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Young Adult Adaptations of Adult Bestselling Books to Read with Your Child

Young Adult Adaptations of Adult Bestselling Books to Read with Your Child

We are all trying to balance our new norm with social distancing and homeschooling/online learning. As always, we’re looking for ways to keep our children entertained by something other than screentime.

So, what if we use this time to really connect to our children? One way I’m doing this is through reading.

Sure, you can re-read some of your childhood favorites with your kids. But here’s a list of adult non-fiction bestsellers that you can read while your children read the young readers adaptations.

Looking for a way to discuss racial tensions and inequities in America? I’ve included several books that do just that.

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Scroll down to the bottom of this post to get a free printable list of the “Book Club Questions You Can Use with Any Book”.

Young Adult Adaptations (of Adult Books) You’ll Actually Want to Read:

If you read the reviews, many adults actually choose the young adult versions to read for themselves over their original counterparts.

Note: Hopefully, you not only read these books alongside your child, but you also get the opportunity to discuss the themes and storylines after.

Check out this blog post with a list of questions that you can use to discuss any book. Or, download the printable list at the end of this blog post.

Books Dealing With Race:

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood Adapted for Young Readers

book cover It's Trevor Noah Born a Crime Young Readers Edition

Pages: 304

This memoir about Trevor Noah’s childhood in South Africa introduces many kids to the realities of apartheid. It’s soon to be a film starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.

Get the adult version of Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood here.

Trevor Noah Born a Crime Adult Version Cover Blue

Pages: 304

Trevor Noah narrates his audiobook and it’s consistently one of Audible’s top sellers.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy Adapted for Young Adults: A True Story of the Fight for Justice

Pages: 288

This memoir written by attorney Bryan Stevenson examines the criminal justice system and its attitude towards the black community. Specifically, it tells how he overturns the murder conviction of Walter McMillian, sentenced for the murder of an 18-year-old girl.

You can stream the film of the same name starring Michael B. Jordan, Jaime Foxx, and Brie Larson. It’s free for the month of June 2020.

It’s also an HBO documentary entitled True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality.

Get the adult version of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption here.

just mercy book cover bestseller

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition

hidden figures young readers blue book cover

Pages: 240

In Hidden Figures, this incredible story focuses on four female “human computers,” who happen to be both women and African American mathematicians, and helped the NASA Space Program.

Younger children may like the picture book version of Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race.

picture book illustrated hidden figures book

Get the adult version of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race here. You can also stream the movie version on Amazon Prime.

hidden figures book cover from movie

You can also download a free list of these books in the Resource Library. Sign up at the end of this post.

Biographies, Memoirs, and other True Stories:

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

blue book cover boys in the boat young adult

Pages: 256

The full title of this book is The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team’s Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics. During the Great Depression, nine working-class boys go on to fight for a medal in the 1936 Olympic Games.

Get the adult version of The Boys in the Boat here.

book cover red writing boys in the boat

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive (Adapted for Young Adults)

plane flying book cover unbroken young adult

Pages: 320

This young adult version of Unbroken tells the story of former Olympian, Louie Zamperini after his plane crashes into the Pacific Ocean in enemy territory.

Get the adult version of Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption here.

man beached book cover unbroken

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition)

i am malala young readers blue book cover

Pages: 256

In this bestselling memoir, Malala, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient tells how her life changed when the Taliban took over her home country, Pakistan. When they said girls could no longer go to school, she fought back in her own way.

For younger children, Malala co-wrote a picture book entitled Malala: My Story for Standing Up for Girls’ Rights.

malala childrens picture book illustrated cover

Get the adult version of I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban here.

photo of malala on book cover

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Notorious RBG Young Readers’ Edition: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

ruth bader ginsburg wearing crown book cover

Pages: 208

This young adult readers’ biography of Notorious RBG uses humor and pop cultures to share the life story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Get the adult version of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg here.

red spine book cover notorious rbg

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog: Young Readers Edition

red book cover nike symbol

Pages: 304

This biography, Shoe Dog by the creator of Nike inspires us, showing how a big idea can turn into one of the most profitable companies in the world.

Get the adult version of Shoe Dog here.

shoe dog black book cover red nike

Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon

Far from the Tree: Young Adult Edition–How Children and Their Parents Learn to Accept One Another . . . Our Differences Unite Us

colorful black and pastel far from the tree book cover

Pages: 480

The young adult version of Far From the Tree will get your family to discuss important topics. It examines families whose children are different from one another: deaf, Downs Syndrome, schizophrenia, incarcerated, etc.

Get the adult version Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity here. You can stream the documentary Far From the Tree on Amazon Prime.

orange book cover illustration of man far from the tree

The Diary of Anne Frank

Anne Frank’s Diary, The Graphic Adaptation

graphic novel cover of anne frank red shirt

Pages: 160

If your kids are like mine though, they gravitate towards graphic novels. This graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s Diary deals with mature content and may not be appropriate for young children.

Get the original version of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl here.

photos of anne frank book cover

Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland

Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina Young Readers Edition 

misty copeland blue ballerina costume book cover

Pages: 192

This young readers’ biography, Life in Motion, details how Misty Copeland broke barriers to become the first African American principal dancer in the American Ballet Theater.

Get the adult version of Life in Motion here.

misty copeland black leotard book cover

Other Non-Fiction Books

Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids

red q on white book cover quiet power

Pages: 288

This illustrated book, Quiet Power, provides tips for parents and kids to appreciate themselves their quiet nature and to navigate their way through school, extra-curricular activities, friends, and family.

Get the adult version Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking here.

gray book cover red q quiet

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: Young Readers Edition

corn cob book cover omnivore's dilemma

Pages: 400

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat helps kids to examine their eating habits and its global impact.

Get the adult version The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals here.

grapes and egg book cover omnivore's dilemma

Looking for more book recommendations?

Head on over to our Facebook group where we share book recommendations on a daily basis. We also host a monthly Virtual Book Club.

How to Join Virtual Book Club Facebook Group

Do you want to do more to support local independent bookstores? Check out my full review on Bookshop.org here. You can find this entire list of young adult books and their adult counterparts there too.

Pin for later!

teenage girl reading book sitting by window

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