My teen has recently become enchanted by love stories. When she is not scribbling away the epic tome of love lost and found that she has been writing in the journal that she guards like a treasure, she can be found with her nose in a book. She has been going through books so quickly that I can hardly keep up. As a library chick, I am open to pretty much whatever she wants to read but at times our choices can be limited. Recently she mentioned that she is looking for books with girls like her; African American/Black young women.
Where are these books? I don’t think there is anything wrong with knowing where we come from and where we have been. There are scores of books set during slavery and Civil Rights and they are excellent reads, some I cannot say enough about. However can we balance this with a book for the modern young lady who who is working through her first crush and worried about the science fair?
When I attended the last Book Buzz during the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, there were only a handful of books being buzzed about featuring characters of colors. A few featured Martin Luther King and multicultural characters from other countries and one featuring the favorite chestnut: The inner city youth. Thank you but once again I ask WHERE ARE THE CHARACTERS OF COLOR?
By chance I found a list of books on Goodreads that I ordered for work and for my daughter. Take a look; perhaps some of these books will be of interest.
Pointe by Brandy Colbert.
Because the description hints at a young woman with an eating disorder, this book brought to mind Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls, which I recently read. While Wintergirls does not mention a kidnapping, there are secrets which guide the main characters actions. Pointe seems to be of a similar feel and I loved the idea of a Black classical dancer.
Theo is better now.
She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.
Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.
Brandy Colbert dazzles in this heartbreaking yet hopeful debut novel about learning how to let go of even our most shameful secrets.
Buy it here:
The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson
The Bee LOVED Heist Society Series by Ally Carter and The Fourth Stall series by Chris Rylander so I was happy to see Varian Johnson’s newest title. This reminds a bit of Veronica Mars, full time student, part time PI.
About The Great Greene Heist:
Saving the school — one con at a time.
Jackson Greene has reformed. No, really he has. He became famous for the Shakedown at Shimmering Hills, and everyone still talks about the Blitz at the Fitz…. But after the disaster of the Mid-Day PDA, he swore off scheming and conning for good.
Then Keith Sinclair — loser of the Blitz — announces he’s running for school president, against Jackson’s former best friend Gaby de la Cruz. Gaby hasn’t talked to Jackson since the PDA, and he knows she won’t welcome his involvement. But he also knows Keith has “connections” to the principal, which could win him the election whatever the vote count.
So Jackson assembles a crack team to ensure the election is done right: Hashemi Larijani, tech genius. Victor Cho, bankroll. Megan Feldman, science goddess and cheerleader. Charlie de la Cruz, point man. Together they devise a plan that will bring Keith down once and for all. Yet as Jackson draws closer to Gaby again, he realizes the election isn’t the only thing he wants to win.
Buy it here:
Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn
This title looks amazing. Dysfunctional family, secrets and a protagonist who is may or may not be reliable.
Two years ago, sixteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor’s fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else. But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie.
Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know this one simple truth: She’s not the crazy one and never has been.
When reading Complicit, trust nothing and no one as you race toward the explosive conclusion of this gripping psychological thriller from the William C. Morris Award–winning author of Charm & Strange.
Buy it here:
Fake ID by Lamar Giles
I am I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies) was an OK book – which took forever for me to read – but it’s premise of hiding one’s true identity made me finish it. This book, along with Boy Nobody (The Unknown Assassin) by Allen Zadoff makes me think Fake ID will be the next big thing for teens trying to solve the issue of identity and discovering who they are.
About Fake Id:
Debut author Lamar Giles takes readers on a wild and dark ride in this contemporary Witness Protection thriller. Fake ID is a compelling story full of twists and turns—sure to appeal to fans of James Patterson, Harlan Coben, and John Grisham.
Nick Pearson is hiding in plain sight. In fact, his name isn’t really Nick Pearson. He shouldn’t tell you his real name, his real hometown, or why his family just moved to Stepton, Virginia. And he definitely shouldn’t tell you about his friend Eli Cruz and the major conspiracy Eli was uncovering when he died. About how Nick had to choose between solving Eli’s murder with his hot sister, Reya, and “staying low-key” like the Program said to do.
But he’s going to tell you—unless he gets caught first. . . .
Buy it here:
This post was inspired by the Twitter conversation #colormyshelf in which authors, librarians, readers question where the characters of color are in children’s books.
Tell me…what are your children reading? What was the last book with a character of color (not just Black!) that really created a buzz for you?
Disclosure: Affiliate links were used in this post. If you click a link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.