Biographies & Autobiographies (more than 100 pages, not more than 350 pages) ya-rm b aba abagnale, Frank

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YA-RM B Zenatti Zenatti, Valerie When I Was a Soldier 235 p.

What is it like to be a young woman in a war?

At a time when Israel is in the news every day and politics in the Middle East are as complex as ever before, this story of one girl's experience in the Israeli national army is both topical and fascinating. Valerie begins her story as she finishes her exams, breaks up with her boyfriend, and leaves for service with the Israeli army. Nothing has prepared her for the strict routines, grueling marches, poor food, lack of sleep and privacy, or crushing of initiative that she now faces. But this harsh life has excitement, too, such as working in a spy center near Jerusalem and listening in on Jordanian pilots. Offering a glimpse into the life of a typical Israeli teen, even as it lays bare the relentless nature of war, Valerie's story is one young readers will have a hard time forgetting.

YA-RM B ZOY Zoya Zoya’s Story 239 p.

Zoya is a 23-year-old Afghan woman who has already seen enough misery and heartbreak to last a lifetime. She grew up with war as a constant companion, her mother and father killed by Muslim fundamentalists. Fleeing Kabul with her grandmother, she wound up in Pakistan, where she joined an organization devoted to ending the Taliban's rule. Her crusade for freedom has led her back to Afghanistan many times, in an effort to help other women imprisoned within their oppressive burqas. Zoya's experiences and thirst for change will enlighten and inspire.

YA-RM 305.235 BLA Blanco, Jodee Please Stop Laughing at Me 273 p.

While other kids were daydreaming about dances, first kisses, and college, Jodee Blanco was just trying to figure out how to get from homeroom to study hall without being taunted or spit upon as she walked through the halls. This powerful, unforgettable memoir chronicles how one child was shunned-and sometimes physically-abused by her classmates from elementary school through high school. It is an unflinching look at what it means to be the outcast, how even the most loving parents can get it all wrong, why schools are often unable to prevent disaster, and how bullying has been misunderstood and mishandled by the mental health community.

YA-RM 305.235 F Feig, Paul Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence 288 p.

Written in side-splitting and often cringe-inducing detail, Paul Feig takes you in a time machine to a world of bombardment by dodge balls, ill-fated prom dates, hellish school bus rides, and other aspects of public school life that will keep you laughing in recognition and occasionally sighing in relief that you aren't him. Kick Me is a nostalgic trip for the inner geek in all of us.


YA-RM 362.198 H Hayden, Torey Ghost Girl 320 p.

Jadie never spoke. She never laughed, or cried, or uttered any sound. Despite efforts to reach her, Jadie remained locked in her own troubled world—until one remarkable teacher persuaded her to break her self-imposed silence. Nothing in all of Torey Hayden's experience could have prepared her for the shock of what Jadie told her—a story too horrendous for Torey's professional colleagues to acknowledge. Yet a little girl was living in a nightmare, and Torey Hayden responded in the only way she knew how—with courage, compassion, and dedication—demonstrating once again the tremendous power of love and the resilience of the human spirit.

YA-RM 362.28 R Runyon, Brent Burn Journals 336 p

BRENT RUNYON WAS 14 years old when he set himself on fire.

This is a true story.

In The Burn Journals, Runyon describes that devastating suicide attempt and his recovery over the following year. He takes us into the Burn Unit in a children’s hospital and through painful burn care and skin-grafting procedures. Then to a rehabilitation hospital, for intensive physical, occupational, and psychological therapy. And then finally back home, to the frightening prospect of entering high school. But more importantly, Runyon takes us into his own mind. He shares his thoughts and hopes and fears with such unflinching honesty that we understand—with a terrible clarity—what it means to want to kill yourself and how it feels to struggle back toward normality.

YA-RM 362.76 P Pelzer, David J. A Child Called “It”: An Abused Child’s Journey

from Victim to Victor 184 p.

