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Friday, May 24, 2019

5 Inspiring Young Adult Books with Black Main Characters

Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give

Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give

Nationwide — Representation in media is very important for teens and young adults. If you’re searching for an entrancing story, look no further than these five young adult books with Black main characters. Their strength and courage will inspire you to reach new heights.

For the social warrior:
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
Written in response to the police shooting of Oscar Grant in 2009, this novel follows the life of 16-year-old Starr Carter after she witnesses the shooting of her childhood friend by a white police officer. After the shooting, Starr begins to find her voice and gives her side of what becomes a national news story. This heart-wrenching New York Times best-seller portrays the real-world issues of police brutality through the eyes of a young Black girl struggling with her identity, and it was recently adapted into a movie starring Amandla Stenberg.

For the adventure seeker:
A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney
This exciting retelling of a classic story puts a fresh spin on the world of Wonderland. Alice is just a normal girl trying to survive high school in Atlanta, but when her mentor is poisoned, it’s up to her to dive down the rabbit hole and find the antidote. In this retelling, Wonderland is not only a world filled with magic, but one that is also riddled with dangers. Horrible creatures called Nightmares, which are created by fear, are unleashed on the human world. With her trusty daggers by her side, Alice sets out to save the world.

For the history buff:
The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
Taking place over the course of several months in 1963, this classic historical fiction novel follows the Watson family on their road trip to Birmingham during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. While visiting their grandmother in Birmingham, the family witnesses the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, a real event that served as a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. This book examines how life for Black Americans was dramatically altered after that event through the eyes of its young narrator Kenny.

For the hopeful romantic:
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Natasha, an illegal immigrant from Jamaica, is on the brink of deportation when she meets Daniel, a Korean-American teen on his way to interview with a Yale alumnus. Despite their differences, and Natasha’s impending deportation, the two find themselves falling in love. Recently adapted into a movie starring Black-ish and Grown-ish actress Yara Shahidi, this novel is a wonderful tale of first love and how love has the power to conquer all obstacles.

For the fantasy fanatic:
The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
If you’re looking for young adult books with Black main characters that are out of this world, look no further. Rooted in Caribbean folklore, this gripping tale follows Corinne La Mer, a girl who isn’t afraid of anything. When a jumbie named Severine follows her home, Corinne must band together with her group of friends to protect the island they call home. Drawing on ancient magic and a courageous heart, Corrine sets out to take down Severine and reclaim the island from the jumbies.

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