Celebrating black voices in literature – young adult

If the last few weeks have taught us anything it is that we should be lifting black voices, authors, artists, etc every day of the year, not just when there’s a protest or when it is Black History Month. With that in mind we searched through our online catalogue to find the best in black literature and over the next few weeks we’ll be highlighting different genres from non-fiction to Young Adult.

This week we’ve chosen Young Adult fiction and non-fiction which is at the forefront of the fight for diversity in publishing. Young Adult readers are demanding change and campaigning for publishers to open the doors to diverse voices and we couldn’t be prouder of them.

Kingdom of soulsKingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Rena Barron has created a world rich in mythology and magic with this debut novel. Set in a West African fantasy world full of mystery this is a captivating read and we can’t wait to read the rest of the trilogy.

The story follows Arrah, who was born into a family of powerful witchdoctors and yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval. There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit. She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.

The hate u giveThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement to write this powerful about one young girl’s struggle for justice. This book is captivating and necessary.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

All boys aren't blueAll Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

Covering topics like sexuality, gender identity, toxic masculinity and more, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson’s exploration of his own identity and upbringing through a series of personal essays invites the reader to bear witness to a life lived in the margins.

From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Song below waterA Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

A magical realism story that deals with racism, social justice and our current political climate, A Song Below Water follows siren, Tavia. She’s already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes. But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either. This is a thought provoking story with well-realised and realistically portrayed characters.

This list is only a small selection of the books we have available in our online collection. If you want to read more about black history, antiracism, or you want to find out what other black authors we have then head over to the Cloud Library to find more.

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