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African American Voices
The books below are found as print books in our SHS Learning Commons, on MackinVIA, and in Libby, the digital platform of the Scott County Library.
Akata Witch by
Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she's albino. She's a terrific athlete, but can't go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a \"free agent\" with latent magical power. Soon she's part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?
All the Things We Never Knew by
When they meet for the first time at a high school basketball tournament, Carli and Rex have an immediate connection. While Rex is ESPN's high school basketball player of the year, Carli wants to quit basketball. As the two draw closer, family secrets, basketball, and disappointments complicate their budding romance.
American Street by
Fabiola Toussaint and her mother are headed for American Street and Joy Road, finally leaving Haiti for the good life in the U.S. After leaving Port-au-Prince, however, Fabiola's mother is detained by immigration officials. Now Fabiola has to navigate life in loud, gritty, new, and surprising America by herself, leading her to an impossible choice and the possibility of paying a heavy price to achieve the American dream.
After the Shot Drops by
Told from alternating perspectives, Bunny takes a basketball scholarship to an elite private school to help his family, leaving behind Nasir, his best friend, in their tough Philadelphia neighborhood.
All American Boys by
When sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing, classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend.
Anger Is a Gift by
Sixteen-year-old gay African-American student Moss Jeffries feels stuck in his run-down West Oakland High School. Still mourning the death of his father, shot by police years earlier, a violent incident at his school prompts Moss to channel his simmering anger into community activism against a corrupt authority system.
The Black Kids by
With the Rodney King riots closing in on high school senior Ashley and her family, the privileged bubble she has enjoyed, protecting her from the difficult realities most black people face, begins to crumble.
The Black Flamingo by
Michael Angeli, a mixed-race gay teen living in London, tells his story in lyrical verse, describing his struggles with self-acceptance and identity as he grows up without a father. When he moves away from home to attend university, he discovers the drag community, where he finally finds acceptance and a new persona as the Black Flamingo.
Black Girl Unlimited by
A black teenager named Echo believes she is a wizard and uses her magical abilities to cope and rise up out of her crime-infested and poverty-stricken east Cleveland neighborhood, and reach beyond her dysfunctional family's drug addiction. She meets wise female wizards along the way who teach her to use magic and uses a portal that transports her to a rich, mostly white school on the west side of town where she meets Elena, a Muslim teen whom she is convinced also has magical powers.
Calling My Name by
Follows African American Taja Brown from her middle school years to her final year of high school in Texas as she experiences best friends, first love, school, church, betrayal, self-doubt, and new dreams while trying to stay true to herself.
Color Me In by
Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, sixteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, she relocates to her mom's family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time. Nevaeh wants to get to know her extended family, but because she inadvertently passes as white, her cousin thinks she's too privileged, pampered, and selfish to relate to the injustices African Americans face on a daily basis. In the meantime, Nevaeh's dad decides that she should have a belated bat mitzvah instead of a sweet sixteen, which guarantees social humiliation at her posh private school. But rather than take a stand, Nevaeh does what she's always done when life gets complicated: she stays silent.Only when Nevaeh stumbles upon a secret from her mom's past, finds herself falling in love, and sees firsthand the prejudice her family faces that she begins to realize she has her own voice. And choices. Will she continue to let circumstances dictate her path? Or will she decide once for all who and where she is meant to be?
Concrete Rose by
Seventeen-year-old Maverick "Mav" Carter begins dealing drugs for the King Lords as a way to help support his family while his father is in jail. When he learns that his girlfriend is pregnant, his focus shifts and he tries to make a clean break from drug dealing. However, a loved one's murder makes it difficult to forget his old ties, and he must figure out for himself the meaning of loyalty, manhood, and responsibility.
Riot Baby by
Ella Jackson and her younger brother Kev both have preternatural powers. Kev was born during the Rodney King riots in 1992 Los Angeles, but now they are living in New York where Kev is assaulted by police and incarcerated at Rikers. While Kev is in prison, Ella uses her ability to see the future and to destroy things, to send Kev psychic pictures showing him how their powers together could spark a fiery revolution that cleanses the Earth with fire and blood, bringing freedom in its wake.
After being raised in various foster homes throughout her childhood, seventeen-year-old Bitter feels like she's finally found a home at Eucalyptus, a boarding school for artists. Inside the school's walls, Bitter feels safe and free to explore her art, bolstered by school administrator Miss Virtue, her best friend Blessing, and her diverse group of friends.
Dear Justyce by
Incarcerated teen Quan Banks writes letters to Justyce McCallister, with whom he bonded years before over family issues, about his experiences in the American juvenile justice system.
Call Number: HS - Print & Digital Collection
Don't Fail Me Now by
African American teen Michelle cares for her two siblings in urban Baltimore while their mother is in jail. Leah and her stepbrother Tim, both white, live in a middle-class suburb of Maryland. Michelle and Leah share the same father who abandoned them--Buck Devereaux. When the two learn Buck is dying, the whole group embarks on a road trip to California to see him one last time.
