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Black History Books for Teens

Throughout the month of February we celebrate Black History Month. From evocative fiction to brilliant biographies Teen Central at Richland Library has amazing books written by and about African-Americans. So stop by and check out our collection, you're sure to find a book you love!

Looking for a good book? You can't miss with titles by these authors!

  • Angela Johnson
  • Reshonda Tate Billingsley
  • Ni-Ni Simone
  • Walter Dean Meyers
  • Christopher Paul Curtis
  • L.Divine
  • Tanita Davis
  • Sharon Draper
  • Nikki Grimes
  • M.T. Anderson
  • Sherri L. Smith

  • Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
    Amazon Says: Read Sherri L. Smith's posts on the Penguin Blog Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight. Her daddy was a pilot and being black didn’t stop him from fulfilling his dreams more...
    Amazon Says: Read Sherri L. Smith's posts on the Penguin Blog Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight. Her daddy was a pilot and being black didn’t stop him from fulfilling his dreams. But her daddy’s gone now, and being a woman, and being black, are two strikes against her. When America enters the war with Germany and Japan, the Army creates the WASP, the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots—and Ida suddenly sees a way to fly as well as do something significant to help her brother stationed in the Pacific. But even the WASP won’t accept her as a black woman, forcing Ida Mae to make a difficult choice of “passing,” of pretending to be white to be accepted into the program. Hiding one’s racial heritage, denying one’s family, denying one’s self is a heavy burden. And while Ida Mae chases her dream, she must also decide who it is she really wants to be. less...
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    Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis
    Amazon Says: Meet Mare, a grandmother with flair and a fascinating past. Octavia and Tali are dreading the road trip their parents are forcing them to take with their grandmother over the more...
    Amazon Says: Meet Mare, a grandmother with flair and a fascinating past. Octavia and Tali are dreading the road trip their parents are forcing them to take with their grandmother over the summer. After all, Mare isn’t your typical grandmother. She drives a red sports car, wears stiletto shoes, flippy wigs, and push-up bras, and insists that she’s too young to be called Grandma. But somewhere on the road, Octavia and Tali discover there’s more to Mare than what you see. She was once a willful teenager who escaped her less-than-perfect life in the deep South and lied about her age to join the African American battalion of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. Told in alternating chapters, half of which follow Mare through her experiences as a WAC member and half of which follow Mare and her granddaughters on the road in the present day, this novel introduces a larger-than-life character who will stay with readers long after they finish reading. less...
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    Frederick Douglass by David A. Adler
    Amazon Says: Born into slavery in 1818 and raised on a Maryland plantation under brutal conditions, Frederick Douglass, against all odds, grew up to become a famous orator, journalist, aut more...
    Amazon Says: Born into slavery in 1818 and raised on a Maryland plantation under brutal conditions, Frederick Douglass, against all odds, grew up to become a famous orator, journalist, author, and adviser to U.S. presidents. Many contemporaries found it hard to believe that he was an escaped slave with no formal education. Douglass was also controversial. He urged slaves to revolt and befriended the radical abolitionist John Brown. A pivotal figure in U.S. history, he helped Abraham Lincoln issue the Emancipation Proclamation and was an ambassador to Haiti. Timeline, chapter notes, bibliography. less...
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    A Certain October by Angela Johnson
    Amazon Says: Three-time Coretta Scott King Award–winner Angela Johnson writes a wrenching, honest book about surviving the unimaginable and finding a way to go on. Scotty compar more...
    Amazon Says: Three-time Coretta Scott King Award–winner Angela Johnson writes a wrenching, honest book about surviving the unimaginable and finding a way to go on. Scotty compares herself to tofu: no flavor unless you add something. And it’s true that Scotty’s friends, Misha and Falcone, and her brother, Keone, make life delicious. But when a terrible accident occurs, Scotty feels responsible for the loss of someone she hardly knew, and the world goes wrong. She cannot tell what is a dream and what is real. Her friends are having a hard time getting through to her and her family is preoccupied with their own trauma. But the prospect of a boy, a dance, and the possibility that everything can fall back into place soon help Scotty realize that she is capable of adding her own flavor to life. With artfully spare prose, acclaimed and award-winning author Angela Johnson explores the ramifications of unexpected death in this compelling coming-of-age story. less...
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    Pinned by Sharon Flake
    Amazon Says: Award-winning author, Sharon G. Flake, presents a powerful novel about a teen boy and girl, each tackling disabilities. Autumn and Adonis have nothing in common and everythin more...
    Amazon Says: Award-winning author, Sharon G. Flake, presents a powerful novel about a teen boy and girl, each tackling disabilities. Autumn and Adonis have nothing in common and everything in common. Autumn is outgoing and has lots of friends. Adonis is shy and not so eager to connect with people. But even with their differences, the two have one thing in common--they're each dealing with a handicap. For Autumn, who has a learning disability, reading is a painful struggle that makes it hard to focus in class. But as her school’s most aggressive team wrestler, Autumn can take down any problem. Adonis is confined to a wheelchair. He has no legs. He can't walk or dance. But he’s a strong reader who loves books. Even so, Adonis has a secret he knows someone like Autumn can heal. In time, Autumn and Adonis are forced to see that our greatest weaknesses can turn into the assets that forever change us and those we love. Told in alternating voices, Takedown explores issues of self-discovery, friendship, and what it means to be different. less...
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    Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper
    Amazon Says: When pale strangers enter fifteen-year-old Amari's village, her entire tribe welcomes them; for in her remote part of Africa, visitors are always a cause for celebration. But more...
