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Black History Month: Titles for Teens

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Commemorate Black History Month with these prominent and emerging Black authors and their Young Adult books. A mix of classics, award winners, and the latest titles that celebrates and honors the black experience through the lens of adolescence.

Myers, Walter Dean
All the right stuff

The summer after his absentee father is killed in a random shooting, Paul volunteers at a Harlem soup kitchen where he listens to lessons about "the social contract" from an elderly African American man, and mentors a seventeen-year-old unwed mother who wants to make it to college on a basketball scholarship.

Atta, Dean.
The black flamingo

Michael is a mixed-race gay teen growing up in London. All his life, he's navigated what it means to be Greek-Cypriot and Jamaican--but never quite feeling Greek or Black enough. As he gets older, Michael's coming out is only the start of learning who he is and where he fits in. When he discovers the Drag Society, he finally finds where he belongs--and the Black Flamingo is born.

Hammonds Reed, Christina.
The Black kids

With the Rodney King riots closing in on high school senior Ashley and her family, the privileged bubble she has enjoyed, protecting her from the difficult realities most black people face, begins to crumble.

Tamani, Liara.
Calling my name

Taja Brown, growing up in a conservative and tightly knit African American family, battles family expectations to discover a sense of self and find her unique voice and purpose.

Adeyemi, Tomi.
Children of blood and bone

Seventeen-year-old Zélie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue princess Amari fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi, but they are ruthlessly pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy.

Stone, Nic.
Dear Martin

Writing letters to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seventeen-year-old college-bound Justyce McAllister struggles to face the reality of race relations today and how they are shaping him.

Gibney, Shannon.
Dream country

2008, Minneapolis. Kollie Flomo, at once too black and not black enough for his African American peers and worn down by the expectations of his own Liberian family and community, turns to violence. 1926, Liberia. Togar Somah, an indigenous Liberian, is on the run from government militias that would force him to work the plantations of the Congo people, descendants of the African American slaves who colonized Liberia almost a century earlier. 1827. The children of Yasmine Wright leave a Virginia plantation with their mother for Liberia, promised freedom by the American Colonization Society. 1980. Ujay and Evelyn dare to believe their love can survive Liberia's approaching revolution. 2018, Minneapolis. A dreamer attempts to weave her family's history into a new future.

Latham, Jennifer.
Dreamland burning

When Rowan finds a skeleton on her family's property, investigating the brutal, century-old murder leads to painful discoveries about the past. Alternating chapters tell the story of William, another teen grappling with the racial firestorm leading up to the 1921 Tulsa race riot, providing some clues to the mystery.

Callender, Kacen.
Felix ever after

Felix Love has never been in love and, yes, he's painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it's like. Felix navigates his complicated feelings, and begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

Slater, Dashka.
The 57 bus

An award-winning book about the true story of two teenagers and the crime that changed their lives.

Baldwin, James
Go tell it on the mountain

 The story of John, a fourteen-year-old boy whose stepfather is a Pentecostal minister in Harlem in 1935, as he struggles to discover his own identity.

Thomas, Angie.
The hate u give

After witnessing her friend's death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter's life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.

Thomas, Angie.
On the come up

When sixteen-year-old Bri, an aspiring rapper, pours her anger and frustration into her first song, she finds herself at the center of a controversy.

Watson, Renée.
Piecing me together/

Tired of being singled out at her mostly-white private school as someone who needs support, high school junior Jade would rather participate in the school's amazing Study Abroad program than join Women to Women, a mentorship program for at-risk girls.

Zoboi, Ibi Aanu.
Pride

After the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri is forced to find common ground with Darius, while struggling with her four wild sisters, a handsome boy vying for her attention, and college applications.

Simone, Francina.
Smash it!

Challenging herself to overcome long-held insecurities at the beginning of her junior year, Liv lands an unexpected role in her high school's hip-hopera production of Othello that helps launch her journey of self-empowerment.

Coles, Jay.
Tyler Johnson was here

When Marvin Johnson's twin brother, Tyler, is shot and killed by a police officer, Marvin must fight injustice to learn the true meaning of freedom.

Raina, Arushi.
When morning comes

Written from the points of view of four young people living in Johannesburg and Soweto in 1976, one white, one South Asian, one a Black student and one a Black gangster, this book explores the roots of the Soweto Riots and the relationships between the races in a South Africa about to explode.

Johnson, Leah
You should see me in a crown

Liz has always done her best to avoid the spotlight in her small, wealthy, and prom-obsessed high school, after all, her family is black and rather poor, especially since her mother died; instead she has concentrated on her grades and her musical ability in the hopes that it will win her a scholarship to elite Pennington College where she plans to study medicine... but when that scholarship falls through she is forced to turn to her school's scholarship for prom king and queen.