As we continue in our celebration of Black History Month, we equally celebrate the voices creating rich and brilliant Black Futures. Like this short film from The Movement for Black Lives, countless YA authors are sending visions of a future world into the present and into the hearts of young adult readers everywhere. Here are a few recent or forthcoming examples:
Though we champion Black voices all year long, February is Black History Month, and YALSA member Annierra Matthews has pulled together a list to commemorate and elevate this celebration. Annierra is a Research Services Library at Mercer University in Douglasville, Georgia, and has a passion for YA!
For those who prefer to cuddle up with a book, here’s a list of compelling fiction written by Black authors and featuring Black characters.
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
Malik must save his sister from a sinister spirit, and in order to do so, he must kill Crown Princess Karina. Karina, on the other hand, must offer a king’s heart to revive her mother. When Malik and Karina face-off in the Solstasia competition, they contend with falling in love and completing their goal.
Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo; narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo and Melania-Luisa Marte Quill Tree Books Publication Date: May 5, 2020 ISBN: 978-1471409127
Told in two voices, chess champion Yahaira Rios lives in New York City next door to her girlfriend, and Camino Rios lives in the Dominican Republic with her Aunt. Yahaira was upset with her father when he left for his annual summer trip to the D.R., so when his plane crashes, her feelings are more than complicated. Also on the plane was Camino’s father, whom she only gets to see once a year. Though the two girls never met or even knew about each other before the crash, they come to find out that they have a lot in common.
Click here to see all of the current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees along
with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo Quill Tree Books / HarperCollins Publication Date: May 5, 2020 ISBN: 978-0062882769
Camino’s father spends summers with her family in
the Dominican Republic, while Yahaira’s father lives with his family in the
Bronx during the school year. Two places, two families, one father… until one
plane crash and one big secret change everything. After Papi’s death, the girls
discover that he has been living a double life, and find sisters in each other.
Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Simon & Louise by Max de Radiguès Conundrum Press Publication Date: August 6, 2019 (Originally published 2017 in France, Éditions Sarbacane) ISBN: 978-1772620351
Young love is tested in this (translated) French graphic novel told from a “his” and “hers” perspective. Louise is heading to Montpelier for the summer with family, and the day after she leaves Simon receives a break-up text from her. In Simon’s story, he sneaks away from home and hitches a ride to Montpelier to find Louise and win her back. Her story reveals that her decision to break up with Simon was less black and white and more about testing out her feelings and what she wants in relationships.
The clean art style makes it easy for young adult readers to visually follow the plot, and the accompanying text is easy to read and often humorous. The dual narrative makes this story interesting and accessible to teens, who will want to learn more about Louise’s perspective after reading Simon’s story. This is a quick, compelling read that deals with common themes in adolescence. Teens will appreciate the honesty in this book: that figuring out who they are in relation to others isn’t usually easy. Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, October 29 Edition
2019 Printz Winner for The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo’s much anticipated sophomore novel With the Fire On High, is a book about embracing your passions, and charting your future. Emoni Santiago, an Afro-Boricua high school senior has had a gift for cooking since she was young. She and her toddler daughter live with her supportive grandmother, but Emoni needs to decide where she wants to go to school and what she wants to do after graduation. When her school offers a new class, “Culinary Arts: Spain Immersion,” Emoni has a chance to immerse herself in cooking in a way that she can start to see what is possible with her gift.
Foodie readers will swoon over Acevedo’s writing on food and cooking, and it will leave them hungering for more. Here are a few delicious titles about food and cooking to pair With the Fire On High:
Click here to see all of the current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Girls on the Verge by Sharon Biggs Waller Henry Holt & Company / Macmillan Publication Date: April 9, 2019 ISBN: 978-1250151698
This book confronts a controversial topic in a highly readable narrative, while not leaping into preaching or teaching mode. With the Roe v. Wade court decision under attack and more states passing aggressive anti-abortion laws, this book offers up pathways for discussion for teens to think about how they would handle the situation, as well as how they would handle it if a friend finds themselves in the same place as Camille. The emphasis is on friendship and supporting one another, while also tackling the leaps that women have to proceed through to exercise their right to choose what happens to their body.
During the Teen Feedback Session at ALA Midwinter, teens from Seattle and Oregon shared their opinions about the books on the Best Fiction for Young Adults 2019 list. With their input, the BFYA 2019 Blogging team determined the BFYA 2019 Top Ten:
The Best Fiction for Young Adults feedback session is one of the best parts of every ALA conference. Local teens get the opportunity to read books that have been nominated for #BFYA and give their feedback about the titles. It’s always interesting to hear the perspective of real teens, and the group in New Orleans were particularly amazing. They all sounded like professional book reviewers, and I wish there had been time to talk with them at length about the books they enjoyed.
Here are some of the titles the teens particularly liked from this year’s #BFYA nominees list along with a little of their feedback and a link to each title’s nomination post (when available.)
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo Audio Published by Harper Audio Publication Date: March 6, 2018 ISBN: 9780062822499
Xiomara Batista is struggling–in school, where she is getting noticed in a way she never wanted to, ever since her body got curvier; at home, where her parents don’t understand her and her twin brother is growing distant; and at church, where Xiomara’s mother is forcing her to go to confirmation classes even though she’s not sure of her religious beliefs. What does make Xiomara feel seen is a boy in her biology class, Aman, and a teacher, Ms. Galiano, who invites her to join a slam poetry club. But to forge a relationship with Aman and to become a poet requires lying to her mother. And though Xiomara knows that her mother’s rules are hurting her, she doesn’t want to outright hurt her mother in return.