True Narratives and Memoirs


Books About True-Life Adventures

Adamson, Joy.  Born Free. 
The raising of an orphaned lion cub.

Al-Windari, Thura. Thura's Diary.
A young woman in the Middle East writes about her life in wartime Iraq.

Albom, Mitch Tuesdays With Morrie. 
Recounts 14 Tuesdays when sportswriter Albom visits his old teacher who is dying from Lou Gehrig's disease.

Armstrong, Jennifer Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World. 
Story of the ill-fated Endurance expedition to Antarctica which left Shackleton and his crew stranded for more than 2 years.

Bell, Gail. Poison: a History & Family Memoir.
Bell investigates family stories that her grandfather deliberately poisoned two of his sons.

Berendt, JohnMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. 
Voodoo, wealth, power, snobbery, and murder in Savannah, Georgia.

Blum, ArleneAnnapurna. 
The dramatic story of the first woman's ascent of one of the world's highest peaks.

Bragg, RickAll Over But the Shoutin'.  
Story of Bragg's hardscrabble beginnings in a poverty-stricken Alabama home.

Braithwaite, E.R.  To Sir, With Love 
A teacher determined to win his students from delinquency overcomes obstacles of race and class.

Bryson, BillA Walk in the Woods. 
Hilarious story of Bryson's attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail.

Carroll, Jim. Basketball Diaries.
A teen on the gritty New York scene, Carroll played basketball and became a heroin junkie.

Cassie, Dhyan.  So Who's Perfect? 
People with visible differences tell their own stories.

Corrigan, Eireann. You Remind Me of You.
The autobiographical account of a girl's fight with eating disorders. Written in poetry.

Corwin, Jeff. Living on the Edge.
Jeff Corwin travels around the world to encounter the and study animals and their habitats.

Crutcher, Chris. King of the Mild Frontier.
Crutcher writes about his misadventures growing up in Idaho and becoming an author.

Curran, JimK2, Triumph and Tragedy. 
Mountaineering adventures in Pakistan.

Dorris, MichaelThe Broken Cord. 
A moving story of a father's love for his son, afflicted with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Duncan, Lois Who Killed My Daughter? 
Duncan recounts her efforts to find her daughter's killer.

Elder, LaurenAnd I Alone Survived.
Courage and determination enable Lauren to survive a plane crash in the Sierras.

Filipovic, Zlata Zlata's Diary. 
Chronicles her life as a teenager in Sarajevo in the early 1990's.

Gantos, Jack. Hole in My Life.
Arrested as a teen for drug trafficking and using, Gantos served his time and afterwards went to college and became a writer.

Garfield, Linda. I Remember Korea.
Personal accounts of more than thirty men and women who served with the American and Canadian forces in Korea.

Graham, Robin LeeDove. 
The author's five-year journey around the world on a 24-foot sloop, beginning when he was 16.

Harr, JonathanA Civil Action. 
Families take on a court battle against a food company that has been dumping a cancer-causing chemical into the water table.

Hautzig, EstherThe Endless Steppe. 
A family survives five years of hardship after deportation to Siberia.

Hays, DavidMy Old Man and the Sea. 
David and Daniel Hays designed and built a small boat together, then set out to sail it around the tip of South America.  Told in alternating segments written by father and son.

Herriot, JamesAll Things Bright and Beautiful. 
Adventures of an English veterinarian in the Yorkshire countryside.

Hill, Peter. Stargazing.
An art student recounts his experiences as a lighthouse keeper during 1973.

Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki Farewell to Manzanar. 
One family's experience at the Manzanar Japanese internment camp during World War II.

Jackson, Livia Bitton I Have Lived A Thousand Years. 
Ellie recounts her experiences as a thirteen-year-old in concentration camp.

Jenkins, PeterThe Walk West. 
The author and his wife describe their 3-year, 2000-mile walk from New Orleans to Oregon.

Jiang, Ji-liRed Scarf Girl. 
Coming of age under Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution in China.

Joubert, Dereck. Africa Diaries.
Filmmakers document the years they lived in the wilds of Africa.

Junger, SebastianThe Perfect Storm. 
A doomed ship caught in the storm of the century.

Kaufman, BarrySon-Rise. 
Parents who would not give up on their autistic son help him to lead a normal life.

Kaysen, SusannaGirl, Interrupted. 
Kaysen's account of her hospitalization at age 18 for "borderline personality."

Kerr, M.E.  Me Me Me Me Me. 
The popular young adult author remembers her own teen years.

