What We’re Reading for Black History Month and Beyond

Between the upcoming The Sun Is Also a Star movie, the first YA book by acclaimed author and artist Akwaeke Emezi, a new novel by Angie Thomas, and a stellar lineup of debut authors, 2019 is sure to be another revolutionary year for black authors and stories in YA.

What are you reading for Black History Month and beyond? Here are just a few of the novels we're reading now and can't wait to read in 2019!

Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults)

Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults)

By Bryan Stevenson

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In this young adult adaptation of the acclaimed bestseller Just Mercy, which the New York Timescalls “as compelling as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so," Bryan Stevenson delves deep into the broken U.S. justice system, detailing from his personal experience his many challenges and efforts as a lawyer and social advocate, especially on behalf of America’s most rejected and marginalized people.

Nevertheless, We Persisted

Nevertheless, We Persisted

By In This Together Media

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A powerful collection of essays from actors, activists, athletes, politicians, musicians, writers, and teens, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, actress Alia Shawkat, actor Maulik Pancholy, poet Azure Antoinette, teen activist Gavin Grimm, and many, many more, each writing about a time in their youth when they were held back because of their race, gender, or sexual identity—but persisted.

Odd One Out

Odd One Out

By Nic Stone

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin comes an honest and touching depiction of friendship, first love, and everything in between. Perfect for fans of Love, Simon and What If It’s Us.

Courtney Cooper and Jupiter Sanchez (Coop & Jupe!) have been next-door neighbors and best friends since they were seven-years-old. She’s his partner-in-crime and other half. But lately, Cooper can’t ignore he might want something more than friendship from Jupiter.

When Rae Chin moves to town she can’t believe how lucky she is to find Coop and Jupe. Being the new kid is usually synonymous with pariah, but around these two, she finally feels like she belongs. She’s so grateful she wants to kiss him…and her.

Jupiter has always liked girls. But when Rae starts dating Cooper, Jupe realizes that the only girl she ever really imagined by his side was her.

One story. Three sides. No easy answers.

Full Disclosure

Full Disclosure

By Camryn Garrett

In a community that isn’t always understanding, an HIV-positive teen must navigate fear, disclosure, and radical self-acceptance when she falls in love—and lust—for the first time. Powerful and uplifting, Full Disclosure will speak to fans of Angie Thomas and Nicola Yoon.

Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time… well, last time things got ugly.

Simone’s first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on… .

The Beauty That Remains

The Beauty That Remains

By Ashley Woodfolk

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Told from three diverse points of view, this story of life and love after loss is one Angie Thomas, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hate U Give, believes “will stay with you long after you put it down.”

Autumn always knew exactly who she was: a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan has always turned to writing love songs when his real love life was a little less than perfect.

But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger who’s struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.

Despite the odds, one band’s music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.

Yes She Can

Yes She Can

By Molly Dillon

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“An excellent guide to the how and why of a life of public service.” —Amy Poehler

Return to President Obama’s White House in this anthology for young women by young women, featuring stories from ten inspiring young staffers who joined his administration in their 20s with the hope of making a difference.

Includes a foreword by actress (Grown-Ish) and activist Yara Shahidi! Shahidi is the creator of Eighteen x ‘18, a platform to empower first-time voters.

Pet

Pet

By Akwaeke Emezi

In their riveting and timely young adult debut, acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi asks difficult questions about what choices you can make when the society around you is in denial.

Pet is here to hunt a monster. Are you brave enough to look?

There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question—How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

Girls Who Run the World: 31 CEOs Who Mean Business

Girls Who Run the World: 31 CEOs Who Mean Business

By Bijou Karman

Part biography, part business how-to, and fully empowering, this book is the perfect gift for future entrepenuers! With colorful portraits, fun interviews and DIY tips, Girls Who Run the Worldfeatures the success stories of 30 leading ladies today of companies like Rent the Runway, PopSugar, and Soul Cycle.

Girls run biotech companies.

Girls run online fashion sites.

Girls run environmental enterprises.

They are creative. They are inventive. They mean business.

Girls run the world.

On the Come Up

On the Come Up

By Angie Thomas

This is the highly anticipated second novel by Angie Thomas, the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning The Hate U Give.

Insightful, unflinching, and full of heart, On the Come Up is an ode to hip hop from one of the most influential literary voices of a generation. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; and about how, especially for young black people, freedom of speech isn’t always free.

For Every One

For Every One

By Jason Reynolds

Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the dreamers of the world.

For Every One is just that: for every one. For every one person. For every one dream. But especially for every one kid. The kids who dream of being better than they are. Kids who dream of doing more than they almost dare to dream. Kids who are like Jason Reynolds, a self-professed dreamer.

The Poet X

The Poet X

By Elizabeth Acevedo

National Book Award and Golden Kite Honor Award Winner!

Fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds will fall hard for this astonishing New York Times bestselling novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet, about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth.

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America

By Ibi Zoboi, Tracey Baptiste, Coe Booth, Dhonielle Clayton, Brandy Colbert

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.

Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—because there are countless ways to be Black enough.

Watch Us Rise

Watch Us Rise

By Renée Watson, Ellen Hagan

Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Renée Watson teams up with poet Ellen Hagan in this YA feminist anthem about raising your voice.

Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission--they're sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women's Rights Club. They post their work online--poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine's response to the racial microaggressions she experiences--and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by trolls. When things escalate in real life, the principal shuts the club down. Not willing to be silenced, Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices--and those of other young women--to be heard.

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  1. sierrabroussard

    Great Article!!! I’ve been looking for some good books for black history month.

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    Reply 0 Replies Mar 3, 2019