loan debt, working crazy hours at her dream job but still not earning enough to provide a comfortable financial cushion. At her boss’s suggestion, she makes friends with Henry, the elderly barista at her favorite Brooklyn coffee shop.

Henry soon reveals his “Three Secrets to Financial Freedom,” ideas Zoey dismisses at first but whose true power she ultimately comes to appreciate. Over the course of a single week, Zoey discovers that she already earns enough to secure her financial future and realize her truest dreams—all she has to do is make a few easy shifts in her everyday routine.

Napkin Finance -Hay

Surveys have found that two thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic financial literacy test, and nine in ten believe personal finance should become a required high school course. Tina Hay understands the confusion. While attending Harvard Business School, she struggled to keep up with classmates–many of whom came from the banking world–when it came to understanding jargon and numbers-heavy concepts.

Tina developed a visual learning strategy using sketches and infographics that helped her succeed in her studies and master even the most complex financial topics.

The first illustrated guide that makes finance fun and accessible, Napkin Finance can help even the most numbers-phobic reader learn about complex financial topics without dying of boredom.



The Graduate Survival Guide: 5 Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make In College -Oneal and Cruze

This is the guide you wished you had when you went to college! Bestselling author Anthony ONeal is on a mission to help EVERY high school graduate succeed in life with The Graduate Survival Guide. There are five mistakes you can’t afford to make in college. Authentic, real-life stories from Anthony, along with compelling data, will help ANY high school graduate recognize how these mistakes can negatively impact their financial future. As Anthony tells students, “The caliber of your future will be determined by the choices you make today.” This is a must-have book for every high school senior! 

The Graduate Survival Guide will help students: 

  • Identify and avoid the five biggest money mistakes.
  • Learn how to make smart financial decisions during college.
  • Put into practice healthy habits to keep them out of debt.
  • Take responsibility for saving and spending with a plan.
  • Discover how to avoid student loans and pay cash for college.

The Graduate Survival Guide will give you the confidence and wisdom needed to come out of college KNOWING you crushed it.


Adulting books to give at graduation

Adulting (v): to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as, a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown … (I think of it as the interim from young adults into the rest of their lives.)

Adulting : How to Become a Grownup In 535ish Steps -Brown

If you graduated from college but still feel like a student . . . if you wear a business suit to job interviews but pajamas to the grocery store . . . if you have your own apartment but no idea how to cook or clean . . . it’s OK. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Just because you don’t feel like an adult doesn’t mean you can’t act like one. And it all begins with this funny, wise, and useful book. Based on Kelly Williams Brown’s popular blog, Adulting makes the scary, confusing “real world” approachable, manageable—and even conquerable. 

Almost Adulting: All You Need To Know To Get It -Rose

In Almost Adulting—perfect for budding adults, failing adults, and eaters of microwave mug brownies—Arden tells you how to survive your future adulthood. Topics include:

  • Making internet friends who are cool and not murderers
  • Flirting with someone in a way to make them think you are cool and not a murderer
  • Being in an actual relationship where you talk about your feelings in a healthy manner??? To the other person???????
  • Eating enough protein
  • Assembling a somewhat acceptable adult wardrobe when you have zero dollars
  • Going on adventures without starting to smell
  • How sex is supposed to feel, but, like, actually though

By the end of the book—a mash-up of essays, lists, and artwork—you’ll have learned not only how to dress yourself, how to travel alone, how to talk to strangers online, and how to date strangers (in PERSON!), but also how to pass as a real, functioning, appropriately socialized adult.

Your Turn: How To Be An Adult –Lythcott-Haims

A former Stanford dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising and author of the perennial bestseller How to Raise an Adult and of the lauded memoir Real American, Julie Lythcott-Haims has encountered hundreds of twentysomethings (and thirtysomethings, too), who feel they’re just playing the part of “adult,” while struggling with anxiety, stress, and general unease.

In Your Turn, Julie offers compassion, personal experience, and practical strategies for living a more authentic adulthood, as well as inspiration through interviews with dozens of voices from the rich diversity of the human population who have successfully launched their adult lives.

