Celebrating Black History
Every February, we celebrate the generations of Black Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society. Explore our collection of books, audiobooks and resources created by Black authors highlighting their culture, stories and achievements.
Read, Watch & Learn
- The Sinclair Park Project
- National Museum of African American History & Culture & Searchable Museum
- Seattle Self-guided Green Book Tour
- The 1619 Project
- Black History in Two Minutes (or so)
Celebrate Black History Month with selections picked by Kitsap Regional Library staff.
Black Voices 2023
African American poetry : 250 years of struggle & song
Across a turbulent history, Black poets created a rich and multifaceted tradition that has been both a reckoning with American realities and an imaginative response to them. One of the great American art forms, African American poetry encompasses many kinds of verse: formal, experimental, vernacular, lyric, and protest. The anthology opens with moving testaments to the power of poetry as a means of self-assertion, as enslaved people voice their passionate resistance to slavery. This volume captures the power and beauty of this diverse tradition and its challenge to American poetry and culture. Here are all the significant movements and currents: the nineteenth-century Francophone poets known as Les Cenelles, the Chicago Renaissance that flourished around Gwendolyn Brooks, the early 1960s Umbra group, and the more recent work of writers affiliated with Cave Canem and the Dark Noise Collective. Here too are poems of singular, hard-to-classify figures: the enslaved potter David Drake, the allusive modernist Melvin B. Tolson, the Cleveland-based experimentalist Russell Atkins. The volume also features biographies of each poet and notes that illuminate cultural references and allusions to historical events. -- adapted from jacket
Bad fat Black girl : notes from a trap feminist
Bowen, Sesali, author.
"Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Sesali Bowen learned early on how to hustle, stay on her toes, and champion other Black women and femmes as she navigated Blackness, queerness, fatness, friendship, poverty, sex work, and self-love. Her love of trap music led her to the top of hip-hop journalism, profiling game-changing artists like Megan Thee Stallion, Lizzo, and Janelle Monae. But despite all the beauty, complexity, and general badassery she saw, Bowen found none of that nuance represented in mainstream feminism. Thus, she coined Trap Feminism, a contemporary framework that interrogates where feminism meets today's hip-hop. Bad Fat Black Girl offers a new, inclusive feminism for the modern world. Weaving together searing personal essay and cultural commentary, Bowen interrogates sexism, fatphobia, and capitalism all within the context of race and hip-hop. In the process, she continues a Black feminist legacy of unmatched sheer determination and creative resilience. Bad bitches: this one's for you"-- Provided by publisher.
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs. Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach. If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself--but first she has to make it there, alive.
The body is not an apology : the power of radical self-love
Taylor, Sonya Renee, author.
"Humans are a varied and divergent bunch with all manner of beliefs, morals, and bodies. Systems of oppression thrive off our inability to make peace with difference and injure the relationship we have with our own bodies. The Body Is Not an Apology offers radical self-love as the balm to heal the wounds inflicted by these violent systems. World-renowned activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor invites us to reconnect with the radical origins of our minds and bodies and celebrate our collective, enduring strength. As we awaken to our own indoctrinated body shame, we feel inspired to awaken others and to interrupt the systems that perpetuate body shame and oppression against all bodies. When we act from this truth on a global scale, we usher in the transformative opportunity of radical self-love, which is the opportunity for a more just, equitable, and compassionate world--for us all. This second edition includes stories from Taylor's travels around the world combating body terrorism and shines a light on the path toward liberation guided by love. In a brand new final chapter, she offers specific tools, actions, and resources for confronting racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia. And she provides a case study showing how radical self-love not only dismantles shame and self-loathing in us but has the power to dismantle entire systems of injustice. Together with the accompanying workbook, Your Body Is Not an Apology, Taylor brings the practice of radical self-love to life." -- Provided by publisher.
By her own design : a novel of Ann Lowe, fashion designer to the social register
Huguley, Piper, author.
"1953, New York City. Less than a week before the society wedding of the year where Jacqueline Bouvier will marry John F. Kennedy, a pipe bursts at Ann Lowe's dress shop and ruins eleven dresses, including the expensive wedding dress, a dress that will be judged by thousands. A Black designer who has fought every step of the way, Ann knows this is only one struggle after a lifetime of them. She and her seamstresses will find the way to re-create the dresses. It may take all day and all night for the next week to accomplish the task, but they will do it. 1918, Tampa. Raised in Jim Crow Alabama, Ann learned the art of sewing from her mother and her grandmother, a former slave, who are the most talented seamstresses in the state. After Ann elopes at twelve with an older man who soon proves himself to be an abusive alcoholic, her dreams of becoming a celebrated designer seem to be put on hold. But then a wealthy Tampa socialite sees Ann's talent and offers her an amazing opportunity--the chance to sew and design clothing for Florida's society elite. Taking her young son in the middle of the night, Ann escapes her husband and embarks on the adventure of a lifetime."--Back cover.
