In honor of Black History Month, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite authors of color, along with one of my favorite books from each of them. For most of them, it was REALLY hard to choose only one! Jason Reynolds, Nnedi Okorafor, Walter Dean Myers, and Kekla Magoon, in particular, all have numerous tremendous titles to their credit!
Tara’s Top Ten African American/Black Authors
Notable Title: The Crossover
Dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood. (Goodreads.com)
Notable Series: The Belles
Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. When Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, they discover that beyond the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and when thequeen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia faces an impossible decision.
Notable Title: Dread Nation
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever. In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.
Notable Title: How It Went Down
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.
Walter Dean Myers
Notable Title: Monster
While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.
Notable series: Akata Witch
Twelve-year-old Sunny Nwazue, an American-born albino child of Nigerian parents, moves with her family back to Nigeria, where she learns that she has latent magical powers which she and three similarly gifted friends use to catch a serial killer.
Notable Title: The Boy in the Black Suit
Reeling from his mother’s death, his father’s alcoholism, and the bills that keep stacking up Matt takes a job at a funeral home in his tough Brooklyn neighborhood and, while attending and assisting with funerals, begins to accept her death and his responsibilities as a man.
Notable Title: Dear Martin
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out. (Goodreads.com)
Notable Title: The Hate U Give
After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life (divided between a tough urban neighborhood and a prestigious, suburban prep school ) is ripped apart as the police, a local drug lord, and soon local news media try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.
Notable Title: American Street
When Fabiola’s mother is detained upon their arrival to the United States, Fabiola must navigate her loud American cousins, the grittiness of Detroit’s west side, a new school, and a surprising romance all on her own.