Books on HIV/AIDS for Teens and Young Adults


Bush, Jenna. (2007). Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope. Programs And Genres.

Based on her work with UNICEF in Latin America and the Caribbean, Jenna Bush has written a powerful and personal nonfiction account of a girl who fights against all odds to survive. Infected with HIV/AIDS at birth, Ana loses both parents to the disease. After suffering abuse at relatives’ homes, she finds a caring center for those living with HIV/AIDS, where she falls in love and eventually gets pregnant. Her child is born without the virus, and at the story’s close, Ana has found a peaceful home where she can plan a new life for herself and her baby.

Ellis, Deborah. (2004). The Heaven Shop. Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

A 13-year year-old Binti lives in a city in Malawi, attends a private church school, and stars in a weekly radio show. After her parents die from AIDS, she and her siblings are taken in by cruel relatives. The young people go through extreme hardship until they finally reunite with their grandmother in a poor rural community.

Ellis, Deborah. (2005). Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk about AIDS.    Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

In the summer of 2003, Deborah Ellis, the award-winning children’s author, traveled to Malawi and Zambia and met with children and teens. The book presents the personal stories of young people whose lives have been touched by HIV/AIDS.

Mhlophe, Gcina. (2006). Ithemba Means Hope. Cape Town: Shuter & Shooter.

The book tells a story about two friends whose lives were affected by HIV/IADS.  Themba becomes more hopeful for his own parents with HIV when he commits to help his neighbour and best friend remember to take her ARVs regularly.

Michael, Jan. (2009). City Boy. Clarion Books.

Set in contemporary Malawi, the story tells about an orphaned boy’s transition from city life to village life. After his mother passes away from “The Disease,” Sam Sangala is sent to stay with relatives in a remote village. Grief, loneliness, and the absence of everything familiar make for a rocky transition to a traditional culture where possessions count for little and everyone is expected to do his or her share.

Stratton, Allan. (2004). Chanda’s Secrets. Annick Press.

Set in modern Africa, this is a story of Chanda, a sixteen year old girl who confronts the realities of HIV/AIDS as well as the corrosive nature of secrets. Although Chanda lives in a world in which illness and death have become commonplace, it is not one in which AIDS can be mentioned. Stratton, who has lived and worked in southern Africa, creates an authentic sense of the poor urban community fighting AIDS.