Carrie Mae Weems : kitchen table series
Weems, Carrie Mae, 1953- artist.
"Kitchen Table Series' is the first publication dedicated solely to this early and important body of work by the American artist Carrie Mae Weems. The 20 photographs and 14 text panels that make up the artwork tell a story of one woman's life, as conducted in the intimate setting of her kitchen. -- Publisher's website. *Staff says: "Winner of the National Book Award for Poetry!"*
The catch me if you can : one woman's journey to every country in the world
Nabongo, Jessica, author.
"Celebrated traveler and photographer Jessica Nabongo-the first documented Black woman to visit all 195 countries in the world-shares her journey around the globe with fascinating stories of adventure, culture, travel musts, and human connections"-- Provided by publisher. *Staff says: Enjoy some armchair travel and add to your bucket list!*
Solomon, Rivers, author.
"Yetu holds the memories for her people -- water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners -- who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one -- the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu. Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities -- and discovers a world her people left behind long ago. Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past -- and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they'll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity -- and own who they really are." -- Provided by publisher.
Dinner for one : how cooking in Paris saved me
Dacres, Sutanya, author.
The creator and host of the podcast Dinner for One shares how she rebuilt her life after a painful divorce by beginning to cook dinner for one in her Paris kitchen while learning to date again. *Staff says: While her personal struggles were at times painful to witness, the journey of discovering the joy she found in food, and the community she gained in Paris (Paris!) reminded me that being open to new people can make all the difference.*
The disordered cosmos : a journey into dark matter, spacetime, and dreams deferred
Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda, author.
"Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is one of the leading physicists of her generation, at work on the origins of spacetime at the intersection of particle physics and astrophysics. She is also one of the fewer than one hundred Black women to earn a PhD in physics. In The Disordered Cosmos, Prescod-Weinstein shares with readers her love for physics, from the Standard Model of Particle Physics and what lies beyond it, to the physics of melanin in skin, to the latest theories of dark matter - all with a new spin and rhythm informed by pop culture, hip hop, politics, and Star Trek. Prescod-Weinstein's vision of the cosmos is vibrant, inclusive and buoyantly non-traditional. As she makes clear, what we know about the universe won't be complete until we learn to think beyond the limitations of white-dominated science. Science, like most fields, is set up for men to succeed, and is rife with racism, sexism, and shortsightedness as a result. But as Prescod-Weinstein makes brilliantly clear, we all have a right to know the night sky. By welcoming the insights of those who have been left out for too long, we expand our understanding of the universe and our place in it. The Disordered Cosmos is a vision for a world without prejudice that allows everyone to view the wonders of the universe through the same starry eyes"-- Provided by publisher.
Drunk on love
Guillory, Jasmine, author.
"Margot Noble needs some relief from the stress of running the family winery with her brother. Enter Luke: sexy, charming, and best of all in the too-small world of Napa, a stranger. The chemistry between them is undeniable, and Margot is delighted that she lucked into the perfect one-night stand she'll never have to see again. That is, until the winery's newest hire, Luke, walks in the next morning. Margot is determined to keep things purely professional, but when their every interaction reminds her of the attraction still bubbling between them, it proves to be much more challenging than she expects. Luke Williams had it all, but when he quits his high-salary tech job in Silicon Valley in a blaze of burnout and moves back to Napa to help a friend, he realizes he doesn't want to tell the world--or his mom--why he's now working at a winery. His mom loves bragging about her successful son--how can he admit that the job she's so proud of broke him? Luke has no idea what is next for him, but one thing is certain: he wants more from the incredibly smart and sexy woman he hooked up with--even after he learns she's his new boss. But even if they can find a way to be together that wouldn't be an ethical nightmare, would such a successful woman really want a tech-world dropout?"--Dust jacket flap.
The final revival of Opal & Nev : a novel
Walton, Dawnie, author.
"Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can't imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job--despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar's amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records. In early seventies New York City, just as she's finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal's bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth. Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo's most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything."-- Provided by publisher.
Fortune : how race broke my family and the world--and how to repair it all
Harper, Lisa Sharon, author.
"Drawing on her lifelong journey to know her family's history, a leading Christian activist recovers the beauty of her heritage, exposes the brokenness that race has wrought in America, and casts a vision for collective repair."--Publisher.
The high desert
Spooner, James, author, artist.