    Amazon Says: When pale strangers enter fifteen-year-old Amari's village, her entire tribe welcomes them; for in her remote part of Africa, visitors are always a cause for celebration. But these strangers are not here to celebrate. They are here to capture the strongest, healthiest villagers and to murder the rest. They are slave traders. And in the time it takes a gun to fire, Amari's life as she's known it is destroyed, along with her family and village. Beaten, branded, and dragged onto a slave ship, Amari is forced to witness horrors worse than any nightmare and endure humiliations she had never thought possible -- including being sold to a plantation owner in the Carolinas who gives her to his sixteen-year-old son, Clay, as his birthday present. Now, survival and escape are all Amari dreams about. As she struggles to hold on to her memories in the face of backbreaking plantation work and daily degradation at the hands of Clay, she finds friendship in unexpected places. Polly, an outspoken indentured white girl, proves not to be as hateful as she'd first seemed upon Amari's arrival, and the plantation owner's wife, despite her trappings of luxury and demons of her own, is kind to Amari. But these small comforts can't relieve Amari's feelings of hopelessness and despair, and when an opportunity to escape presents itself, Amari and Polly decide to work together to find the thing they both want most...freedom. Grand and sweeping in scope, detailed and penetrating in its look at the complicated interrelationships of those who live together on a plantation, Copper Sun is an unflinching and unforgettable look at the African slave trade and slavery in America. less...
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    Amazon Says: An inspiring look at the fight for the vote, by an award-winning author Only 44 years ago in the U.S., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was leading a fight to win blacks the right t more...
    Amazon Says: An inspiring look at the fight for the vote, by an award-winning author Only 44 years ago in the U.S., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was leading a fight to win blacks the right to vote. Ground zero for the movement became Selma, Alabama. Award-winning author Elizabeth Partridge leads you straight into the chaotic, passionate, and deadly three months of protests that culminated in the landmark march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Focusing on the courageous children who faced terrifying violence in order to march alongside King, this is an inspiring look at their fight for the vote. Stunningly emotional black-and-white photos accompany the text. less...
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    Amazon Says: Winner of: 2014 Amelia Bloomer Top Ten List“Allow all black nurses to enlist, and the draft won’t be necessary. . . . If nurses are needed so desperately, why isn more...
    Amazon Says: Winner of: 2014 Amelia Bloomer Top Ten List“Allow all black nurses to enlist, and the draft won’t be necessary. . . . If nurses are needed so desperately, why isn’t the Army using colored nurses?”“My arm gets a little sore slinging a shovel or a pick, but then I forget about it when I think about all those boys over in the Solomons.”Double Victory tells the stories of African American women who did extraordinary things to help their country during World War II. In these pages young readers meet a range of remarkable women: war workers, political activists, military women, volunteers, and entertainers. Some, such as Mary McLeod Bethune and Lena Horne, were celebrated in their lifetimes and are well known today. But many others fought discrimination at home and abroad in order to contribute to the war effort yet were overlooked during those years and forgotten by later generations. Double Victory recovers the stories of these courageous women, such as Hazel Dixon Payne, the only woman to serve on the remote Alaska-Canadian Highway; Deverne Calloway, a Red Cross worker who led a protest at an army base in India; and Betty Murphy Phillips, the only black female overseas war correspondent. Offering a new and diverse perspective on the war and including source notes and a bibliography, Double Victory is an invaluable addition to any student’s or history buff’s bookshelf.  less...
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    Amazon Says: In Hip Hop World, Dalton Higgins comprehensively examines the hip hop scene as it exists throughout the world. The book reveals the form's musical inspirations from Trinidad, more...
    Amazon Says: In Hip Hop World, Dalton Higgins comprehensively examines the hip hop scene as it exists throughout the world. The book reveals the form's musical inspirations from Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, African American sex satirists, comedians, civil rights-fuelled funk musicians, spoken word luminaries, and dub and Nuyorican poetry. Author Higgins examines hip hop's racial, multicultural, and multilingual listening audiences, the development of global rap slanguage and its influence on standard English lexicons, and hip hop herstory and cultural taboos around sexuality. He highlights the burgeoning Aboriginal hip hop scenes in Canada and Australia, and movements in colleges across North America and Europe that use hip hop lyrics and artistry to help engage students in learning. Critical of hip hopsters' use of language, the cult of bling, violence, and money, this book takes readers beyond a superficial look and delves into all the issues surrounding this form. Higgins taps into his own powers of pop culture prognostication to predict the future of the genre and the youth culture that spawned it, as this irresistible musical and cultural form spreads literally to the furthest reaches of humanity. less...
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    Amazon Says: At South Bay High, the drama just keeps on growing... In the long-awaited 15th volume of the Drama High series, Street Soldiers picks up with a murder in front of Jayd?s grand more...
    Amazon Says: At South Bay High, the drama just keeps on growing... In the long-awaited 15th volume of the Drama High series, Street Soldiers picks up with a murder in front of Jayd?s grandparents' house. Mama and Daddy are convinced the police have the wrong suspect in custody and have joined forces to help organize the neighborhood and find the real killer. Mickey's ex-boyfriend has been arrested for the gruesome act, which is more like their wicked next-door neighbor, Esmeralda, and her shape-shifting boyfriend, Rousseau's handiwork. And to make matters worse, Esmeralda's influence in the community is growing stronger every day, and so are the powers of her top apprentices and Jayd's best frenemies, Misty and Emilio. With two of Jayd's closest friends, Mickey and Nigel at war over the custody of Mickey's daughter, Jayd's ex-boyfriend, Rah going back to his ex-girlfriend, Trish without Jayd's knowledge, and having to witness her most recent love, Jeremy pretend to date her newest enemy, Cameron, Jayd's had just about all the drama she can take and it's only the beginning of their senior year. Keenan, her new college coffee buddy, is the only one who can take her mind off of her chaotic life. Jayd decides that it's time to make some changes and get rid of anyone-and anything-holding her back. less...
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