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November 6, 2018

Books to Encourage Teens to Get Out and Vote

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Here in America, Election Day is Tuesday, November 6th. For a lot of young people this will only be their first or second time voting. The right to vote is incredibly important to Teenreads, and it's a right that all Americans should treasure. That said, a lot of young people don't vote, so Teen Board member Isabel C. put together a list of fun book recommendations that cover politics and elections. Isabel says,"If you're a young person who can vote: read these books! Recommend them to your friends! Show just how much one vote can accomplish. If you're a parent or older person reading this, read these books too! Then give them to the young people in your life who might need a push to get out to the polls. Offer to drive your teen (and their friends!) to your local polling station. We can debate until we run out of air, but nothing will happen if we don't show up and VOTE."


Fiction:

SAY YOU'LL REMEMBER ME by Katie McGarry --- This book came out back in January and I absolutely loved it. It features two teens from opposite tracks of life. Elle is the daughter of the governor. Drix just got out of a rehabilitation program for "troubled teens." The book highlights the school-to-prison pipeline (a topic every teen should learn about) and what it's like to be on the inside of politics. You can find out more and read my full review here.

YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY by Gordon Jack --- Coming out right after election day, this book showcases politics at the high school level, a perfect jumping board for teens just starting to vote.

THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas --- Inspired by the actual events of the Black Lives Matter movement, THE HATE U GIVE is incredibly timely. Also, the movie adaption just came out! This is the perfect chance to read the book then see the movie that is making incredible waves.

One of this year's hottest releases, LOVE, HATE AND OTHER FILTERS by Samira Ahmed is incredibly timely. The story is about Maya Aziz, an Indian-American Muslim teen. Her daily life of photography and high school crushes is interrupted when an act of terror is committed across the country by a man who shares her last name. This is a great book for teens coming to terms with terror attacks in the US and what they mean for those, directly and indirectly, involved.

GHOST BOYS by Jewel Parker Rhodes is a great book for younger readers about how history interweaves with the present. It examines what happens after a tragedy, specifically the killing of a young boy by a police officer. By having the main character observe what happens after his death as a ghost, it opens a new way of dealing with a tough subject. Added in the book is the story and ghost of Emmett Till. GHOST BOYS is a great book for dealing with tough subjects with younger readers.

THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED by Kody Keplinger is also incredibly timely. A lot of teens (including me!) have been getting involved with the March For Our Lives movement that began after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. This is a great book for teens just beginning their political activism to read. THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED provides a fictional setting for events that are often all too real.

Nonfiction:

Calling all budding feminists in the house. OUR STORIES, OUR VOICES edited by Amy Reed is the perfect book for you. This anthology is an inspiring look into the lives of 21 YA authors. OUR STORIES, OUR VOICES can both provide solidarity for lived experiences and provide a door into different ones.

GLIMMER OF HOPE: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement by The March for Our Lives Founders is an inspiring collection of poetry, stories and recollections. It documents how strength can be found even in the darkest moments, and how the actions of one person can change the lives of many. This is especially moving since it is other teens taking action. It's all well and good for an adult to tell a teen how to make change, but to hear it from your peers is something else entirely. This book will remind everyone that teens are a force to be reckoned with.

NEVERTHELESS, WE PERSISTED: 48 Voices of Defiance, Strength, and Courage. 2018 has been the year for inspiring anthologies. This one is a collection of stories by actors, athletes, and current teen activists about a time they overcame adversity as a teen. This book will help teens gain the courage to stand up to hate and will provide relatable stories for many teens.

With how dark everything can feel, I wanted to end this with hope. HOPE NATION: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration edited by Rose Brock is a collection of essays and stories by some amazing YA authors. Just as it's important to follow all the awful things happening in the news, it's just as important to remind ourselves to take a step back. While we fight for a better world, our biggest strength is hope. As Suzanne Collins said in The Hunger Games "Hope. The only thing stronger than fear."