"Scene: Apple Valley, California, in the late eighties, a thirsty, miserable desert. Teenage James Spooner hates that he and his mom are back in town after years away. The one silver lining--new school, new you, right? But the few Black kids at school seem to be gangbanging, and the other kids fall on a spectrum of micro-aggressors to future Neo-Nazis. Mixed race, acutely aware of his Blackness, James doesn't know where he fits until he meets Ty, a young Black punk who introduces him to the school outsiders--skaters, unhappy young rebels, caught up in the punk groundswell sweeping the country. A haircut, a few Sex Pistols, Misfits and Black Flag records later: suddenly, James has friends, romantic prospects, and knows the difference between a bass and a guitar. But this desolate landscape hides brutal, building undercurrents: a classmate overdoses, a friend must prove himself to his white supremacist brother and the local Aryan brotherhood through a show of violence. Everything and everyone are set to collide at one of the year's biggest shows in town...Weaving in the Black roots of punk rock and a vivid interlude in the thriving eighties DIY scene in New York's East Village, this is the memoir of a budding punk, artist, and activist."--Book jacket flap.
Homegoing : a novel
Gyasi, Yaa, author.
"Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off to an English colonial, and will live in comfort in the sprawling, palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising half-caste children who will be sent abroad to be educated in England before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the Empire. Her sister, Esi, will be imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle's women's dungeon, and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery. Stretching from the tribal wars of Ghana to slavery and Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the north to the Great Migration to the streets of 20th century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi's has written a modern masterpiece, a novel that moves through histories and geographies and--with outstanding economy and force--captures the troubled spirit of our own nation"-- Provided by publisher.
Homie : poems
Smith, Danez, author.
"Homie is Danez Smith's magnificent anthem about the saving grace of friendship. Rooted in the loss of one of Smith's close friends, this book comes out of the search for joy and intimacy within a nation where both can seem scarce and getting scarcer. In poems of rare power and generosity, Smith acknowledges that in a country overrun by violence, xenophobia, and disparity, and in a body defined by race, queerness, and diagnosis, it can be hard to survive, even harder to remember reasons for living. But then the phone lights up, or a shout comes up to the window, and family--blood and chosen--arrives with just the right food and some redemption. Part friendship diary, part bright elegy, part war cry, Homie is the exuberant new book written for Danez and for Danez's friends and for you and for yours."-- Provided by publisher.
House of whispers. 1, The power divided
Hopkinson, Nalo, writer.
"One of four books expanding Neil Gaiman's acclaimed Sandman Universe. Welcome to the House of Dahomey, the houseboat of Erzulie Freda, where the souls of Voodoo followers go when they sleep but even the fearsome Erzulie is powerless when her dream river turns sour, tossing her house from one realm and into another.. the Dreaming! From her bayou, Erzulie scries upon the mortal realm and sees four human girls open a mysterious and magical journal filled with whispers and rumors that, if they spread, could cause a pandemic unlike any the Earth has seen, with the power to release Shakpana, the loa lord of infectious disease and nephew to Erzulie, who is currently banned from the human plane. Meanwhile, a mysterious infection doctors are calling "Cotard's Delusion" spreads, trapping countless souls in the Dreaming and leaving their physical bodies yearning for death."-- Provided by publisher.
The mamas : what I learned about kids, class, and race from moms not like me
Andrews-Dyer, Helena, author.
"A Washington Post culture writer chronicles the challenges she faces as a Black mother in a mostly white mommy group in a time of gentrification, racial reckoning, and a global pandemic. Helena Andrews-Dyer lives in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C., a picturesque collection of rowhouses near the center of the city that has become increasingly gentrified in the last decade. After having her first child a few years ago, she joined the local motherhood support group-"the Mamas"-and was surprised to find she was one of the only Black mothers. The racial, cultural, and socio-economic differences were made clear almost immediately. Then George Floyd happened. A man was murdered. A man who called out for his mama. And suddenly, the Mamas felt even more different. Though they were alike in some ways-they want their kids to be safe, they think their husbands are lazy, they work too much and they feel guilty about it-Helena realized she had an entirely different set of problems her neighborhood mom friends could never truly understand. In The Mamas, Helena chronicles the particular challenges she faces in a group where a reading list is the first step to solving systemic racism and where she, a Black, professional, Ivy League-educated mom, is overcompensating with every move. And Helena grapples with her own inner tensions like, "Why do I never leave the house with the baby and without my wedding ring?" and "Why did every name we considered for our kids have to pass the résumé test?" Throw in a pandemic and a nationwide movement for social justice and follow Helena as she ultimately tries to answer: "Can white moms and Black moms ever truly be friends, not just mom friends, like really real friends?" With sharp wit and refreshing honesty, The Mamas explores the contradictions and community of motherhood-white and Black and everything-against the backdrop of the rapidly changing world"-- Provided by publisher.
