Book Recommendation List: Books about Difficult Subjects

Teens D.C.

Book Recommendation List: Books about Difficult Subjects

Library intern DenaJah Wilson recommends the following books that tackle topics such as race, mental health, and self-esteem

Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford

Have you experienced suicidal thinking in your teenage years? How did you escape your dark space? You might be able to relate to this quote from Michael Thomas Ford’s “Suicide Notes”: “How come someone always saves the people who try to kill themselves and then makes them tell everyone how sorry they are for ruining their evening? I keep feeling like everyone wants me to apologize for something. but I'm not going to. I don't have anything to apologize for. They're the ones who screwed everything up. Not me.” 

The main character in this story is Jeff. One day, 15-year-old Jeff wakes up in the psychiatric ward of a hospital. The themes of this story are self discovery and self acceptance. There are also LGBT themes. I recommend this book. LGBT people feel like Jeff because it’s hard to tell parents about yourself; we feel as though they are going to judge us for our sexuality. We can also get suicidal thoughts if  our parents deny us for who we are. Reading about young Jeff’s experience can help others feel more confident in telling their parents about themselves.  You’ll enjoy this book because you’ll get a better perspective on how others can feel when telling a parent or guardian something major.


A Matter of Trust by Anne Schraff

When it comes to your life, do you trust people easily? How do you know when somebody is trustworthy? A quote in this book says, “Some things are just too good to be true,” and in real life that’s true because we get our hopes up and end up being upset about it. The main characters of this story are Brisana Meeks, Darcy Wills, and Hakeem Randall. Darcy is dealing with a new school, new boyfriend, changing friends, and jealousy. Darcy and Brisana were best friends but now are bitter enemies. This book asks who you can really trust. I would recommend this book because sometimes, when friends go to high school, they split up and become so rude to each other. When you and that friend stop being friends, you never know if you can still trust them. If you read this story, I guarantee you’ll look at friendships differently, especially if you have had a falling out with a friend who started rumors about you when you trusted them with your personal things.


So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Have you ever been racially profiled? What are your thoughts on racism? Ijeoma Oluo says in “So You Want to Talk About Race, “When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else's oppression, we'll find our opportunities to make real change.” Most African Americans can relate to this quote because we want to make a change so that we can be equal in this world. Ijeoma Oluo makes a political argument about how social systems are racist. Oluo talks about what’s racist and how her opinions need to be heard. Oluo also gives advice on how to approach the issue. Oluo was raised by a white single mother, then became a single mother of two mixed race sons. This book also covers the topics of affirmative action, cultural appropriation, intersectionality, microaggressions, police brutality, and the school-to-prison pipeline. I would recommend this book because this author gives advice on what you can do if you witness racism.


I Am Enough by Grace Byers

Have you ever thought that you weren't enough? When was the last time you told yourself that you are enough and shouldn’t care what people think? Grace Byers says in “I Am Enough, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine.” This quote shows how you can have confidence and not be afraid. As the story progresses, the main character starts to accept and love herself. Byers made this story about women empowerment and respect for diversity to motivate and uplift others. I would recommend this book because not many women support each other, when in reality, we have to.  You’ll enjoy this book because you can tell others about it which can build support systems for other women.