This book is a brief horrifying account of the bizarre tortures David’s mother inflicted on him. It is told from the point of view of the author as a young boy being starved, stabbed, smashed face-first into mirrors, forced to eat the contents of his siblings diapers and a spoonful of ammonia, and burned over a gas stove by a maniacal, alcoholic mom. It also gives an account of his removal from this terrible environment and the beginning of a better life.


YA-RM 364.36 V Vona, Abigail Bad Girl: Confessions of a Teenage Delinquent 261 p.

Three years ago, fifteen year old Abigail Vona lived a life so far out of control (booze, boys, drugs, stealing, and runaway charges) that her father committed her to Peninsula Village, a controversial treatment facility for "behavior modification" in Louisville, Tennessee. She was kept inside this "level-three lockdown" and "wilderness boot camp" for nearly a year. And though it all started out as a nightmare, it eventually became her salvation.

YA-RM 370.92 J Jurmain, Suzanne Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and her Students 150 p.

They threw rocks and rotten eggs at the school windows. Villagers refused to sell Miss Crandall groceries or let her students attend the town church. Mysteriously, her schoolhouse was set on fire- by whom and how remains a mystery. The town authorities dragged her to jail and put her on trial for breaking the law. Her crime? Trying to teach African American girls geography, history, reading, philosophy, and chemistry. Trying to open and maintain one of the first African American schools in America.

YA-RM 610.922 D Davis, Sampon We Beat the Street 208 p.

Sampson, George, and Rameck could easily have followed their childhood friends into drugdealing, gangs, and prison. Like their peers, they came from poor, single-parent homes in urban neighborhoods where survival, not scholastic success, was the priority. When the three boys met in a magnet high school in Newark, they recognized each other as kindred spirits who wanted to overcome the incredible odds against them and reach for opportunity. They made a friendship pact, deciding together to take on the biggest challenge of their lives: attending college and then medical school. Along the way they made mistakes and faced disappointments, but by working hard, finding the right mentors, separating themselves from negative influences, and supporting each other, they achieved their goals—and more.

YA-RM 616.83 PAT Patterson, James & Hal Friedman Med-Head: My Knock-down, Drag-out, Drugged-up Battle with My Brain

How it FEELS to have a body that won't stop moving, to be really different from everyone else, to be made fun of every day, to be totally reckless, to never relax, to be shut out of everything, to break FREE and TAKE CONTROL. James Patterson's Against Medical Advice riveted adults with the page-turning drama of one teenager's courage, sacrifice, and triumph in confronting an agonizing medical condition. Now this deeply personal account of Cory Friedman's intense struggles with Tourette's Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder—as well as depression, anxiety, and alcohol addiction—is available for teen readers.

YA-RM 616.861 Z Zailckas, Koren Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood 342 p.

Perhaps the most cautionary aspect of Zailckas' eye-opening account of girlhood alcohol abuse is the fact that her story is surprisingly common. Like many girls, she took her first tentative sips at the age of 14. Two years later, she would remember few details of the night she landed -- bruised, filthy, and completely spent -- in the local emergency room, a couple of drinks away from death by alcohol poisoning.


YA-RM 616.89 K Kaysen, Susanna Girl, Interrupted 168 p.

In the late 1960s, the author spent nearly two years on the ward for teenage girls at McLean Hospital, a renowned psychiatric facility. Her memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perceptions, while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers.

YA-RM 621.483 SIL Silverstein, Ken Radioactive Boyscout 240 p.

Growing up in suburban Detroit, David Hahn was fascinated by science. While he was working on his Atomic Energy badge for the Boy Scouts, David’s obsessive attention turned to nuclear energy. Throwing caution to the wind, he plunged into a new project: building a model nuclear reactor in his backyard garden shed. Posing as a physics professor, David solicited information on reactor design from the U.S. government and from industry experts. Following blueprints he found in an outdated physics textbook, David cobbled together a crude device that threw off toxic levels of radiation. His wholly unsupervised project finally sparked an environmental emergency that put his town’s forty thousand suburbanites at risk. The EPA ended up burying his lab at a radioactive dumpsite in Utah. This offbeat account of ambition and, ultimately, hubris has the narrative energy of a first-rate thriller.

