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.

8. ‘Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall,’ by Anita Silvey

Jane Goodall, who is now in her 80s, is the most recognized living scientist in the Western world, recent polls have shown. Her career studying chimpanzees in the wilds of Africa is legendary, a mission chronicled in a 1971 autobiography that has been the focus of many books and documentaries since then. While there may seem to be no need for yet another book about this scientific giant, Anita Silvey has managed to provide a concise and engaging look at Goodall’s life and work geared toward young readers, but also suitable for adults curious about her legacy and the waymarks of her study of the animals considered most like humans. 

Here’s an excerpt from Untamed:

“Quite naturally, Jane also began to advocate for better treatment of chimps in zoos. Her research on the subject revealed that chimps were often held in cages that resembled prisons – with iron bars, concrete floors, and no socialization with others. So she launched project ChimpanZoo – an attempt to improve zoo conditions by environmental enrichment. The apes needed to be supplied with toys, bedding and nesting materials, fresh tree branches, and artificial termite mounds.

“Having learned what stimulated chimps in the wild, Jane suggested ideal conditions for those in captivity. With project ChimpanZoo, Jane not only wanted to help chimps held in captivity; she also wanted to engage people in thinking about and caring for chimps. So, university professors and students could partner with zoo employees to determine how the behavior of chimps in captivity differed from the actions of those in the wild. These researchers could see how chimpanzee behaviors differed depending on type of enclosure.”

(National Geographic, 96 pp.)

8 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.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.