Build a Better World: Teen Summer Reading List

Staff PicksWoodridge Library

Build a Better World: Teen Summer Reading List

In partnership with the National Building Museum

This summer, DC Public Library has teamed up with the National Building Museum to create reading lists that connect our summer reading theme, "Build a Better World", to their mission to advance the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives.

Inspired by the Museum's exhibitions and collections, selected books complement the stories they tell about architecture, engineering, and design.

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Counting by 7s speaks to how design can change a space, and a community. After tragedy, Willow’s passion for nature turns to innovative design as she starts a garden in the small apartment complex she is living in.

I am Princess X by Cherie Priest
This book offers the city up as a playground of discovery for the two friends, Libby and May, and their graphic novel creation, Princess X. Years later, Libby has been killed in a car accident, taking the whole idea of Princess X with her… until stickers of the character start appearing around the city. It seems like everywhere May looks, Princess X stickers have appeared. But who is behind this?

Orleans by Sherri Smith
In the future, thanks to a series of devastating hurricanes, the Gulf Coast has separated from the rest of the United States. Fen de la Guerre is a 15-year-old orphan charged with taking her tribe's infant daughter to the land over the wall and to a brighter future. Fen joins up with a scientist who is determined to solve the Delta Fever.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
William loves reading about science and thought that he could use it, along with scraps of metal to create a windmill that would pump electricity and water to his community. The results were life changing for his family, as his creation brought light to the darkness, water to his home, and allowed vegetation growth to feed the village.

Generation Green by Linda Sivertsen and Tosh Sivertsen
Tosh’s parents made a conscious decision to build an eco-friendly life and raise him to appreciate the world around him. When they eventually moved to Los Angles, he experiences an interesting culture shock. He also straddles the line of caring for the planet and his eco-footprint versus living a normal teenage experience.

For additional reading:


Visit HIVE in the National Building Museum's Great Hall. Designed by Studio Gang, the installation is part of the annual Summer Block Party series, July 6 - September 4.

DC Public Library will also be offering storytimes and mobile check out at that National Building Museum on Ward Days.
D.C. residents are invited to visit the Museum exhibitions, including Hive, with complimentary admission from 9-11 a.m. on their specific Ward Days.

Find "Build a Better World" reading lists for adults, upper elementary, and early elementary children.