Being an adult, it turns out, is not about any particular checklist; it is, instead, a process, one you can get progressively better at over time―becoming more comfortable with uncertainty and gaining the knowhow to keep going.


All I Need to know I learned in Kindergarten -Fulghum

I loved this book! For years I had the poster that goes with this book in my classroom, and I never taught kindergarten. I then hung it in the basement where my kids played…

More than thirty years ago, Robert Fulghum published a simple credo—a credo that became the phenomenal #1 New York Times bestseller All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Today, after being embraced around the world and selling more than seven million copies, Fulghum’s book retains the potency of a common though no less relevant piece of wisdom: that the most basic aspects of life bear its most important opportunities.

Here Fulghum engages us with musings on life, death, love, pain, joy, sorrow, and the best chicken-fried steak in the continental United States. The little seed in the Styrofoam cup offers a reminder about our own mortality and the delicate nature of life . . . a spider who catches (and loses) a full-grown woman in its web one fine morning teaches us about surviving catastrophe . . . the love story of Jean-Francois Pilatre and his hot-air balloon reminds us to be brave and unafraid to “fly” . . . life lessons hidden in the laundry pile . . . magical qualities found in a box of crayons . . . hide-and-seek vs. sardines—and how these games relate to the nature of God. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten is brimming with the very stuff of life and the significance found in the smallest details.

Humor books to give at graduation

humor (n): a funny or amusing quality · jokes, funny stories, etc., of a particular kind · the ability to be funny or to be amused by things that are funny.

Graduation Mad Libs -Price

With 21 “fill-in-the-blank” stories about final exams, the last day of school, and of course, graduation parties, this book is jam-packed with hours of fun. Play alone, in a group, or with your favorite teacher or professor. Mad Libs are a fun family activity recommended for ages 8 to NUMBER.

Assume the Worst: The Graduation Speech You’ll Never Hear -Hiaasen

My parents gave this one to my oldest son. It is great, and I have bought it for so many graduates since!

“This commencement address will never be given, because graduation speakers are supposed to offer encouragement and inspiration. That’s not what you need. You need a warning.”

So begins Carl Hiaasen’s attempt to prepare young men and women for their future. And who better to warn them about their precarious paths forward than Carl Hiaasen? 

Following the format of Anna Quindlen’s commencement address (Being Perfect) and George Saunders’s commencement address (Congratulations, by the way), the collaboration of Hiaasen and Chast might look typical from the outside, but inside it is anything but.

This book is bound to be a classic, sold year after year come graduation time. Although it’s also a good gift for anyone starting a job, getting married, or recently released from prison. Because it is not just funny. It is, in its own Hiaasen way, extremely wise and even hopeful. Well, it might not be full of hope, but there are certainly enough slivers of the stuff in there to more than keep us all going.

Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Golden Book -Muldrow

This humorous guide offers advice for getting the most out of life, the Little Golden Book way! Drawn from beloved classics like The Poky Little Puppy, We Help Mommy, and many more classics,  important lessons such as “Remember to stop and smell the strawberries,” “Don’t forget to enjoy your wedding,” and “Be a hugger” are paired with iconic images by Richard Scarry, Eloise Wilkin, Mary Blair, Garth Williams, and more. 

ABCs Of Adulthood: An Alphabet of Life Lessons -Copaken

Here’s a book of wit and wisdom that’s perfect for graduation or any other “welcome to the adult world” moment. From New York Times bestselling author Deborah Copaken and noted sculptor Randy Polumbo come 26 genuine and funny bits of advice as surprising as they are sensible.

From “A is for Anger” through “Z is for Zzzzzzz,” each entry is paired with the authors’ street-smart photography of the matching alphabet letter to create a savvy gift. Based on a viral article written by Copaken when her own firstborn left for college, The ABCs of Adulthood is a delightful, worldly riff on learning your ABCs all over again.


Good habit books to give at graduation

Good habits are those repetitive actions or behaviors you want to repeat. They have positive physical, emotional, or psychological consequences.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People -Covey

One of my boys had to read this book for a class. We had such great discussions as a family with this one!

