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!
Black History Month (BHM) is quite prominent in most Black households across the United States. Founded in 1924 by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of Black leaders, musicians, writers, athletes, etc., are celebrated throughout February. For teens searching for ways to celebrate Black History Month, there are plenty of options: viewing online exhibitions and archives, binging documentaries and films, streaming special programs and recitals, and even supporting black-owned businesses.
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.
Slay by Brittney Morris
Kiera Johnson, 17, is the game developer of SLAY; however, the game isn’t so fun anymore after an argument in the game causes the death of a teen. Suddenly, SLAY receives a bad reputation, being described as anti-white, racist, and violent. Kiera must keep her identity in the game hidden while also own her blackness.
Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
Claudia does everything possible to find her best friend, who has gone missing. What happened to Monday Charles?
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
In this alternative voice novel-in-verse, Camino Rios and Yahaira Rios are impacted by their secretive father’s unexpected death.
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
Gay and bi-racial, Michael doesn’t feel Black enough or Greek enough. When he comes out and learns about Drag Society, he becomes The Black Flamingo, a persona that leads him to find his true identity and belonging.
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
Maverick Carter, 17, sells drugs to provide for his family. When he becomes a teen dad, he’s given an opportunity to do the right thing; however, he realizes that leaving behind his previous life isn’t simple as it seems. Mav has to figure out the meaning of being a man.
Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles
Del accidentally joins a Purity Pledge to be with his crush Kiera. He enlists the help of pledger, Jameer, so that he can get the girl of his dreams. Throughout his scheming, Del is faced with how to think about Kiera’s wishes instead of his own.