Reel Reading: Non-Fiction

Do you enjoy a good binge fest over books, TV series or films? Join us to talk about all things binge-worthy in our virtual club just for teens.

Reel Reading is a teen-specific book, film and TV club meeting virtually on the fourth Tuesday each month at 7 p.m. via Zoom. This club is for ages 13-18 and each month will have a genre or theme to explore. Register for our next session here.

Teen Street Team member Ashley is our guest blogger for this month, and talks about her favorite parts of non-fiction books:

The recording of history has long been one of the greatest arts ever appreciated, starting from the first record unearthed in Egypt to the footprints that we leave behind now on the Internet. Based in fact instead of fiction, these essential books, movies, and TV shows detail some of the most distinguished people and events to ever grace our planet, but cover the most horrific and unimaginable happenings as well. Reading about real people and the things they’ve done has inspired me to go far beyond where fictional stories could ever have taken me. Suffering, struggle, joy, and love are just some of the emotions conveyed through these documentations of humanity’s best and worst moments. Non-fiction isn’t just limited to biographies; subcategories of non-fiction include guides, academic papers, and news articles — in fact, your history textbook is considered non-fiction as well!

One of the most impactful non-fiction documentaries that I’ve seen is 13th, which explores racial inequality in the American prison system and overall. Angela Davis, Michelle Alexander, and Henry Louis Gates Jr. are just some of the powerful voices included in the cast. The documentary investigates the 13th amendment which abolished slavery in the United States yet allowed for penal, or prison, labor. Director Ava DuVernay goes over how the additional clause was abused by multiple institutions and explores how that potentially led to mass incarceration. Overall, the film was heartbreaking, yet opened my eyes to the deeply ground issues still happening today.

This documentary is just one example of a piece of non-fiction media that offers an invaluable educational experience and an emotional rollercoaster ride. Some other non-fiction pieces that are available at the Plano Public Library and online include:

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankPrint Book and eBook

Night by Elie WieselPrint Book and eBook

Friday Night Lights by H.G. BissingerPrint Book and eBook

Death of Innocence by Mamie Till-Mobley – available to Plano residents through Interlibrary Loan

The Social Dilemma – documentary available through Netflix

The Broken Brain podcast – available online

The Allusionist podcast -available online

The Nature podcast – available online


Want to discuss your favorite non-fiction books, or see one you love but isn’t on this list? Join us for our next Reel Reading meeting at 7 p.m. on March 23 for some fun talks and “Would You Rathers!” Register to join us here. For more Reel Reading recommendations, check out previous blog posts.

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