12 books for young adults to read written by black authors | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh

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I noticed a trend on bookstagram, aka book Instagram. Along with the influx of readers seeking books by black authors, many have turned to the Young Adult genre. It could be for a number of reasons, but I guess YA is light yet powerful, exciting yet easy to read. You can get a lot out of a book aimed at teens, but the stories are a great escape from our current daunting and heavy reality. So if you feel the same, here are 12 YA books written by black authors.

1. Clap when you land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap when you land is the latest novel by Afro-Dominican poet and author,

Elizabeth Acevedo. The story follows the stepsisters path and Yahaira Rios, who live in the Dominican Republic and New York respectively. They only find out about each other’s existence after the death of the father they share in a plane crash.


Acevedo is known for writing novels in verse, and the author of With the fire above and The poet X, which won the 2018 National Book Prize for Children’s Literature.

2. black girl unlimited by Echo Brown

Rooted in magical realism, this a heavily biographical YA novel follows Echo Brown, an East Side wizard who transfers to the wealthy West Side School. When this happens, new portals begin to open and Echo realizes that a black veil of depression is following her.

3. Children of Blood and Bones by Tomi Adeyemi

Released in 2018, this gripping fantasy novel tells of magical redemption and uplift.

4. The black flamingo by Dean Atta

A debut of Dean Atta, this the coming of age verse novel follows Michael, who is a mixed-race gay teenager growing up in London. He finally discovers the wonderful world of drag.

5. Felix forever By Kacen Callender

Felix Love is a transgender teenager who has never been in love. When he starts to have transphobic messages and begins to plot for revenge, he ends up in a quasi-love triangle.

6. You should see me in a crown by Leah Johnson

A poor black girl living in a Midwestern town, Liz Lighty plans to escape by attending a Pennington College. She wants to become a doctor. But when her financial aid falls through, Liz puts herself in the running to become prom queen. an honor that also comes with a scholarship.

seven. Not all boys are blue by George M. Johnson

In this collection of personal essays, Journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson shares memories of growing up in college, going to flea markets with his caring grandmother and having bullies kick his teeth at age 5.

8. Stamped: racism, anti-racism and you through Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

A reinvention by the winner of the Dr. Ibram X. Kendi National Book Award Stamped from the start, this book sheds light on the many subtle forms of racist thoughts, while showing ways to identify and eliminate racist thoughts in their daily lives.

9. The hate you give through Angie Thomas

This YA novel turned movie was written by Angie Thomas in reaction to the police shooting of Oscar Grant, a black man killed by transit police officers in Oakland, California in 2009.

ten. TO KILL by Britney Morris

For fans of Loan player one, TO KILL follows Seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson, who is secretly the creator of the online multiplayer card game called SLAY. All is well until a teenager is murdered due to an in-game argument.

11. The stars and the darkness between them By Junauda Petrus

This first lyric of Junauda Petrus tells the story of Audre and Mabel, whose romantic relationship is rocked when Mabel finds out why she’s been feeling sick all summer.

12. A song under water by Bethany C. Morrow

Set in Portland, Oregon, Dark Mermaids Tavia and Effie were able to keep their powers a secret until a mermaid’s murder rocked the nation.

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