Antiracist Books for Teens

Antiracist Books for Teens

A list of books to help put current events into perspective, provide a window into another person’s experience, and help confront white privilege. Many items on the list have a digital and physical format.

Compiled by:
Jen H., Fern S., Macklin, Sam O.
YA Fiction
Ain't Burned All the Bright

Jason Reynolds
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Reynold)

A smash up of art and text that viscerally captures what it is to be Black. In America. Right Now.

Akata Witch

Nnedi Okorafor
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Okorafo)

Twelve-year-old Sunny Nwazue, an American-born albino child of Nigerian parents, moves with her family back to Nigeria, where she learns that she has latent magical powers which she and three similarly gifted friends use to catch a serial killer.

All American Boys

Jason Reynolds
(Young Adult Fiction - YA Reynold)

When sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing, classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend. Told through Rashad and Quinn's alternating viewpoints.

Black Boy/White School

Brian F. Walker
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Walker)

When Anthony "Ant" Jones from the ghetto of East Cleveland, Ohio, gets a scholarship to a prep school in Maine, he finds that he must change his image and adapt to a world that never fully accepts him, but when he goes home he discovers that he no longer truly belongs there either.

Black Brother, Black Brother

Jewell Parker Rhodes
(Juvenile Fiction - J Rhodes)

Suspended unjustly from elite Middlefield Prep, Donte Ellison studies fencing with a former champion, hoping to put the racist fencing team captain in his place.

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America
- Ibi Zoboi
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Black)

A collection of short stories explore what it is like to be young and black, and emphasizing that one person's experiences, reality, and personal identity are different than someone else.

The Black Flamingo

Dean Atta
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Atta)

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. When he discovers the Drag Society, he finally finds where he belongs—and the Black Flamingo is born.

Black Girl Unlimited

Echo Brown
(Young Adult Fiction - YA Brown)

Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side of Cleveland, where apartments are small and parents suffer addiction to the white rocks. Yet there is magic everywhere. Every day Echo travels between worlds, attending a rich white school on the West Side. But there are dangers to leaving behind the pace that made you.

Children of Blood and Bone

Tomi Adeyemi
(Young Adult Fiction - Toni Adeyemi)

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.

Concrete Rose

Angie Thomas
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Thomas)

Maverick feels strongly about family ties, making choices he feels necessary to help support his mom while his King father serves time, and leave him literally holding his son in a doctor's waiting room after he gets paternity test results back and his babymomma ghosts.

Felix Ever After

Kacen Callender
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Callender)

Felix Love, a transgender seventeen-year-old, attempts to get revenge by catfishing his anonymous bully, but lands in a quasi-love triangle with his former enemy and his best friend.

Ghost Boys

Jewell Parker Rhodes
(Young Adult Fiction - YA Rhodes)

After seventh-grader Jerome is shot by a white police officer, he observes the aftermath of his death and meets the ghosts of other fallen black boys including historical figure Emmett Till.

I'm Not Dying with You Tonight

Kimberly Latrice Jones
(Young Adult Fiction - YA Jones)

Told from two viewpoints, Atlanta high school seniors Lena and Campbell, one black, one white, must rely on each other to survive after a football rivalry escalates into a riot.


Samira Ahmed
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Ahmed)

A terrifying, futuristic United States where Muslim-Americans are forced into internment camps, and seventeen-year-old Layla Amin must lead a revolution against complicit silence.

Let Me Hear a Rhyme

Tiffany D. Jackson
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Jackson)

Brooklyn, 1998. Biggie Smalls was right: Things done changed. But that doesn't mean that Quadir and Jarrell are cool letting their best friend Steph's music lie forgotten under his bed after he's murdered. With the help of Steph's younger sister Jasmine, they come up with a plan to promote Steph's music under a new rap name: the Architect.

Light It Up

Kekla Magoon
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Magoon)

A girl walks home from school. She's tall for her age. She's wearing her winter coat. Her headphones are in. She never makes it home. In the aftermath, while law enforcement tries to justify the response, one fact remains: a police officer has shot and killed Shea Tatum, an unarmed thirteen-year-old black girl.


