YA Black History Month

YA Black History Month

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

Compiled by:
Lizzy S.
Ace of Spades

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Abikely)

At Niveus Private Academy, Devon and Chiamaka are the only students chosen to be Senior Prefects who are also Black, which makes them targets for a series of anonymous texts revealing their secrets to the entire student body.

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.

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 Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

Brandy Colbert
(Adult Nonfiction - 976.686 Col)

The Tulsa Race Massacre is one of the most devastating acts of racial violence in U.S. history. But how did it come to pass? What exactly happened? And why are the events unknown to so many of us today? These are the questions that author Brandy Colbert seeks to answer in this nonfiction account.

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.

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 place that made you.

Charming as a Verb

Ben Philippe
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Philipp)

Henri can charm just about anyone. There is only one person who seems immune to Henri's charms: his "intense" classmate and neighbor Corinne. Soon, what started as a mutual hustle turns into something more surprising than either of them ever bargained for.

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.

The Crossover

Kwame Alexander
(Graphic Novels - GN Alexand Crossover)

13-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.

Early Departures

Justin A. Reynolds
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Reynold)

What if you could bring your best friend back to life—but only for a short time? Jamal's best friend, Q, doesn't know that he died, and that he's about to die again. He doesn't know that Jamal tried to save him. And that the reason they haven't been friends for two years is because Jamal blames Q for the accident that killed his parents. But what if Jamal could have a second chance?

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry

Joya Goffney
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Goffney)

Quinn's journal is where she writes down everything that she doesn't want to admit out loud, or even face. When the journal goes missing and her list of biggest fears is posted online with a challenge to face each of them or else have the entire journal go public, it's time for Quinn to move out of the realm of her mind and into real life.

Fast Pitch

Nic Stone
(Juvenile Fiction - J Stone)

Shenice dreams of leading the Fulton Firebirds to the U12 softball regional championship. But her focus gets shaken when her great-uncle Jack reveals that a career-ending—and family-name-ruining—crime may have been a setup. It's up to Shenice to discover the truth about her family's past.

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.


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 she is.

The Gilded Ones

Namina Forna
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Forna)

Inspired by the culture of West Africa, a feminist fantasy debut traces the experiences of an intuitive girl who is invited to leave her village to join the emperor's army of near-immortal women warriors.

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.


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.

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.

Me (Moth)

Amber McBride
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Mcbride)

Moth, who lost her family in an accident, and Sani, who is battling ongoing depression, take a road trip that has them chasing ghosts and searching for ancestors, which helps them move forward in surprising, powerful, and unforgettable ways.

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.

Not So Pure and Simple

Lamar Giles
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Giles)

High school junior Del Rainey unwittingly joins a Purity Pledge class at church, hoping to get closer to his long-term crush, Kiera.

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.


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.

A Phoenix First Must Burn

Patrice Caldwell
- Editor
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Phoenix)

Black girls—including gender non-conforming individuals—star in this collection of 16 stories of fantasy, science fiction, and magic.

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.

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.

Skin of the Sea

Natasha Bowen
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Bowen)

Transformed by the goddess Yemoja into a Mami Wati, an African mermaid charged with collecting the souls of those who die at sea, Simi goes against the gods to save a living boy, Kola, from drowning.

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 Petrus)

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.

The Taking of Jake Livingston

Ryan Douglass
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Douglas)

When a murderous ghost begins to haunt Jake Livingston, high school soon becomes a different kind of survival game.

Things We Couldn't Say

Jay Coles
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Coles)

The hole in Gio's life takes the shape of his birth mom, who left Gio, his brother, and his father when Gio was nine years old. For eight years, he never heard a word from her, and now, just as he's started to get his life together, she's back.

This Poison Heart

Kalynn Bayron
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Bayron)

Teenaged Briseis, who possesses a supernatural power over plants, including poisonous ones, inherits a dilapidated estate in rural New York and must protect herself and her family from centuries-old secrets that threaten their lives.

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. 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.

When You Were Everything

Ashley Woodfolk
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Woodfol)

It's been 27 days since Cleo and Layla's friendship imploded. Cleo realizes they'll never be besties again, and she wants to erase every memory that tethers her to Layla. But when Cleo is assigned to be Layla's tutor, their turbulent past comes back to haunt them both.

White Smoke

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

Believing her new home to actually be alive, especially when her brother almost dies, Marigold and her new blended family won't be safe until she brings the truth to light once and for all.

Wings of Ebony

J. Elle
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Elle)

Half-god, half-human Rue is snatched from her Houston home and brought to Ghazan, a secret land of gods, by her estranged father. She then must face an evil determined to steal everything from her.

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. But when a scholarship for college falls through, she is forced to turn to her school's scholarship for prom king and queen.