February is African American History Month. There are a ton of books, movies, and music that you can easily find to celebrate this month. However, to help you with your search, here is a great list we put together of some teen titles that are perfect to read to celebrate African American History month. They center on the African American experience both past and present and include books that are dramatic, sports-themed, realistic, have a touch of fantasy, and even moving nonfiction titles or memoirs.
Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes
YA GRIMES, N.
While studying the Harlem Renaissance, students at a Bronx high school read aloud poems they’ve written, revealing their innermost thoughts and fears to their formerly clueless classmates.
47 by Walter Mosley
YA MOSLEY, W.
Number 47, a fourteen-year-old slave boy growing up under the watchful eye of a brutal master in 1832, meets the mysterious Tall John, who introduces him to a magical science and also teaches him the meaning of freedom.
The Hoopster by Alan Lawrence Sitomer
YA SITOMER, A.
Andre Anderson, an African-American teenager who loves to play basketball, is happy about his summer internship at a magazine, but his life is unexpectedly changed by a random act of violence.
Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff
YA WOLFF, V.
In order to earn money for college, fourteen-year-old LaVaughn babysits for a teenage mother of two. Written in 66 chapters, with text lines that break at natural speaking phrases.
The Rose That Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur
YA 811.54 SHA
A collection of verse by the late hip-hop star Tupac Shakur includes more than one hundred poems confronting such wide-ranging topics as poverty, motherhood, Van Gogh, and Mandela.
When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds
YA REYNOLDS, J.
Ali lives in Bed-Stuy, a Brooklyn neighborhood known for guns and drugs, but he and his sister, Jazz, and their neighbors, Needles and Noodles, stay out of trouble until they go to the wrong party, where one gets badly hurt and another leaves with a target on his back.
He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander
YA ALEXANDER, K.
When a popular football ‘playa’ and ladies man and the smartest girl in school lead a school protest, sparks fly as their social media-aided revolution grows.
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
YA HALSE, L.
After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.
The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride
YA 305.8092 MCBRIDE
A young African American man describes growing up as one of twelve children of a white mother and Black father, and discusses his mother’s contributions to his life and his confusion over his own identity.
Mare’s War by Tanita Davis
YA DAVIS, T.
Teens Octavia and Tali learn about strength, independence, and courage when they are forced to take a car trip with their grandmother, who tells about growing up Black in 1940s Alabama and serving in Europe during World War II as a member of the Women’s Army Corps.
A la Carte by Tanita Davis
YA DAVIS, T.
With such a shortage of cooking shows hosted by African-American female chefs, seventeen-year-old Lainey has high hopes that her dream will be fulfilled through her hard work and unique creations, but when her best friend and secret crush suddenly moves away, Lainey must find a way to deal with the painful loss in order to keep her focus.
Chameleon by Charles Smith
YA SMITH, C.
The summer before starting high school in inner-city Los Angeles, fourteen-year-old Shawn grapples with his first experience of love, the complicated bonds of friends and family, and the reality of street gang violence.
Good Fortune by Noni Carter
YA CARTER, N.
Brutally kidnapped from her African village and shipped to America, a young girl struggles to come to terms with her new life as a slave, gradually rising from working in the fields to the master’s house, secretly learning to read and write, until, risking everything, she escapes to seek freedom in the North.
The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
YA MAGOON, K.
In 1968 Chicago, fourteen-year-old Sam Childs is caught in a conflict between his father’s nonviolent approach to seeking civil rights for African Americans and his older brother, who has joined the Black Panther Party.
Standing against the Wind by Traci Jones
YA JONES, T.
As she tries to escape her poor Chicago neighborhood by winning a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, shy and studious eighth-grader Patrice discovers that she has more options in life than she previously realized.
After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
YA WOODSON, J.
In the New York City borough of Queens in 1996, three girls bond over their shared love of Tupac Shakur’s music, as together they try to make sense of the unpredictable world in which they live.