Akwaeke Emezi
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Emezi)

There are no monsters anymore. In the city of Lucille, Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. Then Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother's paintings and a drop of Jam's blood. Pet has come to hunt a monster-- and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption's house. How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist? 

The Poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Acevedo)

Ever since her body grew into curves, Xiomara Batista has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. She pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook. When she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she can't stop thinking about performing her poems.

A Song Below Water

Bethany C. Morrow
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Morrow)

Tavia must hide her siren powers. Meanwhile, Effie is fighting her own family struggles, pitted against literal demons from her past. Together, these best friends must navigate through the perils of high school. But, everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice at the worst possible moment.

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Kwame Mbalia
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Mbalia)

Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. When he punches a tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, and he finds himself in the middle of a battle with American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit.

Tyler Johnson Was Here

Jay Coles
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Coles)

When Marvin Johnson's twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. The next day Tyler is missing, and it's up to Marvin to find him. A video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

War Girls

Tochi Onyebuchi
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Onyebuc)

The year is 2172. Climate change and nuclear disasters have rendered much of earth unlivable. Two sisters, Onyii and Ify, dream of more. Their lives have been marked by violence and political unrest. Still, they dream of peace, of hope, of a future together.

Graphic Novels
Artie and the Wolf Moon

Olivia Stephens
(Graphic Novels - GN Stephen Artie And The Wolf Moon)

Thrilled to discover she comes from a line of werewolves, Artie asks her mom to share everything--including the story of Artie's late father. Her mom reluctantly agrees. And to help Artie figure out her wolflike abilities, she recruits some old family friends.

Bitter Root, Volume 1: Family Business

David Walker
(Graphic Novels - GN Bitter Root v. 1)

In the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance is in full swing, and only the Sangerye Family, once known as the greatest monster hunters of all time, can save the world from the supernatural forces threatening to destroy humanity.

Black AF: America's Sweetheart

Kwanza Osajyefo
Graphic Novels - GN Osajyef Black AF Americas Sweetheart

Eli Franklin is a 15-year-old girl living in rural Montana-- and she just happens to be the most powerful person on the planet. In the aftermath of the world learning that only black people have superpowers, Eli makes her debut as the superhero Good Girl, on a mission to help people and quell the fear of empowered blacks.

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Vol. 1

Ta-Nehisi Coates
Graphic Novels - GN Black Panther v. 1 (2016-)

When a superhuman terrorist group calling itself The People sparks a violent uprising, the land famed for its incredible technology and proud warrior traditions will be thrown into turmoil. As suicide bombers terrorize the population, T'Challa struggles to unite his citizens, and a familiar villain steps out of the shadows.

Hot Comb

Ebony Flowers
Graphic Novels - GN Flowers Hot Comb

Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into Black women's lives and coming of age stories as seen across a crowded, ammonia-scented hair salon while ladies gossip and bond over the burn. Realizations about race, class, and the imperfections of identity swirl through Flowers' stories and ads, which are by turns sweet, insightful, and heartbreaking.

I Am Alfonso Jones

Tony Medina
Graphic Novels - GN Medina I Am Alfonso Jones

The ghost of fifteen-year-old Alfonso Jones travels in a New York subway car full of the living and the dead, watching his family and friends fight for justice after he is killed by an off-duty police officer while buying a suit in a Midtown department store.

New Kid

Jerry Craft
Graphic Novels - GN Craft New Kid

After his parents send him to a prestigious private school known for its academics, Jordan Banks finds himself torn between two worlds.

Nubia: Real One

L.L. McKinney
(Graphic Novels - GN Mckinne Nubia Real One)

Nubia has always been a little bit different. As a baby she showcased Amazonian-like strength by pushing over a tree to rescue her neighbor's cat. But despite her having similar abilities, the world has no problem telling her that she's no Wonder Woman.

