YA Black History Month

YA Black History Month

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Celebrate Black History Month by reading young adult books written by contemporary Black YA authors!


Compiled by:
Lizzy S.
Akata Witch

Nnedi Okorafor
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Okorafo)

Sunny Nwazue, an American-born albino child, moves with her family back to Nigeria, where she learns that she has magical powers which she uses to catch a killer.


The Awakening of Malcolm X

Ilyasah Shabazz, Tiffany D Jackson
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Shabazz)

While in Charlestown Prison in the 1940s, young Malcolm Little reads all the books in the library, joins the debate team and the Nation of Islam, and emerges as Malcolm X.


The Belles

Dhonielle Clayton
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Clayton)

In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles control Beauty. Camellia Beauregard is a Belle and wants to be the one chosen by the Queen of Orleans. It becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. 


Between the Lines

Nikki Grimes
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Grimes)

Darrian dreams of writing for the New York Times. To hone his skills, he enrolls in Mr. Ward’s class, known for its open-mic poetry readings and poetry slams. Everyone in class has something important to say, and in sharing, they learn that they all face challenges and have a story to tell.


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.


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

These short stories explore what it is like to be young and black, centering on the experiences of black teenagers and emphasizing that one person's experiences are different from another.


The Black Flamingo

Dean Atta
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Atta)

A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen - then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo.


Black Girl Unlimited

Echo Brown
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Brown)

Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side of Cleveland and 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 - Y 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.


Clap When You Land

Elizabeth Acevedo
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Acevedo)

Separated by distance, Camino and Yahaira are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they've lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.


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 father, King, serves time. Now the child he's raising is impacting the lives of his family and his girlfriend, and the gang life he led to support them all financially could leave them all bearing his responsibilities.


Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

Maika Moulite, Maritza Moulite
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Moulite)

After an incident at school, Alaine is spending spring break in a "volunteer immersion project" under the watchful eyes of Tati Estelle and her eagle-eyed mother in Haiti.


Felix Ever After

Kacen Callender
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Callend)

Felix Love has never been in love, painful irony that it is. He desperately wants to know why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. He is proud of his identity, but fears that he's one marginalization too many-- Black, queer, and transgender. When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages-- after publicly posting Felix's deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned-- Felix comes up with a plan for revenge.


The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

Ben Philippe
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Philipp)

When Norris, a Black French Canadian, starts his junior year at an Austin, Texas, high school, he views his fellow students as clichés from "a bad 90s teen movie." When Norris screws up on prom night, will he be able to stop hiding behind his snarky opinions, and start living his life?


Flygirl

Sherri L. Smith
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Smith)

During World War II, a light-skinned African American girl "passes" for white in order to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots.


Genesis Begins Again

Alicia Williams
(Juvenile Fiction - J William)

Genesis tries again and again to lighten her black skin, thinking it is the root of her family's troubles, before discovering reasons to love herself as is.


The Good Luck Girls

Charlotte Nicole Davis
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Davis)

In an alternate wild West, five girls escape from the welcome house that owns them and embark on a dangerous journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge.


If it Makes You Happy

Claire Kann
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Kann)

When Winnie is crowned Summer Queen in the small town of Misty Haven, she has to balance her new responsibilities with her friendships, a new romance, and her job at her granny's diner.


Jackpot

Nic Stone
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Stone)

When Rico sells a jackpot-winning lotto ticket, she thinks maybe her luck will finally change, but only if she and her popular and wildly rich classmate, Zan can find the ticket holder who hasn't claimed the prize.


Kingdom of Souls

Rena Barron
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Barron)

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own, but each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers. She uncovers that the long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring, and if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees.


Legendborn

Tracy Deonn
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Deonn)

To discover the truth behind her mother's mysterious death, a teen girl infiltrates a magical secret society claiming to be the descendants of King Arthur and his knights.


Let Me Hear a Rhyme

Tiffany D Jackson
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Jackson)

Three Brooklyn teens plot to turn their murdered friend into a major rap star by pretending he's still alive. Soon, everyone wants a piece of him. When his demo catches the attention of a hotheaded music label rep, the trio must prove Steph's talent from beyond the grave.


Love is a Revolution

Renée Watson
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Watson)

Harlem teenager Nala is looking forward to a summer of movies and ice cream until she falls in love with the very woke Tye and pretends to be a social activist.


Monster: A Graphic Novel

Walter Dean Myers
(Graphic Novels - GN Myers Monster)

While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.


Nubia: Real One

L. L. McKinney
(Graphic Novels - GN Nubia)

Nubia has always stood out because of her Amazonian strength, but even though she uses her ability for good she is seen as a threat, so when her best friend Quisha is threatened by a boy who thinks he owns the town, Nubia risks everything to become the hero society tells her she is not.


Opposite of Always

Justin A Reynolds
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Reynold)

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. But then Kate dies, yet her death sends Jack back to the moment they first meet, and Kate’s alive. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind but, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it.


Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA authors get real about injustice, empowerment, & growing up female in America
(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.


Pet
Pet

Akwaeke Emezi
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Emezi)

In a near-future society that claims to have gotten rid of all monstrous people, a creature emerges from a painting Jam's mother created.


Punching the Air

Ibi Zoboi, Yusef Salaam
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Zoboi)

With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth, in a system designed to strip him of both.


Saving Savannah

Tonya Bolden
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Bolden)

Savannah Riddle feels suffocated by her life as the daughter of an upper class African American family in Washington, D.C., until she meets a working-class girl named Nell who introduces her to the suffragette and socialist movements and to her politically active cousin Lloyd.


The Skin I'm In

Sharon Flake
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Flake)

Maleeka, uncomfortable because her skin is extremely dark, meets a new teacher with a birthmark on her face and makes some discoveries about how to love who she is and what she looks like.


Solo

Kwame Alexander
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Alexand)

Blade endeavors to resolve painful issues from his past and navigate the challenges of his former rock star father's addictions, scathing tabloid rumors, and a protected secret that threatens his own identity.


Spin

Lamar Giles
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Giles)

When DJ ParSec, rising star of the local music scene, is found dead over her turntables, the two girls who found her, Kya (her pre-fame best friend) and Fuse (her current chief groupie) are torn between grief for Paris and hatred for each other--but the two girls unite, determined to find out who murdered their friend.


Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

Jason Reynolds
(Adult Nonfiction - 305.8009 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.


The Stars and the Blackness Between Them

Junauda Petrus
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Peters)

Told in two voices, Audre and Mabel, both young women of color from different backgrounds, fall in love and figure out how to care for each other as one of them faces a fatal illness.


Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Kwame Mbalia
(Juvenile Fiction - J Mbalia)

Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left is the journal his friend wrote stories in. A creature shows up and steals the journal, Tristan chases after it, when it tries to get it away from the creature, he punches a tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place, and he finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left black American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted.


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. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid. When Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer.


The Voting Booth

Brandy Colbert
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Colbert)

When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted. And that's how their whirlwind day begins, rushing from precinct to precinct, cutting school, trying to do one simple thing: vote. Soon it's clear that there is more to their connection than a shared mission for democracy.


War Girls

Tochi Onyebuchi
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Onyebuc)

Climate change and nuclear disasters have rendered much of earth unlivable, only the lucky ones have escaped to space colonies in the sky. In a war-torn Nigeria, two sisters, Onyii and Ify, dream of peace, of hope, of a future together. And they're willing to fight an entire war to get there.


When You Were Everything

Ashley Woodfolk
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Woodfol)

It's been twenty-seven days since Cleo and Layla's friendship imploded. Cleo realizes they'll never be besties again., and she wants to erase every memory, good or bad, that tethers her to her ex-best friend. But when Cleo is assigned to be Layla's tutor, their turbulent past comes back to haunt them both.


You Should See Me in a Crown

Leah Johnson
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Johnson)

Liz Lighty has always done her best to avoid the spotlight in her small, wealthy, and prom-obsessed midwestern high school. 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, but when that scholarship falls through she is forced to turn to her school's scholarship for prom king and queen, which plunges her into the gauntlet of social media and leads her to discoveries about her own identity and the value of true friendships.