The 7 Habits have become famous and are integrated into everyday thinking by millions and millions of people. Why? Because they work!

With Sean Covey’s added takeaways on how the habits can be used in our modern age, the wisdom of the 7 Habits will be refreshed for a new generation of leaders.

This beloved classic presents a principle-centered approach for solving both personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and practical anecdotes, Stephen R. Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity—principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.


Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Live… And Maybe The World -McRaven

On May 17, 2014, Admiral William H. McRaven addressed the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin on their Commencement day. Taking inspiration from the university’s slogan, “What starts here changes the world,” he shared the ten principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges not only in his training and long Naval career, but also throughout his life; and he explained how anyone can use these basic lessons to change themselves-and the world-for the better.

Admiral McRaven’s original speech went viral with over 10 million views. Building on the core tenets laid out in his speech, McRaven now recounts tales from his own life and from those of people he encountered during his military service who dealt with hardship and made tough decisions with determination, compassion, honor, and courage. Told with great humility and optimism, this timeless book provides simple wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement that will inspire readers to achieve more, even in life’s darkest moments.

Rising Strong -Brown

Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability – the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome – is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall.

It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people – from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents – shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, what do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion, and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.

Life skills books to give at graduation

Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable humans to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of life.

How To Cook Everything The Basics -Bittman

Mark Bittman’s highly acclaimed, bestselling book How to Cook Everything is an indispensable guide for any modern cook. With How to Cook Everything The Basics he reveals how truly easy it is to learn fundamental techniques and recipes. From dicing vegetables and roasting meat, to cooking building-block meals that include salads, soups, poultry, meats, fish, sides, and desserts, Bittman explains what every home cook, particularly novices, should know.

1,000 beautiful and instructive photographs throughout the book reveal key preparation details that make every dish inviting and accessible. With clear and straightforward directions, Bittman’s practical tips and variation ideas, and visual cues that accompany each of the 185 recipes, cooking with How to Cook Everything The Basics is like having Bittman in the kitchen with you.

What you’re Really Meant To Do -Kaplan

Building a fulfilling life and career can be a daunting challenge. It takes courage and hard work. Too often, we charge down a path leading to “success” as defined by those around us―and ultimately, are left feeling dissatisfied.

Each of us is unique and brings distinctive skills and qualities to any situation. So why is it that most of us fail to spend sufficient time learning to understand ourselves and creating our own definition of success? The truth is, it can seem so natural and so much easier to just do what everyone else is doing―for now―leaving it for later to develop our best selves and figure out our own unique path. Is there a road map that will enable you to defy conventional wisdom, resist peer pressure, and carve out a path that fits your unique skills and passions?



Relationship books to give at graduation

relationship (n); the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other

The Last Lecture -Pausch

A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture.” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave–“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”–wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

Tuesdays With Morrie -Albom

I read this book years ago. It is wonderful. The relationship between Mitch and Morrie, the lessons, just the fact that they were able to rekindle such a wonderful connection…

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague.  Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.

For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder.  Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?

Mitch Albom had that second chance.  He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life.  Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college.  Their rekindled relationship turned into one final “class”: lessons in how to live.

The 5 Love Languages -Chapman

In the #1 New York Times international bestseller The 5 Love Languages, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner—starting today.

The 5 Love Languages is as practical as it is insightful. Updated to reflect the complexities of relationships today, this new edition reveals intrinsic truths and applies relevant, actionable wisdom in ways that work.

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? -Warren

This is a book I read years ago. It defines life from a Christian perspective, but answers so many questions that anyone might have. This will affect a person’s relationships with everyone and everything.

Before you were born, God knew what your life had in store for you. His hope for you is to discover the life he created just for you–both here on earth, and forever in eternity. Let Rick Warren guide you as you learn to live out your true purpose.

The Purpose Driven Life is more than a book; it’s a road map for your spiritual journey. Combining thoughtful verses from Scripture with timely stories and perspectives from Warren’s own life, The Purpose Driven Life will help you discover the answer to one of life’s most important questions: What on earth am I here for?

