The New York Public Library Unveils Its 125 Books We Love for Teens
The recommended titles represent the latest installment in a series of book lists celebrating the Library’s 125th anniversary and its role sparking a lifelong love of reading
The New York Public Library today unveiled its 125 Books We Love for Teens, a list of young adult titles that its expert librarians believe will get the young (and the young heart) excited to turn pages.
The book list—released for back to school season, available online at nypl.org/125, and featuring a wide range of genres including graphic novels, drama, manga, fantasy, and more—is the latest installment in a series of book recommendation lists released in 2020 celebrating the Library’s 125th anniversary and its unique role sparking a lifelong love of reading.
To compile the teen list, a team of young adult librarians from across the organization—led by Associate Director of Readers Services Lynn Lobash, who serves on several American Library Association book committees—spent months discussing, debating, and deciding on the list. They took into account literary merit, popularity, the opinions of librarians and other experts, and other factors to create a list of books that:
- Inspire a love of reading
- Inform and engage teens
- Reflect the diversity of New York City in terms of race, ethnicity, ability, gender/gender identity, shape, and size
- Encourage independent reading amongst teens for both pleasure and to strengthen and support their education
To be considered, books had to be:
- Published after May 23, 1895 (when The New York Public Library was incorporated)
- Aimed at young adults ages 12-18
- Currently available in NYPL’s collections
“Tasked with creating a list of 125 of the best books available for teens, our goal was to curate a list that reflects the gems that exist in the Young Adult book universe, as well as reveal some which are lesser-known,” said Katrina Ortega, The New York Public Library’s Manager of College and Career Pathways and one of the list curators. “This list covers a wide variety of genres and is created with a wide range of ages in mind, and is designed so that any teen can find themselves reflected in the characters they are reading.”
Ortega highlights the below titles for the breadth and depth they show as part of of the Young Adult genre: giving a true snapshot of the variety of characters, circumstances, and quality of writing that can be found in books written for the teen population:
- American born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
- Americanized: Rebel without a Green Card by Sara Saedi
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
- Blacktop Series by LJ Alonge
- Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes
- March by John Lewis with Andrew Aydin
- Ms Marvel by G. Willow Wilson
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
- Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan
- The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
- This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
All 125 titles on the list are available to borrow for free from The New York Public Library, including in e-book format through the Library’s e-reader app SimplyE (available for iOS and Android). Considering the current climate, the Library invested in extra e-copies of the titles to meet demand.Physical copies of the books are also available to reserve and pick up at one of the 50 New York Public Library locations currently open for limited grab-and-go service (the system serves the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island).
The teen list is the latest way The New York Public Library is celebrating its anniversary, and 125 years of making knowledge, information, and opportunity available to all New Yorkers, regardless of background or circumstance. Since its incorporation on May 23, 1895, the Library has connected all people with the tools they need to be informed, curious members of civic society, and lifelong readers and learners. Today, these tools include books and e-books but also research databases, workshops, job search help, technology training classes, talks with notable authors, and much more.
The Library’s 125th year has been one of its most challenging, with New York City facing unprecedented challenges during a global pandemic. The Library has responded, offering a robust suite of virtual resources, including:
- Digital library cards and over 300,000 e-books (including kids books) to browse, borrow, and read via the e-reader app SimplyE;
- On-demand, 1-on-1 virtual K-12 tutoring in a variety of subjects via Brainfuse;
- Expanded access to research databases and other research tools;
- Educational tools and tips to support families engaged in remote learning (such as on-demand read alouds via BookFlix);
- Suggested reading lists beyond the 125 lists, including Black Liberation Reading Lists for Kids and Young Adults and Essential Reads on Feminism for Kids and Teens
- Virtual storytimes via nypl.org/storytime and through partnerships with Time Out NY Kids and WNET
- A virtual book club in partnership with WNYC and Alison Stewart’s book club Get Lit
About The New York Public Library
For 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library receives approximately 16 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.