The personal librarian
Benedict, Marie and Victoria Christopher Murray
"A remarkable novel about J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white in order to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict, and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray. In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture in New York City society and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps create a world-class collection. But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle’s complexion isn’t dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white--her complexion is dark because she is African American. The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths she must go to--for the protection of her family and her legacy--to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives."--Publisher.
Punks: New & Selected Poems
"...a generous treasury in seven sections that spans decades and includes previously unpublished and brand new work. With depth and breadth, PUNKS weaves together historic narratives of loss, lust, and love. The many voices that emerge in these poems--from historic Black personalities, both familial and famous, to the poet's friends and lovers in gay bars and bedrooms--form a cast of characters capable of addressing desire, oppression, AIDS, and grief through sorrowful songs that "we sing as hard as we live."--
Cosby, S. A., author.
"A Black father. A white father. Two murdered sons. A quest for vengeance. Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid. The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah's white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss. Derek's father Buddy Lee was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed his father was a criminal. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy. Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys. Provocative and fast-paced, S. A. Cosby's Razorblade Tears is a story of bloody retribution, heartfelt change--and maybe even redemption"--Publisher.
Reading while Black : African American biblical interpretation as an exercise in hope
McCaulley, Esau, author.
Reading Scripture from the perspective of Black church tradition can help us connect with a rich faith history and address the urgent issues of our times. Demonstrating an ongoing conversation between the collective Black experience and the Bible, New Testament scholar Esau McCaulley shares a personal and scholarly testament to the power and hope of Black biblical interpretation. -- Publisher's description.
The secret lives of church ladies
Philyaw, Deesha, author.
"The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church's double standards and their own needs and passions"-- Provided by publisher.
Stories from the tenants downstairs
Fofana, Sidik, author.
"Set in a Harlem high rise, a stunning debut about a tight-knit cast of characters grappling with their own personal challenges while the forces of gentrification threaten to upend life as they know it. Like Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place and Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, Sidik Fofana’s electrifying collection of eight interconnected stories showcases the strengths, struggles, and hopes of one residential community in a powerful storytelling experience. Each short story follows a tenant in the Banneker Homes, a low-income high rise in Harlem where gentrification weighs on everyone’s mind. There is Swan in apartment 6B, whose excitement about his friend’s release from prison jeopardizes the life he’s been trying to lead. Mimi, in apartment 14D, who hustles to raise the child she had with Swan, waitressing at Roscoe’s and doing hair on the side. And Quanneisha B. Miles, a former gymnast with a good education who wishes she could leave Banneker for good, but can’t seem to escape the building’s gravitational pull. We root for these characters and more as they weave in and out of each other’s lives, endeavoring to escape from their pasts and blaze new paths forward for themselves and the people they love. Stories from the Tenants Downstairs brilliantly captures the joy and pain of the human experience and heralds the arrival of a uniquely talented writer."--Publisher.
Take a hint, Dani Brown : a novel
Hibbert, Talia, author.
A young woman agrees to fake-date her friend after a video of him "rescuing" her from their office building goes viral. *Staff says: "Talia deals with chronic pain, anxiety, autism, sexuality and more in a thoughtful, humorous, and authentic way. She makes me laugh and cry and nod my head in understanding."*
Wake : the hidden history of women-led slave revolts
Hall, Rebecca, 1963- author.
"An historical and imaginative tour-de-force, WAKE brings to light for the first time the existence of enslaved black women warriors, whose stories can be traced by carefully scrutinizing historical records; and where the historical record goes silent, WAKE reconstructs the likely past of two female rebels, Adono and Alele, on the slave ship The Unity. WAKE is a graphic novel that offers invaluable insight into the struggle to survive whole as a black woman in today's America; it is a historiography that illuminates both the challenges and the necessity of uncovering the true stories of slavery; and it is an overdue reckoning with slavery in New York City where two of these armed revolts took place. It is, also, a transformative and transporting work of imaginative fiction, bringing to three-dimensional life Adono and Alele and their pasts as women warriors. In so doing, WAKE illustrates the humanity of the enslaved, the reality of their lived experiences, and the complexity of the history that has been, till now, so thoroughly erased"-- Provided by publisher.
We ride upon sticks
Barry, Quan, author.