Throughout The Purpose Driven Life, Warren will teach you to spend time getting to know yourself and your creator in order to live your life to the fullest. Unlocking your true purpose will also reduce your stress, simplify your decisions, increase your satisfaction, and, most importantly, prepare you for eternity.

The Tao of Pooh and Te of Piglet -Hoff

An utterly unique and accessible introduction to the ancient principles of Taoism with the world’s favourite bear, Winnie-the-Pooh and his friend Piglet.

Winnie-the-Pooh has a certain way about him, a way of doing things that has made him the world’s most beloved bear, and Pooh’s Way, as Benjamin Hoff brilliantly demonstrates, seems strangely close to the ancient Chinese principles of Taoism. And as for Piglet, he embodies the very important principle of Te, meaning Virtue of the Small.

Carpe Diem books to give at graduation

Carpe diem, often translated as ‘seize the day,’ a phrase used by the Roman poet Horace to express the idea that one should enjoy life while one can.

Year of Yes -Rhimes

She’s the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today. Her iconic characters live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could avoid public appearances? That she suffered panic attacks before media interviews?

With three children at home and three hit television shows, it was easy for Shonda to say she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. And then, over Thanksgiving dinner, her sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything. Shonda knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.

Wild -Strayed

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone.

Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

1000 Places To See Before You Die -Schultz

The world’s wonders, continent by continent: A trek through Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. Sri Lanka’s Hill Country. A sunrise balloon safari over the Masai Mara. Canyon de Chelly. The sacred festivals of Bhutan. The Amalfi Coast. Sailing the Mekong River.
In all, 1,000 places guaranteed to give travelers the shivers: sacred ruins, coral reefs, hilltop villages, deserted beaches, wine trails, hidden islands, opera houses, wildlife preserves, castles, museums, and more. Each entry tells why it’s essential to visit and includes hotels, restaurants, and festivals to check out. Then come the completely updated nuts and bolts: websites, phone numbers, prices, best times to visit.

Enjoy Every Sandwich -Lipsenthal

As medical director of the famed Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Lee Lipsenthal helped thousands of patients struggling with disease to overcome their fears of pain and death and to embrace a more joyful way of living. In his own life, happily married and the proud father of two remarkable children, Lee was similarly committed to living his life fully and gratefully each day.

The power of those beliefs was tested in July 2009, when Lee was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. As Lee and his wife, Kathy, navigated his diagnosis, illness, and treatment, he discovered that he did not fear death, and that even as he was facing his own mortality, he felt more fully alive than ever before. In the bestselling tradition of Tuesdays with Morrie, told with humor and heart, and deeply inspiring, Enjoy Every Sandwich distills everything Lee learned about how we find meaning, purpose, and peace in our lives.

A Whack On the Side Of Your Head: How You Can Be More Creative -von Oech

Over the years, A WHACK ON THE SIDE OF THE HEAD has been praised by business people, educators, scientists, homemakers, artists, youth leaders, and many more. The book has been stimulating creativity in millions of readers, translated into eleven languages, and used in seminars around the world.

Now Roger von Oech’s fully illustrated and updated volume is filled with even more provocative puzzles, anecdotes, exercises, metaphors, cartoons, questions, quotations, stories, and tips designed to systematically break through your mental blocks and unlock your mind for creative thinking. This new edition will attract an entire new generation of readers with updated and mind-stretching material.

Gmorning, Gnight: little pep talks for me and you -Miranda

Before he inspired the world with Hamilton and was catapulted to international fame, Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspiring his Twitter followers with words of encouragement at the beginning and end of each day. He wrote these original sayings, aphorisms, and poetry for himself as much as for others.

But as Miranda’s audience grew, these messages took on a life on their own. Now Miranda has gathered the best of his daily greetings into a beautiful collection illustrated by acclaimed artist (and fellow Twitter favorite) Jonny Sun.

Full of comfort and motivation, Gmorning, Gnight! is a touchstone for anyone who needs a quick lift.

I Wish You More -Rosenthal

I love this book! I have read this to each of my classes the last three years, ever since I came across it, at the end of each school year. The sentiment is so sweet, and perfect for any age.

