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.
Nubia: The Real One by L.L. McKinney, Illustrated by Robyn Smith DC Comics Publication Date: February 23, 2021 ISBN: 978-1401296407
Nubia has Amazonian strength, but after using her strength to stop a robbery, she is the one who ends up in handcuffs. Even a superhero is not immune to racist police brutality, and sadly, this is not the first time something like that has happened to her. When her best friend is repeatedly harassed by a white boy who will not take no for an answer and a protest turns deadly, Nubia must decide whether she is going to potentially reveal her secret identity to protect the ones that she loves.
Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These are titles that 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.
Alienated. By Simon Spurrier. Art by Chris Wildgoose. 2020. BOOM! Studios. $19.99 (9781684155279).
Three teenagers named Sam (Samuel, Samantha, and Samir) encounter an alien with incredible powers that bonds to them. But will they use those powers for good or for evil?
Asadora!, v.1. By Naoki Urasawa. VIZ Media / VIZ Signature. $14.99 (9781974717460).
A storm sweeps into Nagoya, and young Asadora—with the help of unlikely friends—must find a way to rescue her family. But there’s more to the storm than just rain and wind as Asa soon discovers.
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.
Becoming Muhammad Ali. By James Patterson and Kwame Alexander.Art by Dawud Anyabwile. 2020. Little, Brown/JIMMY Patterson. $16.99 (9780316498166).
James Patterson and Kwame Alexander tackle the life of Cassius Clay before he became Muhammad Ali in this novel that mixes prose and verse.
Chlorine Sky. By Mahogany L. Browne. Penguin Random House/Crown. $17.99 (9780593176399).
In this novel in verse, Mahogany Browne explores what it’s like to lose a best friend but find yourself.
The Truth Project by Dante Medema Quill Tree Books / Harper Collins Publication Date: October 30, 2020 ISBN: 978-0062954404
High school senior Cordelia has her senior writing project all planned: she’ll take a DNA test just like her sister did, and write about identity and her family history. She also manages to get paired with her childhood crush, Kodiak, on the project. But when her genealogy results come in, Cordelia learns her father is not who she thought — which sends her spiraling as her plan for her senior year completely changes.
This free verse novel has a lot of white space on the page and reads quickly. Poems are short and spaced out. Additional storytelling comes in the form of text messages and emails, adding some variety while keeping things fast-paced. The writing is clear, and the plot is straightforward. The search for identity is a familiar theme with strong emotional appeal to teens, and many teens will relate to Delia’s sense of being out-of-place even among the people who know her best.