Dear Martin by
Writing letters to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seventeen-year-old college-bound Justyce McAllister struggles to face the reality of race relations today and how they are shaping him.
Dream Country by
Spanning two centuries and two continents, Dream Country is the story of five generations of young people caught in a spiral of death and exile connecting America and Africa, and of how determined dreamers try to break free and gain control of their destiny.
Dread Nation by
When the dead begin to walk again, America's future changes in an instant. Jane McKeene is being trained to be an Attendant, a woman who protects the well-to-do from zombies, but that is not the future that Jane wants for herself. Soon Jane finds herself in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy fighting for her life against some dangerous enemies.
Call Number: SHS - Print & Digital Collection
I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by
Felix Ever After by
Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.
Girls Like Us by
In the summer of 1972, three girls from very different backgrounds struggle to come to terms with being pregnant.
Happily Ever Afters by
Aspiring romance novel writer Tessa Johnson is thrilled to be accepted into the creative writing program at well-known art school. As soon as the sixteen-year-old enters the program, however, she experiences writer's block. Her best friend suggests she get out of the conundrum by living out a real-life romance with brooding fellow artist, Nico. As she pursues the fairy tale relationship, she wonders if in the process she'll be losing real-life happiness.
The Hate U Give by
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 (who was unarmed) at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline.
How It Went Down by
When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot to death, his community is thrown into an uproar because Tariq was black and the shooter, Jack Franklin, is white, and in the aftermath everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events agree.
How Long 'til Black Future Month? by
Collects twenty-two speculative short stories predominantly featuring black characters, and addresses modern culture through a themes of destruction and redemption.
Simone Breaks All the Rules by
New Jersey private school senior Simone Thibodeaux teams up with her friends to create a bucket list of all the experiences she'd like to have in her final year of high school that her Haitian immigrant parents have been denying her--beginning with selecting her own prom date. However, her decisions and actions lead to unintended consequences as she comes to recognize the beauty of her heritage and her family's love and sacrifices.
The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by
In 1955, biracial Ethan, who was raised in Washington state, is sent to live with his grandparents in Alabama for the summer. Ethan's eyes are opened to blatant racism for the first time, but also to kindness, when a young red-head named Juniper Jones befriends him and they spend the summer exploring the town and having adventures. Their friendship becomes a lifeline for Ethan when the town's ugliness turns deadly.
Let Me Hear a Rhyme by
After their friend Steph is murdered, Quadir, Jarrell, and Steph's sister Jasmine promote his music under a new rap name, the Architect, but when his demo catches a music label rep's attention, the trio must prove his talent from beyond the grave.
Light It Up by
Told from multiple viewpoints, relates how Shae Tatum, an unarmed, thirteen-year-old black girl, is shot by a white police officer, throwing their community into upheaval and making it a target of demonstrators.
Little and Lion by
Sixteen-year-old Suzette has returned to Los Angeles for the summer after being away at boarding school. Happy to be back with her racially blended family--Suzette and her mother are black, while her father and brother Lionel are white--Suzette is anxious to spend time with her old friends and help her brother who has been struggling with bipolar disorder. When Lionel confides that he's going off his medication, Suzette is afraid that telling anyone will destroy their relationship. To make matters worse, Suzette finds herself falling for the same girl Lionel has feelings for.
Love Is a Revolution by
Nala Robertson reluctantly agrees to go outside her comfort zone to an open mic night with her friend Imani for her birthday, but finds herself falling for the cute emcee Tye Brown. Unfortunately, Nala has almost nothing in common with Tye--where she loves watching movies and trying out fun new flavors of ice cream, Tye loves doing activist work over the summer.
Not So Pure and Simple by
Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge.
His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions…about sex ed.
With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can’t think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it’ll all sort itself out. Right?
On the Come Up by
Sixteen-year-old Bri hopes to become a great rapper, and after her first song goes viral for all the wrong reasons, must decide whether to sell out or face eviction with her widowed mother.
One of the Good Ones by
When Kezi Smith loses her life after an encounter with police at a Black Lives Matter protest, her sister Happi questions the media's portrayal of a sister she was never really close to. Pressed by her older sister and other friends, Happi joins a road trip along Route 66 to commemorate the memory of her sister, stopping at historical black safe houses noted in the "Negro Motorist Green Book."
In a near-future society that claims to have gotten rid of all monstrous people, a creature emerges from a painting seventeen-year-old Jam's mother created, a hunter from another world seeking a real-life monster.
Piecing Me Together by
Every day, Jade rides a bus out of her poor, black neighborhood and to a private school where she feels out of place. When she's assigned a mentor as a part of a school program, Jade doesn't think the adult she's paired with understands her at all, and she learns she has more to teach the other adults than she thought.