Run: Book One

John Lewis
(Graphic Novels - GN Run v. 1)

For John Lewis, the Civil Rights Movement as he knew it ended with the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, but his struggle in the following years echo many of the same questions of civil rights and equality that are being asked today. Run tells the story of how John Lewis entered politics, working within the community, and organizing a campaign that has taken him to one of the most important seats in Congress.

The Silence of Our Friends

Mark Long
Graphic Novels - Long Silence Of Our Friends

This semi-autobiographical tale is set in 1967 Texas, against the backdrop of the fight for civil rights. A white family from a notoriously racist neighborhood in the suburbs and a black family from its poorest ward cross Houston's color line, overcoming humiliation, degradation, and violence to win the freedom of five black college students unjustly charged with the murder of a policeman.

They Called Us Enemy

George Takei
Graphic Novels - GN 791.4392 Takei Tak

A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon -- and America itself -- in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love. 

The 57 Bus

Dashka Slater
Adult Nonfiction - 364.1555 Sla

One teenager in a skirt. One teenager with a lighter. One moment that changes both of their lives forever. If it weren't for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment.

All Boys Aren't Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto

George M. Johnson
Adult Nonfiction - 921 Johnson, George

A first book by the prominent journalist and LGBTQ+ activist shares personal essays that chronicle his childhood, adolescence and college years as a Black queer youth, exploring subjects ranging from gender identity and toxic masculinity to structural marginalization and Black joy.

Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates
Adult Nonfiction - 305.896 Coa

For Ta-Nehisi Coates, history has always been personal. At every stage of his life, he's sought in his explorations of history answers to the mysteries that surrounded him--most urgently, why he, and other black people he knew, seemed to live in fear. In [this book], Coates takes readers along on his journey through America's history of race and its contemporary resonances through a series of awakenings.

The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person

Frederick Joseph
(Adult Nonfiction - 305.8 Jos)

Part memoir, part guidebook, this title explores scenarios of interpersonal and institutional struggle to introduce the next generation of white youth to anti-racism.

Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson
Juvenile Nonfiction - J 811.54 Woo

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.

Electric Arches

Eve Ewing
(Adult Nonfiction - 811.6 Ewi)

Blending stark realism with the surreal and fantastic, Eve L. Ewing’s narrative takes us from the streets of 1990s Chicago to an unspecified future, deftly navigating the boundaries of space, time, and reality

I'm a Wild Seed

Sharon Lee De La Cruz
(Graphic Novels - GN Delacru Im A Wild Seed)

In this delightfully compelling full-color graphic memoir, the author shares her process of undoing the effects of a patriarchal, colonial society on her self-image, her sexuality, and her concept of freedom.

Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America

Amy Reed
- Editor
Adult Nonfiction - 305.4209 Our

This collection of twenty-one essays from major YA authors—including award-winning and bestselling writers—touches on a powerful range of topics related to growing up female in today’s America, and the intersection with race, religion, and ethnicity. Sure to inspire hope and solidarity to anyone who reads it, Our Stories, Our Voices belongs on every young woman’s shelf.

Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

Monique W. Morris
Adult Nonfiction - 371.82996 Mor

Black girls represent 16 percent of female students but almost half of all girls with a school-related arrest. The first trade book to tell these untold stories, Pushout exposes a world of confined potential and supports the growing movement to address the policies, practices, and cultural illiteracy that push countless students out of school and into unhealthy, unstable, and often unsafe futures.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

Jason Reynolds
Adult Nonfiction - 305.800973 Rey

A history of racist and antiracist ideas in America, from their roots in Europe until today, adapted from the National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning.

This Book is Anti-Racist

Tiffany Jewell
Series: (Teen Nonfiction - 305.8009 Jew)

This book is written for the young person who doesn't know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life. This book will give them the language and ability to understand racism and a drive to undo it.

Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves

Glory Edim
- Editor
Adult Nonfiction - 810.9896 Wel

An inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl, on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature.