YA Black History Month

YA Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month by reading young adult books written by contemporary African American 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 Beauty that Remains

Ashley Woodfolk
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Woodfol)

Autumn, Shay, and Logan, whose lives intersect in complicated ways, each lose someone close to them and must work through their grief.

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.

A Blade So Black

L. L. McKinney
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Mckinne)

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. But now she's trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dream realm known as Wonderland. When Alice's mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she's ever gone before.

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.

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.

Dread Nation: Rise Up

Justina Ireland
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Ireland)

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania-derailing the War between the States. When families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a desperate fight against some powerful enemies.

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?


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.

Inventing Victoria

Tonya Bolden
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Bolden)

Essie, a young black woman in 1880s Savannah, is offered the opportunity to leave her shameful past and be transformed into an educated, high-society woman in Washington, D.C.


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.

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.

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

Jason Reynolds
(Juvenile Fiction - J Reynold)

Ten tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings, and weaves them into one funny, poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life.


Walter Dean Myers
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Myers)

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.

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.

On the Come Up

Angie Thomas
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Thomas)

Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill.

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.


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.


Ibi Zoboi
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Zoboi)

Zuri Benitez has pride. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable. When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph

Brandy Colbert
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Colbert)

Dove "Birdie" Randolph works hard to be the perfect daughter and follow the path her parents have laid out for her: She quit playing soccer, she keeps her nose buried in textbooks, and she's on track to finish high school at the top of her class. But then Birdie falls hard for Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past, whom she knows her parents will never approve of.

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.


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.


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.

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.

This is Kind of an Epic Love Story

Kheryn Callender
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Callend)

Nathan Bird doesn't believe in happy endings since his father died and his mom began to unravel. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-tu​r​n​e​d​-​b​e​s​t​-​f​r​i​e​n​d​-​a​g​a​i​n​, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And that someone does come along: Oliver James Hernández, his childhood best friend.

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.

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.

Watch Us Rise

Renee Watson
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Watson)

Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission--they're sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women's Rights Club.

With the Fire on High

Elizabeth Acevedo
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Acevedo)

Teen mother Emoni Santiago struggles with the challenges of finishing high school and her dream of working as a chef.

X: A Novel

Ilyasah Shabazz
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Shabazz)

Co-written by Malcolm X's daughter, this riveting and revealing novel follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world. Malcolm Little's parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that's a pack of lies.