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.
After Tupac & D Foster

Jacqueline Woodson
(Young Adult - Y Woodson)

In the New York City borough of Queens in 1996, three girls bond over their shared love of Tupac Shakur's music, as together they try to make sense of the unpredictable world in which they live.

Akata Witch

Nnedi Okorafor
(Young Adult - 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.

Beasts Made of Night

Tochi Onyebuchi
(Young Adult - Y Onyebuc)

After he eats the sin of a royal, Taj, a talented aki, or sin-eater who consumes the guilt of others whose transgressions are exorcised from them by powerful but corrupt Mages, is drawn into a plot to destroy the city, and he must fight to save the princess he loves and his own life.

The Beauty that Remains

Ashley Woodfolk
(Young Adult - 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 - Y Clayton)

In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles control Beauty. The people are born gray, and only with the help of a Belle can they transform and be made beautiful. Camellia Beauregard is a Belle and wants to be the one chosen by the Queen of Orleans. But once she and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. 

Black Boy White School

Brian F. Walker
(Young Adult - Y Walker)

When fourteen-year-old 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 Enough: Stories of Being Black and Young in America
(Young Adult - Y Black)

A collection of 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, reality, and personal identity are different than someone else

A Blade So Black

L. L. McKinney
(Young Adult - 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 dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. When Alice's handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she's ever gone before.

Calling My Name

Liara Tamani
(Young Adult - Y Tamani)

This novel tells a coming-of-age story about Taja Brown, a young African American girl growing up in Houston, Texas, and it deftly and beautifully explores the universal struggles of growing up, battling family expectations, discovering a sense of self, and finding a unique voice and purpose.

Children of Blood and Bone

Tomi Adeyemi
(Young Adult - Y Adeyemi)

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.

Crossing Ebenezer Creek

Tonya Bolden
(Young Adult - Y Bolden)

When Mariah and her young brother Zeke are suddenly freed from slavery, they set out on Sherman's march through Georgia during the Civil War. When she meets Caleb, Mariah soon finds herself dreaming of a new life and true love. As the treacherous march continues toward the churning waters of Ebenezer Creek, Mariah's dreams are as vulnerable as ever.

Dear Martin

Nic Stone
(Young Adult - Y Stone)

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

Dread Nation: Rise Up

Justina Ireland
(Young Adult - 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. Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do, but that's not a life she wants. When families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a desperate fight against some powerful enemies.

Fake ID

Lamar Giles
(Young Adult - Y Giles)

An African-American teen in the Witness Protection Program moves to a new town and finds himself trying to solve a murder mystery when his first friend is found dead.


Sherri L. Smith
(Young Adult - Y Smith)

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

A Girl Named Mister

Nikki Grimes
(Young Adult - Y Grimes)

A pregnant teenager finds support and forgiveness from God through a book of poetry presented from the Virgin Mary's perspective.

Let's Talk About Love

Claire Kann
(Young Adult - Y Kann)

In this young adult novel, Alice, afraid of explaining her asexuality, has given up on finding love until love finds her.

Mare's War

Tanita S Davis
(Young Adult - Y Davis)

Teens Octavia and Tali learn about strength, independence, and courage when they are forced to take a car trip with their grandmother, who tells about growing up Black in 1940s Alabama and serving in Europe during World War II as a member of the Women's Army Corps.

Miles Morales: Spider-Man

Jason Reynolds
(Young Adult - Y Reynold)

Brooklyn Visions Academy student Miles Morales may not always want to be a super hero, but he must come to terms with his identity--and deal with a villainous teacher--as the new Spider Man

Monday's Not Coming

Tiffany D Jackson
(Young Adult - Y Jackson)

When her friend Monday Charles goes missing and Monday's mother refuses to give her a straight answer, Claudia digs into her disappearance.


Walter Dean Myers
(Young Adult - Y Myers)

While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-old 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.

On the Come Up

Angie Thomas
(Young Adult - Y Thomas)

Sixteen-year-old 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.

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.

Piecing Me Together

Renee Watson
(Young Adult - Y Watson)

Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she's ever going to succeed. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school, but some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. And just because Maxine, her college-graduate mentor, is black doesn't mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.

The Poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo
(Young Adult - Y Acevedo)

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. She pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. When she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she can't stop thinking about performing her poems.


Brandy Colbert
(Young Adult - Y Colbert)

Four years after Theo's best friend, Donovan, disappeared at age thirteen, he is found and brought home and Theo puts her health at risk as she decides whether to tell the truth about the abductor, knowing her revelation could end her life-long dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer


Ibi Zoboi
(Young Adult - 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. She especially can't stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding. Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick's changing landscape, or lose it all. 

The Skin I'm In

Sharon Flake
(Young Adult - Y Flake)

Thirteen-year-old 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 - Y Alexand)

Seventeen-year-old 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.


Sarah Moon
(Young Adult - Y Moon)

Fourteen-year-old Sparrow Cooke of Brooklyn has always been the kind of child who prefers reading books to playing with friends (not that she has many of those) and since fifth grade the one person who seemed to understand her was the school librarian--so when Mrs. Wexler was killed in an accident Sparrow's world came apart, and when she was found on the edge of the school roof everyone assumed that it was a suicide attempt, which Sparrow denies, but cannot find the words to explain

The Sun is Also a Star

Nicola Yoon
(Young Adult - Y Yoon)

Natasha is a girl who believes in science and facts. Daniel has always been a good son and good student. But when he sees Natasha he forgets all that and believes there is something extraordinary in store for both of them.

This is Kind of an Epic Love Story

Kheryn Callender
(Young Adult - Y Callend)

Film buff and aspiring screenwriter 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. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily ever after?

Tyler Johnson was Here

Jay Coles
(Young Adult - 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. Mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

X: A Novel

Ilyasah Shabazz
(Young Adult - 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.