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.
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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
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 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
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.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition
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.
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.
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
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.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive (Adapted for Young Adults)
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.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition)
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.
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
This young adult readers’ biography of Notorious RBG uses humor and pop cultures to share the life story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
Shoe Dog: Young Readers Edition
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.
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
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.
The Diary of Anne Frank
Anne Frank’s Diary, The Graphic Adaptation
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.
Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland
Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina Young Readers Edition
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.
Other Non-Fiction Books
Quiet by Susan Cain
Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids
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.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: Young Readers Edition
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat helps kids to examine their eating habits and its global impact.
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.
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.
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