Celebrate Black Histories & Stories during Black History Month and EVERY month. Check out the smorgasbord of book lists below!
The list below includes Black histories, historical creative writing, graphic novels, and a good chunk of coming-of-age and feel-good stories. Reading and content levels range from middle school to high school.
ALL BOYS AREN'T BLUE by George M. Johnson
In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.
TURNING 15 ON THE ROAD TO FREEDOM: MY STORY OF THE 1965 SELMA VOTING RIGHTS MARCH
A 50th-anniversary tribute shares the story of the youngest person to complete the momentous Selma to Montgomery March, describing her frequent imprisonments for her participation in nonviolent demonstrations and how she felt about her involvement in historic Civil Rights events.
THIS IS MY AMERICA by Kim Johnson
Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time--her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy's older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a "thug" on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town's racist history that still haunt the present?
THE SUMMER OF EVERYTHING by Julian Winters
Wes Hudson, an avid comic book geek, excels at two things: slacking off and pining after his best friend, Nico. Advice from his friends, '90s alt-rock songs, and online dating articles aren't helping much with his secret crush. And his dream job at Once Upon a Page, the local indie bookstore, is threatened when a coffee shop franchise wants to buy the property. To top it off, his family won't stop pestering him about picking a college major. When all three problems converge, Wes must face the one thing he's been avoiding -- adulthood.
RAYBEARER by Jordan Ifueko
Nothing is more important than loyalty. But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy? Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?
PUNCHING THE AIR by Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam
Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, because of a biased system he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated. Then, one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white.
MY SENECA VILLAGE by Marilyn Nelson
One of America's most honored writers--a Newbery Honor medalist, Coretta Scott King Medalist, and a three-time National Book Award finalist--draws upon history, and her astonishing imagination, to revive the long lost community of Seneca Village, which was destroyed to make way for Central Park.
LET ME HEAR A RHYME by Tiffany D. Jackson
Three Brooklyn teens plot to turn their murdered friend into a major rap star by pretending he's still alive.
KINDRED: A GRAPHIC NOVEL ADAPTATION
Dana, a young black woman, is suddenly and inexplicably transported from her home in 1970s California to the pre–Civil War South. As she time-travels between worlds, one in which she is a free woman and one where she is part of her own complicated familial history on a southern plantation, she becomes frighteningly entangled in the lives of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of Dana’s own ancestors, and the many people who are enslaved by him.
HAPPILY EVER AFTERS by Elise Bryant
Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She's rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. The only place she's a true leading lady is in her own writing--in the swoony love stories she shares only with Caroline, her best friend and #1 devoted reader. When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she's excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just ... gone. Fortunately, Caroline has a solution: Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own. And she's ready with a list of romance novel-inspired steps to a happily ever after. Nico, the brooding artist who looks like he walked out of one of Tessa's stories, is cast as the perfect Prince Charming. But as Tessa checks each item off Caroline's list, she gets further and further away from herself. She risks losing everything she cares about--including the surprising bond she develops with sweet Sam, who lives across the street. She's well on her way to having her own real-life love story, but is it the one she wants, after all?
GROWN: A NOVEL by Tiffany D. Jackson
When Enchanted Jones wakes with Korey Fields blood on her hands, she has no idea what has happened. Korey was to be her ticket to stardom, however behind Korey's luxurious lifestyle is a dark, controlling nature and now all signs point to Enchanted as his murderer.
FORTUNE'S BONES: THE MANUMISSION REQUIEM by Marilyn Nelson
There is a skeleton on display in the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, CT. It has been in the town for over 200 years. Over time, the bones became the subject of stories and speculation in Waterbury; in 1996, the bones were discovered to be those of a slave named Fortune who had been owned by a local doctor. Merilyn Nelson wrote The Manumission Requiem to commemorate Fortune's life. Detailed notes and archival photographs enhance the reader's appreciation of the poem.
FLYGIRL by Sherri L. Smith
All Ida Mae Jones wants to do is fly. Her daddy was a pilot, and years after his death she feels closest to him when she's in the air. But as a young black woman in 1940s Louisiana, she knows the sky is off limits to her, until America enters World War II, and the Army forms the WASP-Women Airforce Service Pilots. Ida has a chance to fulfill her dream if she's willing to use her light skin to pass as a white girl. She wants to fly more than anything, but Ida soon learns that denying one's self and family is a heavy burden, and ultimately it's not what you do but who you are that's most important.
BLACK ENOUGH: STORIES OF BEING YOUNG & BLACK IN AMERICA
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.
AMERICAN ACE by Marilyn Nelson
Sixteen-year-old Connor tries to help his severely depressed father, who learned upon his mother's death that Nonno was not his biological father, by doing research that reveals Dad's father was probably a Tuskegee Airman.
VOTES OF CONFIDENCE: A YOUNG PERSON'S GUIDE TO AMERICAN ELECTIONS
Every four years, coverage of the presidential elections turns into a horse-race story about who is leading, and who said what then. Fleischer explains the past, present, and future of American elections; how the election process actually works and why it matters; and how young people can become involved -- not just this year, but for years to come.