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Librarians Love: Books for Young Black Male Readers

by the Allen County (IN) Public Library
by the Allen County (IN) Public Library
YALSA-bk is a listserv with lively discussions among librarians, educators, and beyond about all things YA lit. Sometimes one listserv member will ask for help finding books around a certain theme or readalikes for a particular title. This post is a compilation of responses for one such request.

The original request
A year ago I asked the group a question about books for black MG and YA boys, especially those who were reluctant readers. The response was Bluford High and Walter Dean Myers, and not much else. In the light of the recent loss of Myers, I wanted to pose the question again. Who do you guys see as the next go to author for books to suck in black male readers? Do you know of any such books you would recommend. I was at a session a few years ago where Matt de la Pena spoke and said a young hispanic male had told him “that’s my life in your book.” Who do you see as the authors who could wring a response like that from today’s (and future) black teens?

Suggested titles

  • Sasquatch in the Paint by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Death of Jayson Porter by Jaime Adoff
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  • He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander
  • How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen
  • Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth
  • Brendan Buckley’s 6th Grade Experiment by Sundee T. Frazier
  • Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything In It by Sundee T. Frazier
  • Nowhere to Run by Claire Griffin
  • The Great Green Heist by Varian Johnson
  • Secret Saturdays by Torrey Maldonado
  • When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds
  • 8th Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
  • Saving Baby Doe by Danette Vigilante
  • Eddie Red Undercover by Marcia Wells
  • Ultimate Comics Spider-Man trade paperback series

Suggested authors

  • Barbara Binns
  • Christopher Paul Curtis
  • G. Neri

Suggested resources

Have more titles you think should belong on these lists? Add them on the YALSA wiki or leave a comment! Looking for more compiled booklists? Check out the YALSA wiki or other booklists here at The Hub.

— Gretchen Kolderup, currently reading The Riverman by Aaron Starmer

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for including Saving Baby Doe! :)

  2. Gretchen,
    Thanks so much for including Nowhere to Run in this list.
    There’s a brand new book trailer on my website for anyone looking to generate interest among their population of reluctant readers!

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