The best books to teach teens how to love themselves

Why am I passionate about this?

My love of helping others to heal started early. From the garden I started when I was 8-years-old to the baby ducks I found a home for when I was 10, I have always been passionate about nurturing life. I feel deep empathy for the complexities of others’ pain and am compelled to stand against the context of injustice that causes it. Using this keen understanding of why people suffer, my unique and varied training, rooted ethics, and 25 years of trauma-informed clinical experience, I now help the helpers release what they don't want, recover their energetic bandwidth, and grok a socially conscious life of overflowing joy. 


I wrote...

Anxiety...I'm So Done with You: A Teen's Guide to Ditching Toxic Stress and Hardwiring Your Brain for Happiness

By Jodi Aman,

Book cover of Anxiety...I'm So Done with You: A Teen's Guide to Ditching Toxic Stress and Hardwiring Your Brain for Happiness

What is my book about?

If you are done with anxiety running your life and want to end that destructive, toxic relationship, this book is for you. Getting back this control over yourself and your life is teachable. The path is not esoteric and mystical. It is practical. In this book, there are repeatable, doable steps at your fingertips. It shows you how to release fear and confusion that causes anxiety, depression, and self-doubt to free you up to trust yourself. This guide will give you permission and know-how to engage in the joy of adventure, creativity, and purpose in your life.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies

Jodi Aman Why did I love this book?

I love this book because it helps us understand the context for how we feel and what is going on with us from ancestral trauma. Many teens feel like they are crazy or messed up for feeling what they feel when they are having a normal human reaction to a situation. This book will help them see that and guides a way forward in healing it. It also addresses racism in such a helpful and necessary way! 

By Resmaa Menakem,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked My Grandmother's Hands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The body is where our instincts reside and where we fight, flee or freeze and it endures the trauma inflicted by the ills that plague society. In this ground-breaking work, therapist, Menakem, examines the damage caused by racism in America from the perspective of body-centred psychology. He argues this destruction will continue until Americans learn to heal the generational anguish of white supremacy, which is deeply embedded in all American bodies. This collective agony doesn't just affect African Americans. White Americans suffer their own secondary trauma as well. So do blue Americans - the police.

MY GRANDMOTHER'S HANDS is a…


Book cover of Love

Jodi Aman Why did I love this book?

Love is a word that not many of us understand, but Buscaglia explains it so well. When people use the word "love," they express their understanding of love at that moment. There is no universal definition of love. Sometimes teens don’t know if they love themselves because it is not tangible. This book helps them know that they are worthy of that love. Love changed my life when I was in high school. It helped me understand myself and influenced my life purpose: to be kind and in solidarity with people. When I work with teens, they often feel untethered by not having, and not knowing, their purpose. In my book, I teach how important a goal is to feel good about yourself, and setting one is much simpler than you think it is! It helps motivate them to get over their anxiety.

By Leo F. Buscaglia,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Vintage paperback


Book cover of The Hate U Give

Jodi Aman Why did I love this book?

A purpose gets teens out of their heads and engaged in living. It is a key to happiness because that's what our mind, body, and soul crave. 

This is for high school readers! Sometimes lessons come easier in fictional novels. We can learn about people and gain understanding through stories. The Hate U Give is about a teenage girl who is Black. She walks between two worlds, her fancy white school, and her poor neighborhood. When her friend is murdered, readers get a taste, or validation of what it is like to lose someone so close in the most public way. It is a must-read to understand the effects of police violence and the time of viral social media. 

By Angie Thomas,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Hate U Give as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture, starring Amandla Stenberg

No. 1 New York Times bestseller

Winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize * Goodreads Choice Awards Best of the Best * National Book Award Longlist * British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year * Teen Vogue Best YA Book of the Year

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a…


Book cover of Sacred Medicine: A Doctor's Quest to Unravel the Mysteries of Healing

Jodi Aman Why did I love this book?