"From the author of the widely acclaimed She Weeps Each Time You're Born--a new novel, at once comic and moving, set in 1989 Danvers, Massachusetts, where a high school field hockey team discovers that the witchcraft of their Salem forebears may be the key to a winning season. In this tour de female force, the Danvers High School Falcons Varsity is on an unaccountable streak. In chapters dense with '80s iconography--from Heathers to Big Hair--Quan Barry expertly weaves the individual and collective journeys of this enchanted team: the quiet, husky goalie Mel Boucher, who signs her name to a pledge of darkness in a notebook with heartthrob Emilio Estevez on the cover; the top bitch forward, Jen Fiorenza, whose bleached blond "Claw" sees and knows all; the good-girl captain Abby Putnam (a descendant of the famous Salem witness Ann Putnam), who is hesitant to sign her name to the Emilio pact; AJ Johnson, the team's one black player, for whom enchantment brings racial awakening; the untouchably beautiful Girl Cory and her name-twin Boy Cory, who plays this female sport for his own reasons. These "witches" and their teammates are as wily and original as their North of Boston ancestors, flouting society's stale notions of femininity to find their true selves in a celebration of teen girldom in all its glory"-- Provided by publisher.
While justice sleeps : a novel
Abrams, Stacey, author.
"Avery Keene, a brilliant young law clerk for the legendary Justice Howard Wynn, is doing her best to hold her life together--excelling in an arduous job with the court while also dealing with a troubled family. When the shocking news breaks that Justice Wynn--the cantankerous swing vote on many current high-profile cases—has slipped into a coma, Avery’s life turns upside down. She is immediately notified that Justice Wynn has left instructions for her to serve as his legal guardian and power of attorney. Plunged into an explosive role she never anticipated, Avery finds that Justice Wynn had been secretly researching one of the most controversial cases before the court--a proposed merger between an American biotech company and an Indian genetics firm, which promises to unleash breathtaking results in the medical field. She also discovers that Wynn suspected a dangerously related conspiracy that infiltrates the highest power corridors of Washington. As political wrangling ensues in Washington to potentially replace the ailing judge whose life and survival Avery controls, she begins to unravel a carefully constructed, chesslike sequence of clues left behind by Wynn. She comes to see that Wynn had a much more personal stake in the controversial case and realizes his complex puzzle will lead her directly into harm’s way in order to find the truth. While Justice Sleeps is a cunningly crafted, sophisticated novel, layered with myriad twists and a vibrant cast of characters. Drawing on her astute inside knowledge of the court and political landscape, Stacey Abrams shows herself to be not only a force for good in politics and voter fairness but also a major new talent in suspense fiction."--Publisher.
Black Voices for Kids 2023
The door of no return
Alexander, Kwame, author.
11-year-old Kofi Offin dreams of water. Its mysterious, immersive quality. The rich, earthy scent of the current. The clearness, its urgent whisper that beckons with promises and secrets... Kofi has heard the call on the banks of Upper Kwanta, in the village where he lives. He loves these things above all else: his family, the fireside tales of his father's father, a girl named Ama, and, of course, swimming. Some say he moves like a minnow, not just an ordinary boy so he's hoping to finally prove himself in front of Ama and his friends in a swimming contest against his older, stronger cousin. But before this can take place, a festival comes to the villages of Upper and Lower Kwanta and Kofi's brother is chosen to represent Upper Kwanta in the wrestling contest. Encircled by cheering spectators and sounding drums, the two wrestlers from different villages kneel, ready to fight. You are only fine, until you are not. The match is over before it has barely begun, when the unthinkable--a sudden death--occurs... The river does not care how grown you are. As his world turns upside down, Kofi soon ends up in a fight for his life. What happens next will send him on a harrowing journey across land and sea, and away from everything he loves.
Amari and the night brothers
Alston, B. B., author.
"Amari and the Night Brothers. Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good. So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she?s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton--if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real. Now she must compete for a spot against kids who?ve known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can?t seem to escape their intense doubt and scrutiny--especially once her supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed “illegal.” With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she?s an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn?t stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton."--Publisher.
The boy who harnessed the wind
Kamkwamba, William, 1987- author.
In this memoir adapted for young readers, William Kamkwamba describes the drought that struck his tiny village in Malawi, his subsequent interest in science, and his idea to build a windmill. Made out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, William's windmill brought electricity to his home and helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land.
Change sings : a children's anthem
Gorman, Amanda, 1998- author.
"“I can hear change humming, In its loudest, proudest song. I don’t fear change coming, And so I sing along.” In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes--big or small--in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves."--Publisher.
Everything in its place : a story of books and belonging
David-Sax, Pauline, author.
"An inspiring and poetic story about reading, libraries, and overcoming shyness to find community. I gather the books in my arms, and give them a hug. “Welcome back,” I whisper. Nicky is a shy girl who feels most at home in the safe space of her school library, but the library closes for a week and Nicky is forced to face her social anxiety. When she meets a group of unique, diverse, inspiring women at her mother’s diner--members of a women’s motorcycle club--Nicky realizes that being different doesn’t have to mean being alone, and that there’s a place for everyone. Book lovers of all ages will find inspiration in this beautiful love letter to reading--and how words help us find empathy and connections with the world around us."--Publisher.