Some books are about a single wish. Some books are about three wishes. The infallible team of Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld have combined their extraordinary talents to create this exuberant, inspirational book for kids of endless good wishes. Wishes for curiosity and wonder, for friendship and strength, laughter and peace.

Whether celebrating life’s joyous milestones, sharing words of encouragement, or observing the wonder of everyday moments, this sweet and uplifting book is perfect for wishers of every age. This book of wishes is sure to bring positivity to all who read it.

Final thoughts about great books to give a graduate

I hope my list of books to give at graduation helps with these next few weeks full of high school and college-ending events. It’s an exciting time for our kids, and the books on this list will give them a head start with their new life!

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Books to Give At Graduation


Parenting High Schoolers -15 Favorite Books from 2021

Parenting High Schoolers -15 Favorite Books from 2021

Best books that I read in 2021

I have not written a book post in awhile, and thought it would be fun to round up my favorite books from 2021 as a way to share with you. I am always reading something, and I try to vary my choices. The following list includes fiction and non-fiction books divided for your convenience.

Have fun reading! Be sure to check out my other book posts listed at the bottom.? *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Favorite Books from 2021

Favorite books from 2021 in fiction

“Wherever I am, if I’ve got that book with me, I’ve got a place I can go and be happy.” -JK Rowling

Magic Lessons -Hoffman

Fantasy is not usually a genre that I enjoy that much. But, this was such a great story! I was spellbound from the start -no pun intended…

Here is the description:

Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Nameless Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.

When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.

“The ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.” -Malcolm X

The Lilac Girls -Kelly

This was one of my favorite books from last spring. WW2 has always been a favorite time period for me to read about, and I love all the converging story lines.

Here is the description:

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

What’s Done in Darkness -McHugh

Fun fact is that Laura McHugh’s youngest daughter was in my preschool class as she wrote her first wonderful book! I finally had a chance to read this fourth suspenseful book -she writes this genre so well!

Here is the description:

Seventeen-year-old Sarabeth has become increasingly rebellious since her parents found God and moved their family to a remote Arkansas farmstead where she’s forced to wear long dresses, follow strict rules, and grow her hair down to her waist. She’s all but given up on escaping the farm when a masked man appears one stifling summer morning and snatches her out of the cornfield. 

A week after her abduction, she’s found alongside a highway in a bloodstained dress—alive—but her family treats her like she’s tainted, and there’s little hope of finding her captor, who kept Sarabeth blindfolded in the dark the entire time, never uttering a word. One good thing arises from the horrific ordeal: a chance to leave the Ozarks and start a new life. 

Five years later, Sarabeth is struggling to keep her past buried when investigator Nick Farrow calls. Convinced that her case is connected to the strikingly similar disappearance of another young girl, Farrow wants Sarabeth’s help, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it, even if that means dragging her back to the last place she wants to go—the hills and hollers of home, to face her estranged family and all her deepest fears. 

The Names They Gave Us -Lord

This was a great read. I started this book thinking it was something else, but ended up really enjoying it anyway. Coming of age, wrestling with personal faith, love, and friendship are all wrapped together in this wonderful story.

Here is the description:

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake and spending quality time with her parents. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters–in her faith and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp–one for troubled kids–Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle.

Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

The Seventh Most Important Thing -Pearsall

This was a book that I read out loud to each of my ELA classes last year. We all enjoyed it so much, and my classes started out so much better when I read this first thing! It’s sad and funny and heartwarming.

Here is the description:

Arthur T. Owens grabbed a brick and hurled it at the trash picker. Arthur had his reasons, and the brick hit the Junk Man in the arm, not the head. But none of that matters to the judge—he is ready to send Arthur to juvie forever. Amazingly, it’s the Junk Man himself who offers an alternative: 120 hours of community service . . . working for him.
Arthur is given a rickety shopping cart and a list of the Seven Most Important Things: glass bottles, foil, cardboard, pieces of wood, lightbulbs, coffee cans, and mirrors. He can’t believe it—is he really supposed to rummage through people’s trash? But it isn’t long before Arthur realizes there’s more to the Junk Man than meets the eye, and the “trash” he’s collecting is being transformed into something more precious than anyone could imagine. . . .

