It isn’t surprising when libraries and librarians stride forward to help teens cope as they try to find their place in today’s world. That said, it is surprising when you see your own book on one of these lists. Chelsea Couillard-Smith, a librarian in Minnesota’s Hennipin County Library, created a #BlackLivesMatter book list. Duchess messaged me Monday to let me know – our book, Black Lives Matter, is on the list. While I’m glad our book is being put out there for young readers to find, I do wish the need for books on this topic was much, much less.
Some of the books I’ve read but others are entirely new to me. Still, do I have to say that I’m walking on air to see my book rubbing shoulders with a book by Water Dean Myers?
Check out this amazing book list. My own library list has grown by several titles as I seek out the ones that I didn’t already know.
How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon (Henry Holt). A 2015 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book about the shooting of a young black man by a white assailant. This is the story that the victim’s friends, family and community tell of “how it went down.”
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brandon Kiely (Atheneum). A 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor book, and recipient of the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature. When a young black shopper at the local bodega is assaulted by a violent cop. The story is told in alternating points of view between the victim and a young white witness.
Monster by Walter Dean Myers (Amistad). This New York Times bestselling novel and National Book Award nominee about how one decision can change a young man’s entire life.
A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson (HMH). A Coretta Scott King and Printz honor book, this collection of sonnets about the murder and lynching of Emmett Hill in 1955. His crime? He may have whistled at a white woman.
We Troubled the Waters: Poems by Ntozake Shange, illus. by Rod Brown (Amistad).
A collection of poems about the Civil Rights movement’s well-known figures and everyday folks.
Black Lives Matter by Sue Bradford Edwards with Duchess Harris (ABDO).
A nonficiton book about recent high-profile cases of police brutality and racial profiling. Includes historical context and a wide range of viewpoints.
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M. Hoose (Farar, Straus and Giroux).
Claudette Colvin is the National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature, a Newbery Honor Book, A YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Finalist, and a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book. Examines the role she played in helping to integrate Montgomery’s bus system during the Civil Rights Movement.
Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case by Chris Crowe (Dial). Another book about the murder of Till. Emphasis on primary sources.
No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row by Susan Kuklin (Henry Holt).
A nonfiction book about teens on death row. Includes the words of their families, victims, and those involved in their cases.
March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illus. by Nate Powell (Top Shelf). A graphic novel memoir for teens and adults that begins with the story of Congressman John Lewis who stood on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement as a teenager.
A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota edited by Sun Yung Shin (Minnesota Historical Society Press).
A collection of essays written by authors, educators, and artists. Discuss the author’s experiences as someone who is “other” in Minnesota, and the current state of race in an increasingly diverse Midwestern landscape. Written for adults.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehesi Coates (Speigel and Grau). Naitonal Book Award Winner, NAACP Image Award Winner, Pulitzer Prize Finalist. The author’s letter to his son highlights about the history of brutality against Black bodies in the United States. Reveals the hopes and fears this father had his child.
I have to say, I still can’t believe that I’m among such lofty companions!