Stone, Nic, author.
"Shenice Lockwood, captain of the Fulton Firebirds, is hyper-focused when she steps up to the plate. Nothing can stop her from leading her team to the U12 fast-pitch softball regional championship. But life has thrown some curveballs her way. Strike one: As the sole team of all-brown faces, Shenice and the Firebirds have to work twice as hard to prove that Black girls belong at bat. Strike two: Shenice’s focus gets shaken when her great-uncle Jack reveals that a career-ending--and family-name-ruining--crime may have been a setup. Strike three: Broken focus means mistakes on the field. And Shenice’s teammates are beginning to wonder if she’s captain-qualified. It’s up to Shenice to discover the truth about her family’s past--and fast--before secrets take the Firebirds out of the game forever."--Publisher.
Hide and seeker
Hermon, Daka, author.
Something is wrong with twelve-year-old Zee, who has returned after a year's absence; nobody knows where he was or what happened to him, but now he is distracted and violent, freaking out when he sees his friends, Justin, Nia, and Lyric, playing an odd game of hide-and-seek, and talking wildly about some danger that is approaching--and soon his friends are pulled into a shadowy world ruled by a monstrous, shape-shifting Seeker, forced to play a terrifying game of hide-and-seek where they will have to confront their worst nightmares in order to find their way home.
I am every good thing
Barnes, Derrick, author.
"Let's hear it for everything that makes you the amazing, awesome, inspiring kid that you are... Your curiosity and creativity. Your bravery and kindness. Your sense of humor and fun. Your ability to get up again when you get knocked down. Your way of helping others. Yeah--you are all that and more! You are every good thing that makes the world go round. So go ahead and show us your magnificence--all the things that make you, you." -- Jacket.
Morrison, Frank, 1971- author, illustrator.
"Epic has tricks you won't believe. He's the kick flipping, big rail king. When his family moves to a new neighborhood, he can't wait to hit the street with his skateboard. But his old moves don't feel fresh without a crew to see 'em. Epic thinks about giving up his board to fit in, but an encouraging word from his dad helps him see that the trick to making new friends is to always be yourself. Be you...be epic! Award-winning illustrator Frank Morrison offers a heartwarming, dynamic celebration of self-expression, inspired by his own journey through fatherhood."--Publisher.
Last gate of the Emperor
Mbalia, Kwame, author.
"Yared Heywat lives an isolated life in Addis Prime--a hardscrabble city with rundown tech, lots of rules, and not much to do. His worrywart Uncle Moti and bionic lioness Besa are his only family. After years on the move, friendships have been tough to build. Often in trouble for his thrill-seeking antics and wisecracking sense of humor, those same qualities make Yared a star player of the underground augmented reality game, The Hunt for Kaleb's Obelisk. But when a change in the game rules prompts Yared to log in with his real name instead of a moniker, it triggers an attack that rocks the city. In the chaos, Uncle Moti disappears. Suddenly, all the stories Yared's uncle told him as a young boy are coming to life, of empires in the sky and city-razing monsters. And somehow Yared is at the center of them. Together with Besa and the Ibis--a game rival turned reluctant ally--Yared must search for his uncle... along with answers to his place in a forgotten, galaxy-spanning war."--Book jacket flap.
Neal, Trinity, author.
"A dedicated mom puts love into action as she creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter, based on the real-life experience of mother-daughter advocate duo Trinity and DeShanna Neal"-- Provided by publisher. *Staff says: "A family supports their neuro divergent, transgender child's needs and wishes in a respectful and caring way."*
Rhuday-Perkovich, Olugbemisola, author.
Eleven-year-old Bo is used to it being just her and her mom in their cozy New York apartment, but when her mom gets married, Bo must adjust to her new sisters and a music-minded blended family that is much larger, louder, and more complex than she ever imagined.
Star child : a biographical constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler
Zoboi, Ibi Aanu, author.
"Acclaimed novelist Ibi Zoboi illuminates the young life of the visionary storyteller Octavia E. Butler in poems and prose. Born into the Space Race, the Red Scare, and the dawning Civil Rights Movement, Butler experienced an American childhood that shaped her into the groundbreaking science-fiction storyteller whose novels continue to challenge and delight readers fifteen years after her death."--Publisher.
Williams, Alicia, 1970- author.
