Must-Reads by Authors of Color
Nurturing a love of reading in children and teens is made easy with this list of Young Adult novels and children’s books written by authors of color. Whether you are looking to help the young people in your life connect to their identity or merely share the experiences of Black or POC characters, these are great reads to add to your summer reading list
by Trish Cooke
For the youngest member of an exuberant extended family, Sunday dinner at Grannie’s can be full indeed — full of hugs and kisses, full of tasty dishes, full to the brim with happy faces, and full, full, full of love. With a special focus on the bond between little Jay Jay and his grannie, Trish Cooke introduces us to a gregarious family we are sure to want more, more, more of.
by Vashti Harrison
This beautifully illustrated New York Times bestseller introduces readers of all ages to 40 women who changed the world.
An important book for all ages, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of forty trailblazing black women in American history. Illuminating text paired with irresistible illustrations bring to life both iconic and lesser-known female figures of Black history such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash.
by Jason Reynolds
Recommended by Hilary Waldron, Senior Services Program Manager - "This book follows multiple characters throughout the AIDS crisis in Chicago. The characters are so well written and it is so immersed in Chicago geography that it almost feels like non-fiction. The book helps contextualize the enormity of the AIDS crisis and represents a variety of different experiences of how the crisis affected people. It also highlights how everyday people were willing to step up and provide compassion and care for friends, family, neighbors and even strangers.""
by Celia Perez
There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school—you can’t fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself."
by Irene Cohen-Janca
Inspired by an iconic Norman Rockwell painting and translated from an original French text, this is a story about the day a little girl held her head high and changed the world."
Young Adult Novels
by Octavia E. Butler
This is the story of an apparently young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly unhuman needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion: She is in fact a genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire. Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life, she must at the same time learn who wanted-and still wants-to destroy her and those she cares for and how she can save herself."
by Marjane Satrapi
Here, in one volume: Marjane Satrapi's best-selling, internationally acclaimed graphic memoir.
Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.
by Ben Philippe
William C. Morris YA Debut Award Winner!
A hilarious YA contemporary realistic novel about a witty Black French Canadian teen who moves to Austin, Texas, and experiences the joys, clichés, and awkward humiliations of the American high school experience—including falling in love. Perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon, When Dimple Met Rishi, and John Green. This young adult novel is an excellent choice for accelerated tween readers in grades 7 to 8, especially during homeschooling. It’s a fun way to keep your child entertained and engaged while not in the classroom.
A collection of essays by Black authors
Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today—Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America. A selection of the Schomburg Center's Black Liberation Reading List.
by Alexandra Sheppard
Life as a half-mortal teenager should be epic.
But, for Helen Thomas, it's tragic.
She's just moved in with her dorky dad and self-absorbed older siblings - who happen to be the ancient Greek gods, living incognito in London!
Between keeping her family's true identities secret, trying to impress her new friends, and meeting an actually cute boy, Helen's stress levels are higher than Mount Olympus.
She needs to rein in her chaotic family before they blow their cover AND her chances at a half-normal social life.
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