Kotlowitz, AlexThere are No Children Here. 
Ages 9 and 11, Pharoah and Lafayette try to make it in a violence-ridden housing project in Chicago's West Side.

Koul, Sudha. Tiger Ladies.
A woman relates growing up and maturing in Kashmir, a lost Eden, full of the textures, tastes, and magical tales.

Krakauer, Jon.  Into the Wild. 
Why Christopher McCandless traded a bright future for death by starvation in the woods of Alaska.

Krakauer, JonInto Thin Air. 
Firsthand account of deadly Everest expedition in 1996.

Krementz, JillHow it Feels to be Adopted. 
Interviews with adopted children and adoptive families about their experiences.

Lansing, AlfredEndurance. 
Story of the ill-fated Endurance expedition to Antarctica which left Shackleton and his crew stranded for more than 2 years.

Lekuton, Joseph Lemasolai. Facing the Lion.
A member of the Masai people describes his life in northern Kenya, traveled to America to attend college, and became an elementary school teacher in Virginia.

Lobel, Anita.  No Pretty Pictures. 
Memoir of surviving the Holocaust as a child.

Lord, WalterA Night to Remember.
A detailed account of the night the "Titanic," the unsinkable ship, struck an iceberg and went down in the icy waters of the Atlantic.

Mace, Nancy.  In the Company of Men
The first woman to enter the Citadel tells of her determination to graduate despite constant harassment.

MacLean, NormanYoung Men & Fire. 
Rocky Mountain forest fire claims the lives of 13 smoke jumpers.

Mathabane, MarkKaffir Boy. 
The true story of a black youth's coming of age during Apartheid in South Africa.

Mathabane, MarkKaffir Boy in America. 
The author describes the challenges of his first 10 years in America.

Morgan, Robert. Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle.
This memoir of a WWII bomber pilot details 26 missions and tells of love, loss, and war.

Morris, Jeannie Brian Piccolo. 
The short but courageous life of a football hero.

Mowat, FarleyThe Boat Who Wouldn't Float. 
Adventures sailing a leaky schooner in the North Atlantic, with glimpses of Newfoundland life.

Murray, Nina Chandler. Cruise of the Blue Dolphin.
What starts as a rainy-day excursion around Nantucket turns into an ocean voyage that takes this family through the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Myers, Walter Dean. Bad Boy.
Growing up in 1940s Harlem gave this author many opportunities while at the same time presenting obstacles.

Nam, Vicki. Yell-Oh Girls!
Young Asian-American girls tell the stories of their unique challenges of culture, family, body image, and identity.

Nelson, Pete. Left for Dead.
This book recalls the navy cover-up of the sinking of USS Indianapolis and the teen who set the record straight 55 years later.

Ngor, HaingCambodian Odyssey. 
A Phnom Penh physician's experiences from 1975-79 while enslaved in Khmer Rouge work camps.

O'Grady, Scott Basher Five-Two. 
Captain Scott O'Grady's six days in enemy territory after his plane is shot down on a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.

Paulsen, GaryWinterdance. 
Paulsen's grueling 17-day battle in the Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska.

Paulsen, GaryWoodsong. 
Preparing for the Iditarod sled dog race.

Pfetzer, MarkWithin Reach.
Pfetzer's two expeditions to Everest at ages 14 and 15.

Rifa'I, Amal & Odelia Ainbinder. We Just Want to Live Here.
A Palestinian girl and an Israeli girl meet in Switzerland but find little opportunity to continue their friendship when they return a Jerusalem; told in letters.

Robb, Daniel. Crossing the Water.
On a windy, remote island off the coast of Massachusetts, Daniel Robb taught and lived with violent teens who changed his life.

Rodriguez, Luis J.  Always Running. 
Former L.A. gang member describes his experiences in that world.

Steinbeck, John Travels with Charley. 
The author, traveling incognito with his dog Charley, meets a great variety of Americans.

Szymusiak, Molyda The Stones Cry Out. 
A teenage girl is sustained by gentleness and love through a period of chaos and cruelty in her country.

Trope, Zoe. Please Don't Kill the Freshman.
A memoir of the then-fifteen-year-old author's high school experience to that point, in which diary entries reflect her struggles, angst, and rebellion.

Von Trapp, Maria Maria. 
The heroine of "The Sound of Music" tells her life story.

Winchester, SimonThe Professor and the Madman. 
Murray befriends a lunatic and murderer who helps him compile the Oxford English dictionary.

Updated 8/2010

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Updated on 09/01/2015 09:10 AM
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