"Jay’s most favorite things are hanging out with his pals, getting kisses from Grandma, riding in his dad’s cool car, and getting measured by his mom with pencil marks on the wall. But as those height marks inch upward, Grandpa warns Jay about being in too big a group with his friends, Grandma worries others won’t see him as quite so cute now that he’s older, and Dad has to tell Jay how to act if the police ever pull them over. And Jay just wants to be a kid. All Black and Brown kids get The Talk--the talk that could mean the difference between life and death in a racist world. Told in an age-appropriate fashion, with a perfect pause for parents to insert their own discussions with their children to accompany prompting illustrations, The Talk is a gently honest and sensitive starting point for this far-too-necessary conversation, for Black children, Brown children, and for ALL children. Because you can’t make change without knowing what needs changing."--Publisher. *Staff says: A rite of passage for many black families, that’s eye opening and important for all children (and their adults) to recognize and discuss."*
Black Voices for Teens 2023
Inheritance : a visual poem
Acevedo, Elizabeth, author.
"They tell me to “fix” my hair. And by fix, they mean straighten, they mean whiten; but how do you fix this shipwrecked history of hair? In her most famous spoken-word poem, author of the Pura Belpré-winning novel-in-verse The Poet X Elizabeth Acevedo embraces all the complexities of Black hair and Afro-Latinidad--the history, pain, pride, and powerful love of that inheritance. Paired with full-color illustrations by artist Andrea Pippins."--Publisher.
A song of wraiths and ruin
Brown, Roseanne A., author.
For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts his younger sister, Nadia, as payment to enter the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal--kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia's freedom. But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic ... requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition. When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a heart-pounding course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?
Deonn, Tracy, author.
"To discover the truth behind her mother's mysterious death, a teen girl infiltrates a magical secret society claiming to be the descendants of King Arthur and his knights"-- - (Baker & Taylor) *Staff says: "a twist on the Arthurian legends and have a strong, but fallible, black, female lead with a variety of other non-white, non-binary characters. Very well done."*
Emezi, Akwaeke, author.
"After a childhood in foster care, Bitter is thrilled to have been chosen to attend Eucalyptus, a special school where she can focus on her painting surrounded by other creative teens. But outside this haven, the streets are filled with protests against the deep injustices that grip the city of Lucille. Bitter's instinct is to stay safe within the walls of Eucalyptus but her friends aren't willing to settle for a world that's so far away from what they deserve. Pulled between old friendships, her artistic passion, and a new romance, Bitter isn't sure where she belongs--in the studio or in the streets. And if she does find a way to help the revolution while being true to who she is, she must also ask: at what cost?"-- Provided by publisher
Giles, Lamar, 1979- author.
When DJ ParSec (Paris Secord), rising star of the local music scene, is found dead over her turntables, the two girls who found her, Kya (her pre-fame best friend) and Fuse (her current chief groupie) are torn between grief for Paris and hatred for each other--but when the lack of obvious suspects stalls the investigation, and the police seem to lose interest, despite pressure from social media and ParSec's loyal fans, the two girls unite, determined to find out who murdered their friend.
White smoke : a novel
Jackson, Tiffany D., author.
Believing her new home to actually be alive, especially when her brother almost dies, Marigold and her new blended family won't be safe until she brings the truth to light once and for all. - (Baker & Taylor) *Staff says: It's a great haunted house story. Reminds me of the film A Haunting in Connecticut, but a little less scary. It's a page turner!"*
This is my America
Johnson, Kim, 1979- author.
"Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time--her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?"--Publisher.
The Black friend : on being a better white person
Joseph, Frederick (Activist), author.
Frederick Joseph call up race-related anecdotes from his past, explaining why they were hurtful and how he might handle things now. Each chapter features the voice of at least one artist or activist, including Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give; April Reign, creator of #OscarsSoWhite; Jemele Hill, sports journalist and podcast host; and eleven others. Touching on everything from cultural appropriation to power dynamics, "reverse racism" to white privilege, microaggressions to the tragic results of overt racism, this book serves as conversation starter, tool kit, and invaluable window into the life of a former "token Black kid" who now presents himself as the friend many readers need. -- adapted from inside front jacket flap.
LaDelle, Ebony, author.
"Prince Jones is the guy with all the answers--or so it seems. After all, at seventeen, he has his own segment on Detroit’s popular hip-hop show, Love Radio, where he dishes out advice to the brokenhearted. Prince has always dreamed of becoming a DJ and falling in love. But being the main caretaker for his mother, who has multiple sclerosis, and his little brother means his dreams will stay just that and the only romances in his life are the ones he hears about from his listeners. Until he meets Dani Ford. Dani isn’t checking for anybody. She’s focused on her plan: ace senior year, score a scholarship, and move to New York City to become a famous author. But her college essay keeps tripping her up and acknowledging what’s blocking her means dealing with what happened at that party a few months ago. And that’s one thing Dani can’t do. When the romantic DJ meets the ambitious writer, sparks fly. Prince is smitten, but Dani’s not looking to get derailed. She gives Prince just three dates to convince her that he’s worth falling for. Three dates for the love expert to take his own advice, and just maybe change two lives forever."--Publisher.
