Black Girl, Call Home by Jasmine Mans; narrated by Jasmine Mans Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group Publication Date: March 9, 2021 ISBN: 9780593346877
In the poetry collection Black Girl, Call Home, Jasmine Mans writes a love letter to herself and other Black girls and women as they embark on their journeys to find their truth and belonging. Mans explores topics that will appeal to teens including race, sexuality, pop culture, feminism, and mental health. In one prominent poem, a mother argues with her daughter about her interactions with the police. Mans also points a critical lens toward Kanye West and writes in continued support of Black women icons Whitney Houston and Serena Williams.
Home is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo; narrated by Safia Elhillo Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group / Listening Library Publication Date: March 2, 2021 ISBN: 9780593343715
Nima, feeling like an outsider trying to be part of her mother’s culture, misses the father who died before she was born and begins to resent her mother. When her childhood friend Haitham is jumped and hospitalized, Nima turns inward to see who she could have been in her homeland and with a father. Nima discovers something about her father that changes her entire life.
T. S. Eliot famously opened his classic poem “The Waste Land” by proclaiming April “the cruelest month,” and students everywhere might agree when April rolls around and teachers pull out their well-worn poetry unit. April is National Poetry Month, which for poetry lovers means the spotlight shines on their favorites, old and new. We encourage the celebration of poetry year round, but in honor of the 25th anniversary of this special designation, here are 25 new titles, ideas, and resources to mark the occasion.
1. Though she needs no real introduction, we would be remiss if we didn’t start our list with NY Times #1 bestseller Amanda Gorman and her forthcoming collection, which includes her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb.”
2. Invite your teens to participate in the Dear Poet project, where young people get to engage directly with award-winning poets, such as Janice Lobo Sapigao:
Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.
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Admission. By Julie Buxbaum. Read by Julia Whelan. 2020. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Listening Library, $63 (9780593216996).
Chloe, privileged daughter of a beloved celebrity, watches helplessly as her mother is caught up in a college admission scandal benefiting her. Julia Whelan skillfully unpacks the emotions that go with Chloe’s questioning whether her parents believe she is enough.
Amari believes her missing brother is alive. When a mysterious suitcase appears in her closest, she is whisked away to a land of magic. To find her brother, Amari must pass a series of tests in order to enter the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Strong narration supports this fantastical adventure.
Teen Killers Club, by Lily Sparks Crooked Lane / Penguin Random House Publication Date: November 10, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-64385-229-4
Signal Deere was once an ordinary girl, a misfit goth with concerns like where to sit at lunch and when she’d get her first kiss. That all changed the day she was convicted of the gruesome murder of her best friend. She is just getting used to life in prison when she gets an offer that seems too good to be true: if she joins a top-secret program based out of an abandoned summer camp, she won’t have to serve another day of her sentence. For once, she should fit right in — the camp is full of “Class A” killers like her, the most dangerous type of criminal. There’s just one problem: she was framed. She has no idea who actually killed her friend. And, in Teen Killers Club, being innocent makes her prey.
Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. Browne Penguin Random House Audio Publication Date: January 11, 2021 ISBN: 978-0593343777
The protagonist of this novel-in-verse is tired of being overshadowed by her best friend, tired of her sister’s harsh criticisms, and tired of the boys she plays basketball with thinking she’s not good enough to hang with them. She meets a neighborhood boy who she hopes will help her escape her feelings of unworthiness but their relationship leads to more frustration and pain.
Mahogany L. Browne’s poetry background shines through in this gritty and heart-felt coming of age story. The emotional language and vibrant prose connect the reader to Skyy on her journey of self-discovery in an almost stream of consciousness style. Browne’s narration plays with the conversational flow of the text and makes it accessible to even reluctant readers. This is a short listen but one that can be played multiple times with new themes and connections appearing with each listen.
Black Girl Magic: A Poem by Mahogany L. Browne, illustrated by Jess X. Snow Macmillan / Roaring Brook Press Publication Date: January 2, 2018 ISBN: 978-1250173720
This empowering anthem for black girls depicts the journey from girlhood to womanhood. Vibrant illustrations and concise, dynamic text encourages black girls everywhere to embrace their magic and brilliance to bloom and SHINE.