Celebrating Older Adults with Books for Teens

Acevedo, Elizabeth

Teen mother Emoni Santiago struggles with the challenges of finishing high school and her dream of working as a chef.

Anaya, Rudolfo A.

Ultima, a curandera, one who cures with herbs and magic, comes to Antonio Marez's New Mexico family when he is six years old, and she helps him discover himself in the magical secrets of the pagan past.

Crossan, Sarah

Allison runs away and, in what she thinks is an abandoned house, finds a home with Marla, an elderly woman with dementia who believes her to be an old friend named Toffee.

Johnson, Angela

On a visit to her grandmother Ola, who is dying of cancer in her house in the desert, fourteen-year-old Emmie hears many stories about the past and her family history and comes to a better understanding of relatives both dead and living.

Johnson, George M.

In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Johnson, George M.

This is a memoir of George's boyhood in New Jersey, growing up q with their brother and two cousins, all under the supervision of their larger-than-life grandmother.

Johnson, Leah

Liz Lighty has always done her best to avoid the spotlight in her small, wealthy, and prom-obsessed midwestern high school, after all, her family is black and rather poor, especially since her mother died; instead she has concentrated on her grades and her musical ability in the hopes that it will win her a scholarship to elite Pennington College and their famous orchestra where she plans to study medicine--but when that scholarship falls through she is forced to turn to her school's scholarship for prom king and queen, which plunges her into the gauntlet of social media which she hates and leads her to discoveries about her own identity and the value of true friendships.

Khorram, Adib

Clinically-depressed Darius Kellner, a high school sophomore, travels to Iran to meet his grandparents, but it is their next-door neighbor, Sohrab, who changes his life.

Krosoczka, Jarrett

In kindergarten, Jarrett Krosoczka's teacher asks him to draw his family, with a mommy and a daddy. But Jarrett's family is much more complicated than that. His mom is an addict, in and out of rehab, and in and out of Jarrett's life. His father is a mystery -- Jarrett doesn't know where to find him, or even what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents -- two very loud, very loving, very opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along.

Nazemian, Abdi

It's 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing. Reza is an Iranian boy who has just moved to the city with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother. He's terrified that someone will guess the truth he can barely acknowledge about himself. Reza knows he's gay, but all he knows of gay life are the media's images of men dying of AIDS. Judy is an aspiring fashion designer who worships her uncle Stephen, a gay man with AIDS who devotes his time to activism as a member of ACT UP. Judy has never imagined finding romance... until she falls for Reza and they start dating. Art is Judy's best friend, their school's only out and proud teen. He'll never be who his conservative parents want him to be, so he rebels by documenting the AIDS crisis through his photographs. As Reza and Art grow closer, Reza struggles to find a way out of his deception that won't break Judy's heart -- and destroy the most meaningful friendship he's ever known. This is a bighearted, sprawling epic about friendship and love and the revolutionary act of living life to the fullest in the face of impossible odds.

Ogle, Rex

Rex Ogle's companion to Free Lunch and Punching Bag weaves humor, heartbreak, and hope into life-affirming poems that honor his grandmother's legacy. In his award-winning memoir Free Lunch, Rex Ogle's abuela features as a source of love and support. In this companion-in-verse, Rex captures and celebrates the powerful presence a woman he could always count on-to give him warm hugs and ear kisses, to teach him precious words in Spanish, to bring him to the library where he could take out as many books as he wanted, and to offer safety when darkness closed in. Throughout a coming of age marked by violence and dysfunction, Abuela's red-brick house in Abilene, Texas, offered Rex the possibility of home, and Abuela herself the possibility for a better life. Abuela, Don't Forget Me is a lyrical portrait of the transformative and towering woman who believed in Rex even when he didn't yet know how to believe in himself.

Tingle, Tim.

"The hour has come to speak of troubled times. It is time we spoke of Skullyville." Thus begins Rose Goode's story of her growing up in Indian Territory in pre-statehood Oklahoma. Skullyville, a once-thriving Choctaw community, was destroyed by land-grabbers, culminating in the arson on New Year's Eve, 1896, of New Hope Academy for Girls. Twenty Choctaw girls died, but Rose escaped. She is blessed by the presence of her grandmother Pokoni and her grandfather Amafo, both respected elders who understand the old ways. Soon after the fire, the white sheriff beats Amafo in front of the town's people, humiliating him. Instead of asking the Choctaw community to avenge the beating, her grandfather decides to follow the path of forgiveness. And so unwinds this tale of mystery, Indian-style magical realism, and deep wisdom. It's a world where backwoods spiritualism and Bible-thumping Christianity mix with bad guys; a one-legged woman shop-keeper, her oaf of a husband, herbal potions, and shape-shifting panthers rendering justice.

Watson, ReneĢe

Harlem teenager Nala is looking forward to a summer of movies and ice cream until she falls in love with the very woke Tye and pretends to be a social activist.

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.