Best Memoirs for Kids and Teens

Kids crave authentic stories, and what's more authentic than the story of a life written by the person who lived it? These compelling memoirs and autobiographies reveal the challenges and triumphs of ordinary people, often in extraordinary situations -- from war, poverty, and physical disability to athletic stardom, social activism, and the search for love and acceptance. These books can help build empathy, make kids feel less alone in their struggle, and inspire young readers as they see what people went through to get where they are. For more stories of kids' lives, check out our Coming-of-Age Books and Books with Stories of Extraordinary Women.

Just Help! How to Build a Better World Poster Image
BOOK

Just Help! How to Build a Better World

age 4+

Inspiring portrait of service urges kids to give back.

By: Sonia Sotomayor (2022)
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My Journey to the Stars Poster Image
BOOK

My Journey to the Stars

age 7+

Exciting memoir rockets future astronauts to space.

By: Scott Kelly (2017)
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Chasing Space Young Reader's Edition Poster Image
BOOK

Chasing Space Young Reader's Edition

age 8+

Stellar memoir of an elite athlete and astronaut's journey.

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Mo'ne Davis: Remember My Name: My Story from First Pitch to Game Changer Poster Image
BOOK

Mo'ne Davis: Remember My Name: My Story from First Pitch to Game Changer

age 8+

Inspirational memoir of Little League history maker.

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Real Friends Poster Image
BOOK

Real Friends

age 8+

Painfully honest, hopeful memoir of coping with frenemies.

By: Shannon Hale (2017)
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Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'round: My Story of the Making of Martin Luther King Day Poster Image
BOOK

Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'round: My Story of the Making of Martin Luther King Day

age 9+

Lyrical memoir in verse traces fight for MLK Day.

By: Kathlyn J. Kirkwood (2022)
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El Deafo Poster Image
BOOK

El Deafo

age 9+

Charming, funny comics memoir of growing up deaf.

By: Cece Bell (2014)
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Just Pretend Poster Image
BOOK

Just Pretend

age 9+

Making fantasy fiction helps tween cope in heartfelt memoir.

By: Tori Sharp (2021)
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Sisters Poster Image
BOOK

Sisters

age 9+

Funny, moving memoir is great for younger comics fans.

By: Raina Telgemeier (2014)
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This Is Your Time Poster Image
BOOK

This Is Your Time

age 9+

Powerful true tale of girl who desegregated school in 1960.

By: Ruby Bridges (2020)
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Be Prepared Poster Image
BOOK

Be Prepared

age 10+

Smart, funny account of summer camp discomfort.

By: Vera Brosgol (2018)
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Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court Poster Image
BOOK

Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court

age 10+

Thoughtful memoir by basketball star and civil rights icon.

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The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor Poster Image
BOOK

The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor

age 10+

Inspiring memoir teaches kids to dream big.

By: Sonia Sotomayor (2019)
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Brown Girl Dreaming Poster Image
BOOK

Brown Girl Dreaming

age 10+

Captivating poems depict coming-of-age in tumultuous 1960s.

By: Jacqueline Woodson (2014)
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The Dumbest Idea Ever Poster Image
BOOK

The Dumbest Idea Ever

age 10+

Funny, affecting memoir of growing up crazy for comics.

By: Jimmy Gownley (2014)
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Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith Poster Image
BOOK

Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith

age 10+

Inspiring autobiography by Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas.

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I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World Poster Image
BOOK

I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World

age 10+

Inspiring memoir of teen Nobel laureate shot by Taliban.

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Permanent Record: Young Readers Edition Poster Image
BOOK

Permanent Record: Young Readers Edition

age 10+

Exciting spy memoir hits digital privacy, exposing secrets.

By: Edward Snowden (2021)
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Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematican Katherine Johnson Poster Image
BOOK

Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematican Katherine Johnson

age 10+

Must-read true story of trailblazing NASA mathematician.

By: Katherine Johnson (2019)
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This Promise of Change: One Girl's Story in the Fight for School Equality Poster Image
BOOK

This Promise of Change: One Girl's Story in the Fight for School Equality

age 10+

Compelling, inspiring memoir of integrating Southern school.

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