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Diverse YA Books @ SCF Libraries: African American Lit for YA

Recommended books for young adults (13+ years old)

Recommended Young Adult titles* by and about African Americans

Revolution in Our Time: the Black Panther Party's Promise to the People

With passion and precision, Kekla Magoon relays an essential account of the Black Panthers--as militant revolutionaries and as human rights advocates working to defend and protect their community. In this comprehensive, inspiring, and all-too-relevant history of the Black Panther Party, Kekla Magoon introduces readers to the Panthers' community activism, grounded in the concept of self-defense, which taught Black Americans how to protect and support themselves in a country that treated them like second-class citizens.

Blackout

Six critically acclaimed, bestselling, and award-winning authors bring the glowing warmth and electricity of Black teens in love to this charming, hilarious, and heartwarming novel that shines a bright light through the dark. A summer heatwave blankets New York City in darkness. But as the city is thrown into confusion, a different kind of electricity sparks... A first meeting.  Long-time friends.  Bitter exes.  And maybe the beginning of something new. 

Dear Martin

 Justyce McAllister is a good kid, an honor student, and always there to help a friend--but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? 

On the Come Up

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. But it's hard to get your come up when you're labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral . . . for all the wrong reasons. 

Punching the Air

From award-winning, bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five comes a powerful YA novel in verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated. One of the most acclaimed YA novels of the year, this New York Times and USA Today bestseller is a must-read for fans of Jason Reynolds, Walter Dean Myers, and Elizabeth Acevedo.

Black Enough

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. 

The Meet-Cute Project

Mia's friends love rom-coms. Mia hates them. They're silly, contrived, and not at all realistic. Besides, there are more important things to worry about--like how to handle living with her bridezilla sister, Sam, who's never appreciated Mia, and surviving junior year juggling every school club offered and acing all of her classes. So when Mia is tasked with finding a date to her sister's wedding, her options are practically nonexistent.

Black Boy Joy

Black boy joy is... Picking out a fresh first-day-of-school outfit. Saving the universe in an epic intergalactic race. Finding your voice-and your rhymes-during tough times. Flying on your skateboard like nobody's watching. And more! From seventeen acclaimed Black male and non-binary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.

Sunrise over Fallujah

Robin "Birdy" Perry, a new army recruit from Harlem, isn't quite sure why he joined the army, but he's sure where he's headed: Iraq. Birdy and the others in the Civilian Affairs Battalion are supposed to help secure and stabilize the country and successfully interact with the Iraqi people. Officially, the code name for their maneuvers is Operation Iraqi Freedom. But the young men and women in the CA unit have a simpler name for it: WAR

The Hate U Give

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name.

Before the Ever After

For as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone's hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he's as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans. But lately life at ZJ's house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ's mom explains it's because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that--but it doesn't make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name.

Disclaimer

*What does "recommended" mean?

To be included in this page, books have been read and selected by SCF professional librarians, who recommends them for quality, originality, and portrayal of the culture represented.

*What does YA mean?

Books in this guide are intended mainly for teenagers: 13-19 years old. Of course, people of all ages might enjoy them, but the maturity level and themes addressed in these books have special appeal for that age group. 

*Disclaimer:

The books on this list are recommended by librarians and have received major awards or accolades. SCF Collegiate School students in grades 6-10 check out books under the supervision of the CS teachers. SCF Collegiate School students taking college-level classes have free access to these resources.