Diverse Summer Reading 2020 Recommendations for Teens

Diverse Summer Reading 2020 Recommendations for Teens

Even though I live in Colorado, I am not the most outdoorsy of people. Most of my summers growing up were spent in my air-conditioned house, reading. Each year, I managed to work my way through the library’s summer reading list.

I’m no longer a teen with nothing to do all summer, but I still love to read! While I dig historical fiction and YA, I also love learning – history, politics, culture, whatever!

Just a note – I’m writing this reading list in summer 2020. Thanks to COVID-19, most of us will be home this summer – more staycations, fewer summer camps. Use some of that time to read!

Here are my summer reading picks for 2020. Some of these are new books and some are a bit older, but they are all pretty awesome. Katherine Lombardo, a high school English teacher and friend of the blog, suggested several of these. She’s never given me a bad recommendation yet!

Psst – are you a parent? I highly recommend going through this Summer Reading 2020 list with your teen and pick a few to read together or listen to on a road trip! I also have some more ideas for getting your teen to read this summer!

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10 Diverse Summer Reading Recommendations for Teens in 2020


How We Learn: The Surprising Truth about When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey

Author Benedict Carey read all the latest literature and research about learning so we don’t have to! Find out all the ways we thought we learn that don’t work – and what to do instead!

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman

This memoir dives into the author’s life in a strict Hasidic sect and why she ultimately chose to leave. Head’s up – there is some discussion of sex. After reading, watch the Netflix series based on this book.


All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

This YA bestseller follows two teen boys – one white and one black – and the aftermath of a violent event that splits their school and town apart.

American Royals by Katharine McGee

What if George Washington, instead of becoming our first president, became our first king? Fast forward to the present and the complicated lives (and court intrigue) of the current prince and princesses of the USA

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

If you loved the Hunger Games, it’s time to return to Panem is a prequel novel. See how Coriolanus Snow mentors a young woman from District 12 in the 10th annual Hunger Games.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

This book has a darn impressive list of awards and they are all deserved! This fantasy novel’s roots are from West Africa and make for a particularly spell-binding story. Will Zélie be able to bring magic back to her land? If you’ve already finished this, get on a waiting list for the sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance!

I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sánchez

Julia desperately wants to leave Chicago to attend college. But good Mexican girls don’t do that. And Julia is not a perfect Mexican daughter.

Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield

June’s life is turned upside down when her father remarries. The only thing keeping her going is her friendship with a neighbor boy, Blister. Just a head’s up – the book contains intense descriptions of physical and emotional abuse.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jayson Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

If you’re not sure how to talk to your teens about race, read this book If you’re not sure how to talk to your teens (or parents) about race, read this book together. This version of Stamped is meant for teens. Reynolds and Kendi focus on the causes of racism and how we can build an antiracist world.

A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson

In 1955, 14-year-old Emmitt Till was lynched in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman. His tragic death helped to kick start the civil rights movement. Written in verse, this book both brings life to Till and grieves his death.

I hope this list gives you some ideas for summer reading 2020. If these don’t do much for you, I have more suggestions here and here!

What are you reading this summer? Let me know in the comments below!

Related Posts: Summer 2020 Bucket List: Have Fun Safely, Resources for Talking to Teens About Race & Racism, What I’m Reading This Summer (And You Should, Too), 3 Reasons Audiobooks are Awesome for Students

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