A Woman Is No Man -Rum

This book was a great departure for me. I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to know more. Deya wants to know more, and what she finds out is surprising…

Here is the description:

Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children—four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family—knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

Maisie Dobbs -Winspear

This series has become a favorite of mine over the last year. I have read the first three books, and cannot wait to read some more! I recommended these to my mom, and she has read all 17! 

Here is the description:

Maisie Dobbs got her start as a maid in an aristocratic London household when she was thirteen. Her employer, suffragette Lady Rowan Compton, soon became her patron, taking the remarkably bright youngster under her wing. Lady Rowan’s friend, Maurice Blanche, often retained as an investigator by the European elite, recognized Maisie’s intuitive gifts and helped her earn admission to the prestigious Girton College in Cambridge, where Maisie planned to complete her education.

The outbreak of war changed everything. Maisie trained as a nurse, then left for France to serve at the Front, where she found—and lost—an important part of herself. Ten years after the Armistice, in the spring of 1929, Maisie sets out on her own as a private investigator, one who has learned that coincidences are meaningful, and truth elusive. Her very first case involves suspected infidelity but reveals something very different.

The Stand -King

I went back this past year and reread this old Stephen King classic. The last time I read this was 24 years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest son, and boy did I have strange dreams! This time around, I still had dreams, but not as strange or intense. I remember liking this so much, and it is a great book to reread in today’s times. A great good v. evil story…

Here is the description:

A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader.

Two emerge—Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence.

As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them—and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.

The Rose Code -Quinn

I read this early on in 2021, and I remember being intrigued immediately. Again, I was on a WW2 kick! I loved all the interconnected story lines and the codes, and especially that it was women who were at the forefront of taking care of the Nazis.

Here is the description:

1940. As England prepares to fight the Nazis, three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes. Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything—beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses—but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, and puts her fluent German to use as a translator of decoded enemy secrets. Imperious self-made Mab, product of east-end London poverty, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and looks for a socially advantageous husband. Both Osla and Mab are quick to see the potential in local village spinster Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzles, and soon Beth spreads her wings as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts. But war, loss, and the impossible pressure of secrecy will tear the three apart.

1947. As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter–the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum. A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together. But each petal they remove from the rose code brings danger–and their true enemy–closer…

Favorite books from 2021 in non-fiction

“Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.” -Lena Dunham

Barking at the Moon -Beckerman (this is a memoir)

I was given the wonderful opportunity to read this book before it was released this past summer. I loved this story about this family and their dog, Riley. He is everyone’s dog: silly, smart, gross, loving, and this makes the book so relatable. It’s reduced by 75% on Kindle for January 2022 as a new release! If you like dogs at all -grab this book and read it with your kids/teens -it would be a fun read aloud because if you have any pets, it will spark conversations of funny and similar memories.

I love the way Riley is a “person” in their home. That is the way it is here with our dogs! “Barking at the Moon: A Story of Life, Love, and Kibble” is a #1 New Release on Amazon!  Get your copy today!

**I am just one of many bloggers reviewing Barking At The Moon, so check out the other awesome blogs with book reviews at the bottom of this post!

Here is the description:

When Riley comes into her family’s life, award-winning humor columnist Tracy Beckerman realizes she got a lot more than she bargained for. From tracking wet cement through the house to shredding the family’s underwear, Riley is a one-dog wrecking ball. Yet this lovable retriever also brings joy, laughter, and a renewed sense of wonder into the household.

At times hilarious and heartwarming, Barking at the Moon speaks to life’s growing pains, and to mothering children both human and furry. With Beckerman’s trademark wit and heart, she reminds us that no matter what stage of life we’re in, we can learn a lot from the dogs who teach us how to stop and enjoy the ride.

This Is Good: A Lesson in Overcoming Adversity -Matheny

I came across Tami Matheny as I was searching for something else. I love her message, and am anxious to read more of her stuff! Here are YouTube videos I did on her book: Part 1 and Part 2.