Rankin is a doctor who is disheartened by allopathic medicine and is looking for the answers to how we heal in this exploration of different and ancient perspectives of gaining wellness. To solve the mental health crisis, we have to solve the physical health crisis because they are connected. Rankin talks about what disease does to the mind and what the mind does to disease, empowering people to take healing into their own hands. This is how we want to raise our kids to think about wellness. In this tell-all, she debunks the myths of healing and explains the unexplainable in a way that engages our agency in our healing process giving us empowered hope.

By Lissa Rankin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sacred Medicine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When it comes to healing from illness and injury, how is it that some people do everything right and stay sick, while others seem to do nothing extraordinary yet fully recover? How does faith healing work-or does it? What's behind the phenomenon of spontaneous remission-and is this something we can influence? Can we make ourselves miracle-prone?

Certain that if she looked hard enough she would find the answers, physician and bestselling author Dr. Lissa Rankin embarked on a decade-long journey to explore these questions and more. The result is Sacred Medicine, both a spiritual adventure story and a discerning guide…


Book cover of Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens

Jodi Aman Why did I love this book?

This is an anthology for teens that explores disability from a fictional lens, so that it entertains as it teaches tolerance and compassion. Each short story’s author lives with a disability and writes about first loves, friendship, hardship, and adventure. Unbroken is for teen readers to step into the shoes of teens with disabilities so that they can understand other experiences besides their own. Understanding differences and recognizing one’s own positionality and privilege helps teen find their own agency, purpose, and empowered hope for the future. 

By Marieke Nijkamp,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Unbroken as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This anthology explores disability in fictional tales told from the viewpoint of disabled characters, written by disabled creators. With stories in various genres about first loves, friendship, war, travel, and more, Unbroken will offer today's teen readers a glimpse into the lives of disabled people in the past, present, and future.

The contributing authors are award winners, bestsellers, and newcomers including Kody Keplinger, Kristine Wyllys, Francisco X. Stork, William Alexander, Corinne Duyvis, Marieke Nijkamp, Dhonielle Clayton, Heidi Heilig, Katherine Locke, Karuna Riazi, Kayla Whaley, Keah Brown, and Fox Benwell. Each author identifies as disabled along a physical, mental, or neurodiverse…


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The Wonder of Jazz: Music that changed the world

By Sammy Stein,

Book cover of The Wonder of Jazz: Music that changed the world

Sammy Stein Author Of Fabulous Female Musicians

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been passionate about music for almost my entire life. Jazz music in particular speaks to me but not just jazz. I love music, full stop. I really discovered jazz when I attended a jazz club workshop in London and there, I had to join in or leave. I chose to join in and since then I have never looked back. I was introduced to more jazz musicians and now write about music for three major columns as well as Readers’ Digest. My Women In Jazz book won several awards. I have been International Editor for the Jazz Journalist Association and had my work commissioned by the Library of Congress. 

Sammy's book list on female musicians

What is my book about?

With input from over 100 musicians, the book discusses what exactly jazz is, and how you know you are listening to it. Do we truly know when and how jazz first originated? Who was the first jazz musician? How does jazz link to other genres? What about women in jazz? And writers and journalists? Do reviews make any difference? 

This book is a deep dive into jazz's history, impact, and future. It discusses jazz's social, cultural, and political influence and reveals areas where jazz has had an impact we may not even realize.Its influences on hip hop, the connection to…

The Wonder of Jazz: Music that changed the world

By Sammy Stein,

What is this book about?

This book is very different from other, more general jazz books. It is packed with information, advice, well researched and includes experiences from jazz musicians who gleefully add their rich voices to Sammy's in-depth research. All genres, from hard bop to be-bop, vocal jazz, must instrumental, free jazz, and everything between is covered in one way or another and given Sammy's forensic eye. There is social commentary and discussions of careers in jazz music. The musical background of those in the book is rich and diverse.
Critics comment:
"This new book by Sammy Stein is a highly individual take on…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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