10 young adult books worthy of adult readers

Grownups will also find that these nonfiction books aimed at young adults are worth a serious look.

10. ‘Choosing Courage: Inspiring Stories of What It Means to Be a Hero,’ by Peter Collier

The Medal of Honor has been around since the Civil War, when Congress created it and President Lincoln signed the honor into law as a means of recognizing outstanding acts of military courage and sacrifice. Today it is also awarded for civilian heroism, such as actions taken by first responders and rescue workers in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “Choosing Courage,” which is published in collaboration with the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, describes the actions of a handful of recipients from each war Americans have fought in beginning with World War II up to and including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Here’s an excerpt from Choosing Courage:

“Jeremiah Denton was forced by prison guards to be interviewed by a foreign journalist for a propaganda film. He was supposed to denounce the war in Vietnam and say that American servicemen were war criminals. Instead, he shambled into the interview room with a grim look on his face, stared up at the bright camera lights, and began blinking his eyes in a deliberate way. The guards didn’t understand what he was doing, but American officials who later saw the film realized Denton was spelling out T-O-R-T-U-R-E in the dots and dashes of Morse code with his his blinks. It was the first information they had received about what the POWs were facing.”

(Artisan, 226 pp.)

10 of 10

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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