Fiction for Teens by Black and African-American Authors
Title: We Could Be Brothers
By: Derrick Barnes
Robeson "Crease" Battlefield gets his nickname from his iron-pressed pants. For Pacino Clapton, pants-and live- are rougher than the asphalt streets where he hangs most days. When the boys meet up in the underworld of Mr. Patt's PSS (Post School Suspension), they're quck to see that clean-and-tidy don't mix with grit. But hey-even opposites can find something in common. And for Crease and Pacino, that "something" is a kid named Tariq, the reason both of them have been forced to take the long walk down the infamous "Bermuda Hallway" to serve time in detention at Alain Locke Junior High. With piercing insight and humor, We Could Be Brothers dellivers an engaging portrayal of urban life and offers a powerful look at how the differences among three boys change them forever.
By: Coe Booth
The acclaimed author of TYRELL and KENDRA returns to PUSH to continue Tyrell's astonishing story.
Tyrell's father is just out of jail, and Tyrell doesn't know how to deal with that. It's bad enough that his brother Troy is in foster care and that his mother is no help whatsoever. Now there's another thing up in his face, just when he's trying to settle down. Tyrell's father has plans of his own, and doesn't seem to care whether or not Tyrell wants to go along with them. Tyrell can see the crash that's coming -- with his dad, with the rest of his family, with the girls he's seeing -- but he's not sure he can stop it. Or if he even wants to.
Title: Bucking the Sarge
By: Christopher Paul Curtis
A New York Times BestsellerA Newbery Award-winning AuthorLuther T. Farrell has got to get out of Flint, Michigan. His mother, aka the Sarge, milked the system to build an empire of slum housing. Luther's just one of the people trapped in the Sarge's Evil Empire - but he's about to bust out.
Title: Copper Sun
By: Sharon Draper
A Time Best YA Book of All Time (2021)
In this "searing work of historical fiction" (Booklist), Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Sharon M. Draper tells the epic story of a young girl torn from her African village, sold into slavery, and stripped of everything she has ever known--except hope.
Amari's life was once perfect. Engaged to the handsomest man in her tribe, adored by her family, and fortunate enough to live in a beautiful village, it never occurred to her that it could all be taken away in an instant. But that was what happened when her village was invaded by slave traders. Her family was brutally murdered as she was dragged away to a slave ship and sent to be sold in the Carolinas. There she was bought by a plantation owner and given to his son as a "birthday present".
Now, survival is all Amari can dream about. As she struggles to hold on to her memories, she also begins to learn English and make friends with a white indentured servant named Molly. When an opportunity to escape presents itself, Amari and Molly seize it, fleeing South to the Spanish colony in Florida at Fort Mose. Along the way, their strength is tested like never before as they struggle against hunger, cold, wild animals, hurricanes, and people eager to turn them in for reward money. The hope of a new life is all that keeps them going, but Florida feels so far away and sometimes Amari wonders how far hopes and dreams can really take her.
Title: The Skin I'm In
By: Sharon Flake
Maleeka suffers every day from the taunts of the other kids in her class. If they're not getting at her about her homemade clothes or her good grades, it's about her dark, black skin. When a new teacher, whose face is blotched with a startling white patch, starts at their school, Maleeka can see there is bound to be trouble for her too. But the new teacher's attitude surprises Maleeka. Miss Saunders loves the skin she's in. Can Maleeka learn to do the same?
Title: Bronx Masquerade
By: Nikki Grimes
When Wesley Boone writes a poem for his high school English class, some of his classmates clamor to read their poems aloud too. Soon they're having weekly poetry sessions and, one by one, the eighteen students are opening up and taking on the risky challenge of self-revelation. There's Lupe Alvarin, desperate to have a baby so she will feel loved. Raynard Patterson, hiding a secret behind his silence. Porscha Johnson, needing an outlet for her anger after her mother OD's. Through the poetry they share and narratives in which they reveal their most intimate thoughts about themselves and one another, their words and lives show what lies beneath the skin, behind the eyes, beyond the masquerade.
Title: The First Part Last
By: Angela Johnson
Bobby's a classic urban teenager. He's restless. He's impulsive. But the thing that makes him different is this: He's going to be a father. His girlfriend, Nia, is pregnant, and their lives are about to change forever. Instead of spending time with friends, they'll be spending time with doctors, and next, diapers. They have options: keeping the baby, adoption. They want to do the right thing.
If only it was clear what the right thing was.
Title: Day of Tears
By: Julius Lester
Since their mother Fanny left, Emma has taken care of the Butler children, Sarah and Frances. She wants to raise them to have good hearts, as a rift in morals has ripped the Butler household apart: Sarah and their mother oppose the inhumanity of slavery while Frances and their father Pierce believe in the Southern lifestyle and treatment of blacks. Now, to pay off mounting gambling debts,
Title: Harlem Hustle
By: Janet McDonald
Hustle's personalHarlem was sorely in need of a renaissance. For him, it was the place where a scared kid named Eric Samson had been ditched by druggy parents and dismissed by frustrated teachers.
Abandoned to the streets to raise himself, Eric Samson knows life won't be easy, beginning with the choices he must make. The fast cash of the streets still tempts him, but the threat of getting locked up - again - is daunting. Maybe Eric's way out is as Harlem Hustle, the rapper he dreams of being. At his side is Manley "Ride" Freeman, surrogate brother and best friend. And Jeannette Simpson, the college-bound "round-the-way" girl he hopes will be more than a friend. But does Eric have the strength to leave the familiar street life behind and the courage to reach for his dream?
In her companion to Brother Hood, Janet McDonald once again captures the rhythms of Harlem in this fast, funny story of a restless teenager who uses the power of words to rise above it all.
By: Sherri L. Smith
All Ida Mae Jones wants to do is fly. Her daddy was a pilot, and years after his death she feels closest to him when she's in the air. But as a young black woman in 1940s Louisiana, she knows the sky is off limits to her, until America enters World War II, and the Army forms the WASP-Women Airforce Service Pilots. Ida has a chance to fulfill her dream if she's willing to use her light skin to pass as a white girl. She wants to fly more than anything, but Ida soon learns that denying one's self and family is a heavy burden, and ultimately it's not what you do but who you are that's most important.
Title: Black Boy White School
By: Brian F. Walker
In a hard-hitting novel about fitting in--or not--Anthony "Ant" Jones gets transported from his East Cleveland hood to an almost all-white prep school and has to figure out where he belongs...before he loses himself entirely. Black Boy White School is a memorable debut that will appeal to fans of Walter Dean Myers and Sherman Alexie.
Anthony has never been outside his rough neighborhood when he receives a scholarship to Belton Academy, an elite prep school in Maine. But at Belton things are far from perfect. Everyone calls him "Tony," assumes he's from Brooklyn, expects him to play basketball, and yet acts shocked when he fights back.
As Anthony tries to adapt to a world that will never fully accept him, he's in for a rude awakening: Home is becoming a place where he no longer belongs.
In debut author Brian F. Walker's honest and dynamic novel about staying true to yourself, Anthony might find a way to survive at Belton, but what will it cost him.