YA-RM 759.13 RUB Rubin, Susan Goldman Wideness & Wonder: The Life & Art of Georgia O’Keefe

Wideness and Wonder is the fascinating story of the mysterious and beloved artist Georgia O'Keeffe.
YA-RM 796.8155 POL Polly, Matthew American Shaolin 350 p.

The raucously funny story of one young American's quest to become the baddest dude on the planet (and possibly find inner peace along the way) Growing up a ninety-eight-pound weakling tormented by bullies in the schoolyards of Kansas, Matthew Polly dreamed of one day journeying to the Shaolin Temple in China to become the toughest fighter in the world, like Caine in his favorite 1970s TV series Kung Fu.

American Shaolin is the story of the two years Matthew spent in China living, studying, and performing with the Shaolin monks. The Chinese term for tough training is chi ku (“eating bitter”), and Matthew quickly learned to appreciate the phrase. This is both the gripping story of Matthew's journey and an intimate portrait of the real lives of the Shaolin monks, who struggle to overcome rampant corruption and the restrictions of an authoritarian government. Laced with humor and illuminated by cultural insight, American Shaolin is an unforgettable coming-of- age story of one man's journey into the ancient art of kungfu—and a poignant portrait of a rapidly changing China.

YA-RM 811.6 S Schutz, Samantha I Don't Want to be Crazy 280 p.

This is a true story of growing up, breaking down, and coming to grips with a psychological disorder. When Samantha Schutz first left home for college, she was excited by the possibilities -- freedom from parents, freedom from a boyfriend who was reckless with her affections, freedom from the person she was supposed to be. At first, she revelled in the independence ... but as pressures increased , she began to suffer anxiety attacks that would leave her mentally shaken and physically incapacitated. Thus began a hard road of discovery and coping, powerfully rendered in this poetry memoir.

YA-RM 920 F Fradin, Judith Bloom 5,000 Miles to Freedom 100 p.

In 1848, with slavery at its height in Georgia, slaves William and Ellen Craft made plans to flee north. Ellen, who could pass for white, cut her hair and donned the clothing of a young gentleman. William posed as her personal slave. Their dangerous journey took them first to Philadelphia, then to Boston, and ultimately to England. With the aid of a network of abolitionists and free blacks, they learned to read and write, lectured about their flight, and worked hard to support themselves. After the Civil War, they returned to Georgia to establish a school for former slaves.


YA-RM 940.53 J Jackson, Livia Bitton I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust 224 p.

Thirteen when she and her family were send to Auschwitz, Bitton-Jackson vividly describes the horrors they faced.


YA-RM 940.5318 OPD Opdyke, Irene Gut In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Survivor 276 p.

Recounts the experiences of the author who, as a young Polish girl, hid and saved Jews during the Holocaust.

YA-RM 940.548 W Wiesel, Elie Night 109 p.

An autobiographical narrative in which the author describes his experiences in Nazi concentration camps, watching family and friends die, and how they led him to believe that God is dead.


YA-RM 949.702 F Filipovic, Zlata Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo 197 p.

Eleven year-old Zlata began keeping her diary before the shelling began in Sarajevo that changed her life.


YA-RM 956.944 BAR Barakat, Ibtisam Tasting the Sky 192 p.

In this groundbreaking memoir set in Ramallah during the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, Ibtisam Barakat captures what it is like to be a child whose world is shattered by war. With candor and courage, she stitches together memories of her childhood: fear and confusion as bombs explode near her home and she is separated from her family; the harshness of life as a Palestinian refugee; her unexpected joy when she discovers Alef, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. This is the beginning of her passionate connection to words, and as language becomes her refuge, allowing her to piece together the fragments of her world, it becomes her true home.


974.7 S Santiago, Esmeralda When I Was Puerto Rican 274 p.

Magic, high comedy, and intense drama move through an enchanted yet harsh autobiography, in the story of a young girl who leaves rural Puerto Rico for New York’s tenements and a chance for success.







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