Here is the description:

Adversity is often seen as a bad thing. Something to avoid. But to accomplish anything worthwhile adversity is necessary. It is what separates the great from the mediocre, the champions from the contenders.

The difference is in how you look at adversity. Success comes from learning to see it, think about it, and respond to it in a positive or productive way. Creating a “this is good” mindset will allow you to do this.

This is a story within a story. It is how an African folk lore transformed a college soccer team to reach heights they didn’t know they could. You will follow their journey and the lessons along the way that enable them to cultivate a new way of thinking.

How to Do It Now Because It’s Not Going Away: An Expert Guide to Getting Stuff Done -Josel

This was a great book that I read for both myself, and my blog. I did a YouTube video on this, and was happy to share some of her ideas.

Procrastination is one of my faults, and I have three boys with ADD, so I am pretty sure that they get it from me… Here are great tips for both you and your teens.

Here is the description:

Procrastination is especially tough for young adults. Getting started is overwhelming, it’s hard to get motivated, not knowing how long things take messes up planning, and distractions are everywhere. We are all wired to put things off, but we can learn tools and techniques to kick this habit.

This book is a user-friendly guide to help teens get their tasks done. Simple, straightforward, and with a touch of humor, it’s packed with practical solutions and easily digestible tips to stay on top of homework, develop a sense of time, manage digital distractions, create easy-to-follow routines, and get unstuck.

In her breezy, witty style, internationally recognized academic and parenting coach Leslie Josel opens the door to a student’s view of procrastination, dives deep into what that really looks like, and offers up her Triple Ts―tips, tools and techniques―to teach students how to get stuff done…now.

The Energy Bus -Gordon

Last year this was a book assigned to me for professional development. For once, I loved this assignment!

Here is the description:

Forced to take the bus to work, George meets a unique kind of bus driver and an interesting set of characters (passengers) that over the course of 2 weeks share the 10 rules for the ride of his life…and attempt to help him turn around his work and team and save his job and marriage from an almost inevitable destruction.”

In the mode of other best-selling business fables, The Energy Bus takes listeners on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment – at work and at home. Everyone faces challenges. And every person, organization, company, and team will have to overcome negativity and adversity to define themselves and create their success.

No one goes through life untested, and the answer to these tests is positive energy – the kind of positive energy consisting of vision, trust, optimism, enthusiasm, purpose, and spirit that defines great leaders and their teams. Drawing upon his experience and work with thousands of leaders, sales professionals, teams, nonprofit organizations, schools, and athletes, Gordon infuses this engaging story with keen insights, actionable strategies, and a big dose of positive, infectious energy. 

“The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading.” -David Bailey

Responsible and Resilient Teens -Lamb

Lamb writes a great book for parents. I know Miranda from the blogging world, and she is such a great writer. She incorporates her knowledge as a mom, a counselor, and a writer to create this short, concise guide to setting boundaries for teens.

Here is the description:

Set Boundaries for Teens. Build Character. Strengthen Your Family.Wish you could spend more time enjoying your teen and less time nagging? Feeling overwhelmed by your teenager’s disrespect and lack of responsibility?

In Responsible and Resilient Teens: 10 Secret Parenting Solutions That Work, discover how to set healthy boundaries and creative consequences in your home. Learn simple parenting solutions that hold your teen accountable in the present and also positively shape your teen’s decision making skills going forward. 

I am Not Your ATM -Murphy

Rachel has also become an online friend as well, and I appreciate her taking this tough topic and breaking it down for parents so that they can help their teens out into the real world. She has a great podcast, here is the episode where she and I had a chat about communicating with your teen –Raising Confident Teens

Here is the description:

In I Am Not Your ATM: A Practical Plan for Teaching Your Teen to Manage Money, Rachel Murphy shares the knowledge and tools to help you teach your teen. You will gain the know-how and confidence to teach your teen how to handle money even if no one taught you.

The teen years can be a great opportunity to teach your young person money skills. Instead of money being a point of contention and stress like it is for many parents and teens, you can become a team working together to help your teen build a strong foundation for the future.