Nubia. Real one
McKinney, L. L. (Leatrice L.), author.
"Nubia has always been a little bit...different. As a baby she showcased Amazonian-like strength by pushing over a tree to rescue her neighbor's cat. But despite her having similar abilities, the world has no problem telling her that she's no Wonder Woman. And even if she were, they wouldn't want her. Every time she comes to the rescue, she's reminded of how people see her: as a threat. Her moms do their best to keep her safe, but Nubia can't deny the fire within her, even if she's a little awkward about it sometimes. Even if it means people assume the worst. When Nubia's best friend, Quisha, is threatened by a boy who thinks he owns the town, Nubia will risk it all--her safety, her home, and her crush on that cute kid in English class--to become the hero society tells her she isn't."--Amazon.
A song below water
Morrow, Bethany C., author.
In a society determined to keep her under lock and key, Tavia must hide her siren powers. Meanwhile, Effie is fighting her own family struggles, pitted against literal demons from her past. Together, these best friends must navigate through the perils of high school's junior year. But, everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice at the worst possible moment. Soon, nothing in Portland, Oregon, seems safe. To save themselves from drowning, it's only Tavia and Effie's unbreakable sisterhood that proves to be the strongest magic of all.
So many beginnings : a Little Women remix
Morrow, Bethany C., author.
"North Carolina, 1863. As the American Civil War rages on, the Freedpeople's Colony of Roanoke Island is blossoming, a haven for the recently emancipated. Black people have begun building a community of their own, a refuge from the shadow of the "old life." It is where the March family has finally been able to safely put down roots with four young daughters: Meg, a teacher who longs to find love and start a family of her own; Jo, a writer whose words are too powerful to be contained; Beth, a talented seamstress searching for a higher purpose; Amy, a dancer eager to explore life outside her family's home. As the four March sisters come into their own as independent young women, they will face first love, health struggles, heartbreak, and new horizons. But they will face it all together."--Publisher.
Onyebuchi, Tochi, author.
The year is 2172. Climate change and nuclear disasters have rendered much of earth unlivable. Only the lucky ones have escaped to space colonies in the sky. In a war-torn Nigeria, battles are fought using flying, deadly mechs and soldiers are outfitted with bionic limbs and artificial organs meant to protect them from the harsh, radiation-heavy climate. Across the nation, as the years-long civil war wages on, survival becomes the only way of life. Two sisters, Onyii and Ify, dream of more. Their lives have been marked by violence and political unrest. Still, they dream of peace, of hope, of a future together. And they're willing to fight an entire war to get there.
Miles Morales : Spider-man
Reynolds, Jason, author.
"As a student at Brooklyn Visions Academy, Miles Morales knows he's lucky. Not all kids get this opportunity, especially not kids from his neighborhood. With his quirky best friend Ganke, this school year is gonna be a blast. Right? Wrong. Miles has a secret. He's actually Spider-Man. Well not THE Spider-Man but A Spider-Man. Pretty much the only Spider-Man in town now that Peter Parker is gone. Miles is doing his best to save every little old lady but it's getting to be too much. He's got more important stuff to worry about like homework, girls, family, the perfect Halloween costume, and girls. Did we mention girls? Ok well maybe just one girl. But when Miles accidentally discovers a villainous teacher's plan to turn good kids bad, he will need to come to terms with his own destiny as the new SPIDER-MAN" -- provided by publisher.
Kings of B'more
Thomas, R. Eric, author.
"With junior year starting in the fall, Harrison feels like he’s on the precipice of, well, everything. Standardized testing, college, and the terrifying unknowns and looming pressures of adulthood after that--it’s like the future wants to eat him alive. Which is why Harrison is grateful that he and his best friend, Linus, will face these things together. But at the end of a shift at their summer job, Linus invites Harrison to their special spot overlooking the city to deliver devastating news: He’s moving out of state at the end of the week. To keep from completely losing it--and partially inspired by a cheesy movie-night pick by his dad--Harrison plans a send-off à la Ferris Bueller’s Day Off that’s worthy of his favorite person. If they won’t be having all the life-expanding experiences they thought they would, Harrison will squeeze them all into their last day together. They end up on a mini road trip, their first Pride, and a rooftop dance party, all while keeping their respective parents, who track them on a family location app, off their trail. Harrison and Linus make a pact to do all the things--big and small--they’ve been too scared to do. But nothing feels scarier than saying goodbye to someone you love."--Publisher.