In this reimagining of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," teenager Zuri Benitez is deeply proud of her Afro-Latino roots in their Brooklyn neighborhood, and is disappointed as she watches Bushwick gentrify. And when the wealthy Darcy family moves in, Zuri wants nothing to do with them, especially their two teenage sons, even though her older sister, Janae, falls for the charming Ainsley. The other brother, Darius, is especially obnoxious, but her dislike shifts into understanding and even affection.
Punching the Air by
Even though Amal Shahid is an artist and poet, he's still viewed as disruptive at his diverse art school. A fight breaks out between Amal and his friends and a group of white boys, leaving one of the white boys in a coma. Amal is convicted of the attack and sent to prison, even though he's not the one who put the boy in a coma. His despair and rage at having his bright future destroyed threaten to overcome him until he discovers the refuge and hope that his words and art give him.
Every Body Looking by
Growing up with a Nigerian father and a drug-addicted mother leaves seventeen-year-old Ada with emotional scares she only begins to unpack when she leaves home for college in Washington D.C. Told in flashback scenes of her childhood, Ada comes to grip with the trauma inflicted by her absent mother, the pressures put on her by her strict father, and the sexual abuse suffered at the hands of male relatives. Through dance, Ada explores life outside of her family, learns who she is, and defines who she wants to be.
Purple Hibiscus by
A teenaged Nigerian girl and her older brother struggle to cope with life in their tense, stifling household--caused by their father's demands for perfection--after getting a taste of freedom during a visit to their aunt's home.
A Song below Water by
Tavia has secret, magical siren powers she must hide from society, and Effie has demons--literal demons--from her past coming back to haunt her as her own family struggles boil up. Everything changes for these best friends in high school's junior year when a siren murder trial shakes the nation and Tavia on accident lets her magical voice be heard.
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by
Sixteen-year-old Dove "Birdie" Randolph's close bond with her parents is threatened by a family secret, and by hiding her relationship with Booker, who has been in juvenile detention
An honors student at Jefferson Academy, seventeen-year-old Keira enjoys developing and playing Slay, a secret, multiplayer online role-playing game celebrating black culture, until the two worlds collide.
Blade never asked for a life of the rich and famous. In fact, he’d give anything not to be the son of Rutherford Morrison, a washed-up rock star and drug addict with delusions of a comeback. Or to no longer be part of a family known most for lost potential, failure, and tragedy, including the loss of his mother. The one true light is his girlfriend, Chapel, but her parents have forbidden their relationship, assuming Blade will become just like his father.
In reality, the only thing Blade and Rutherford have in common is the music that lives inside them. And songwriting is all Blade has left after Rutherford, while drunk, crashes his high school graduation speech and effectively rips Chapel away forever. But when a long-held family secret comes to light, the music disappears. In its place is a letter, one that could bring Blade the freedom and love he’s been searching for, or leave him feeling even more adrift.
This Is My America by
While writing letters to Innocence X, a justice-seeking project, asking them to help her father, an innocent black man on death row, teenaged Tracy takes on another case when her brother is accused of killing his white girlfriend.
Tyler Johnson Was Here by
African American teen Marvin Johnson and his twin Tyler witness police brutality, gangs, and drug activity in their poor neighborhood on a daily basis. One night Marvin follows Tyler to a party to keep an eye on him. While at the party, a shooting happens and the police arrive. Tyler goes missing in the chaos, and is later found dead. In the midst of Marvin's grief, a video surfaces online that shows Tyler was shot by a police officer.
The Voting Booth by
Marva Sheridan is excited to vote in her first election; Duke Crenshaw just wants to get voting over so that he can get to his band's first paying gig. When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she's determined to see his vote counted. They cut school, rush from precinct to precinct, and wait in endless lines just to get Duke registered to vote. Over the course of one day, the two strangers find they have more in common than just a passion for democracy.
Watch Us Rise by
Frustrated by the way women are treated--even at their progressive New York City high school--two best friends start a Women's Rights Club, post their essays and poems online, and watch it go viral, attracting positive support as well as trolls.
The Water Dancer by
A young African American slave named Hiram Walker is separated from his mother when she is sold away from the Virginia plantation where he has lived all his life. In the ensuing years, Hiram is saved from drowning by the same mysterious power his mother gifted him with at her departure. This sparks in urgency in Hiram to escape his plantation and search for her for answers and freedom.
When You Look Like Us by
When you look like us—brown skin, brown eyes, black braids or fades—everyone else thinks you’re trouble. No one even blinks twice over a missing black girl from public housing because she must’ve brought whatever happened to her upon herself. I, Jay Murphy, can admit that, for a minute, I thought my sister Nicole just got caught up with her boyfriend—a drug dealer—and his friends. But she’s been gone too long. Nic, where are you?
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by
Publication Date: 2020-06-23
African Town by
Chronicles the story of the last Africans brought illegally to the United States on the Clotilda in 1860.