Related posts

Best Books for Mom and Son Book Club

Best Books for Parenting Teens

Best Social Justice Books For Teens

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles

And, a link to Amazon where I have an ever going list of my favorites for teens and adults!

Here is the list of other blogs to check out for book reviews!

1/3 – www.notasupermom.com

1/5 – www.lightheartedlife.org

1/6 –www.parentinghighschoolers.com (that’s me!)

1/8 – www.lizzielau.com

1/9 – www.cottageinthecourt.com

1/11 – www.kimscrazylife.com

1/12 – www.chiilmama.com

1/14 – www.goodgirlgoneredneck.com

1/15 – website for Jeanette Smith

1/16 – www.annebardsley.com

1/18 – www.staceygustafson.com

1/20 – www.carolcassara.com

1/22 – www.carolowens.com

1/23 – www.nerdfamily.com

1/24 – www.serenitywithglenda

1/26 – www.aboomerslifeafter50.com

1/27 – www.decodingcreativity.com

1/29 – www.themiraclechild.org

1/30 – www.biggreenpen.com

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️ 

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Favorite Books from 2021

27 Best Books To Read As A Young Adult For Success

27 Best Books To Read As A Young Adult For Success

Best books to read as a young adult

I am passionate about reading. Books take you places. Teach you things. Create memories. This booklist is by no means complete. However, as I thought about the best books to read as a young adult, I thought about the things I wish that I had known more about -the subjects that my husband and I tried to at least introduce to our boys.

I split the list into four categories and an additional list. This is one time that I don’t recommend for your teen to read all of them. Check out each list, read the synopsis of each, and then choose one from each. You know your teen better than anyone, so base the choice around that knowledge. These also lend themselves to being read aloud, and then have multiple conversations. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Best Books To Read As A Young Adult

Self-help books

-the use of one’s own efforts and resources to achieve things without relying on others-the use of one’s own efforts and resources to achieve things without relying on others

How to Win Friend and Influence People -Carnegie

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living -Carnegie

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People -Covey

Do Hard Things -Harris and Harris

Make Your Bed -McRaven

The Happiness Project -Rubin

Standing On My Head -Prather

Books about finances

-the management of money and includes activities such as investing, borrowing, lending, budgeting, saving, and forecasting

The Millionaire Fastlane -Demarco

Total Money Makeover -Ramsey

How to Adult: Personal Finance for the Real World -Cousineau

Generation Earn -Palmer

The Millionaire Fastlane -Demarco

Books about mindset

-the set of beliefs that shape how you make sense of the world and yourself:  influences how you think, feel, and behave in any given situation

The Power of Now -Tolle

The Last Lecture -Pausch

Am I Overthinking This? -Rial

The Myths of Happiness -Lyubomirsky

A Whack on the Side of the Head -von Oech

Books about relationships

-the way in which two or more people or groups regard and behave toward each other

The 5 Love Languages -Chapman

Boundaries -Cloud and Townsend

The Truth About Dating, Love, and Just Being Friends -Eastham

General books about adulting

-the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks

Adulting Made Easy -Morin

Welcome to Adulting -Pokluda and McConaghy

Adulthood for Beginners -Boyle This is a more humorous approach

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 535 Easy(ish) Steps -Brown

Being an Adult: The Ultimate Guide to Moving Out, Getting a Job and Getting Your Act Together -Tobin and Poole

Launch: A Guide to Adulting -Montanez and Merck

How to Adult, A Practical Guide: Advice on Living, Loving, Working, and Spending Like a Grown-Up -Goldstein

Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone: Advice Your Mom Would Give if She Thought You Were Listening -Blades

The best books to read as a young adult

This has been a fun topic to research. I hope that these books help in your parenting journey!? Please check out the posts below, especially the one about your teen turning 18- there are so many things to know legally.

Related Posts

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles

You Have An 18 Year Old: Be Aware Of These Little-Known Facts

7 Best Books for Parenting Teens

Best Social Justice Books For Teens

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️ 

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Best Books To Read As A Young Adult