As summer begins for libraries everywhere, it marks a time to celebrate and understand Juneteenth. Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19th, marks the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas were first informed of their freedom as a result of Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. Now a national day of observance , it is a perfect time to celebrate and understand Juneteenth with YA titles featuring black voices. Check out some of the Hub’s title selections that spotlight family, identity, and history which are cornerstones of Juneteenth celebrations as noted in thisNew York Times article.
Title Spotlight: Family
Brittney Morris’ The Cost of Knowing is a powerful story of two brothers, Alex and Isaiah, and their experiences as young Black men in America. The story highlights the power of the past, the ability of the future to overwhelm, the strength of familial bonds across generations, and the joy that is possible.
The saga of the Logan family is one that spans across generations of readers. The family’s story by Mildred D. Taylor began with Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry in 1976 and concluded with All the Days Past, All the Days to Come in 2021. Following Cassie Logan and her family, the saga is compelling and showcases how time, history, and the promise of the future can shape a family’s story that leaves an impact on the world.
One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite follows the story of sisters Happi and Genny as they grapple with the death of their sister Kezi under suspicious circumstances after attending a social justice rally. As Happi and Genny go on a road trip using the original Green Book as their guide they rediscover the importance of family and sisterhood with a story interwoven with flashbacks and alternating perspectives.
Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield Macmillan / Wednesday Books Publication Date: May 4, 2021 ISBN: 978-1250622235
When Tilla finds out she and her sister will be spending the summer with their often-absent father in his family home in Jamaica, she is torn. On one hand, she’s angry with him for being gone so much, but on the other, she is excited for a chance to learn about her Jamaican heritage and finally get to spend some time with her dad. Unfortunately, he leaves the girls with family in the rural countryside soon after they arrive, and as a hurricane bears down on the island, Tilla struggles to find solid ground amid a shifting, complex family dynamic.
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.
The Awakening of Malcolm X. By Ilyasah Shabazz and Tiffany D. Jackson. Macmillan/Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers. $17.99 (9780374313296).
While serving a sentence in Charlestown Prison, Malcolm Little is introduced to the teachings of Islam and begins to correspond with Elijah Mohammad. As he struggles to process his anger and his past, he begins to solidify his beliefs and become the man known as Malcolm X.
One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite Inkyard Press / Harlequin Publication Date: January 5, 2021 ISBN: 978-1335145802
Happi is still mourning the loss of her sister, Kezi, who died in police custody after attending a protest. Kezi, who was Black, was “one of the good ones” — a bright student, activist, and educational YouTuber with a dedicated following. Reluctantly, Happi agrees to join her older sister Genny, Kezi’s former girlfriend, and a friend on the graduation road trip Kezi never got to take, using the route Kezi planned on Route 66 based on her passionate research of the Negro Motorist Green Book, the book that helped Black drivers navigate trips through the Jim Crow South.
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.
A Phoenix First Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope edited by Patrice Caldwell Viking Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House Publication Date: March 10, 2020 ISBN: 978-1984835659
Sixteen Black authors running the gamut from very well-known to up-and-coming combine to create a wide-ranging science fiction and fantasy anthology of stories about Black girls. The characters in each story are wildly different from each other, though all are complex and patriarchy-smashing.