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Celebrate African American History Month with Books!

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 masquerade47hoopstermake lemonade
 

 

 

 

 

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.

rose that grew from concreteWhen I Was The Greatesthe said she saidchains

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

color of watermares wara la carteChameleon

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

goodfortunethe rock and the river book coverstanding against the windafter tupac and d foster

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Reviews by You!

We'll Always Have summerWe’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

Belly has always loved Conrad, but dated his brother Jeremiah. When Jeremiah proposes she expects although she doesn’t love him like she should. The wedding gets closer and Belly keeps waiting for Conrad’s love. Will she ever be loved by him?

Review submitted by Paige.

 

Confederacy of DuncesA Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

This book is hilarious, one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. The characters are so well developed.

Review submitted by Jake.

 

 

The Hunger Games book coverThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I thought this book was amazing! I’ve read it many times before and I just couldn’t put it down!

Review submitted by Josephine.

This book is amazing! It’s romantic, gross, a cliff hanger, adventurous, and more! I loved it!

Review submitted by Julia.

 

Digital FortressDigital Fortress by Dan Brown

This book follows NSA employee Susan Fletcher and fiancé David Becher as the agency struggles to crack a seemingly unbreakable code. I enjoyed this book because it has plenty of twists and action and makes you keep reading.

Review submitted by Ellen.

 

Crossing the WireCrossing the Wire by Will Hobbs

This book is packed with adventure as a boy tries to cross the border into the U.S. to work and support his family in his hometown in Mexico. I would highly recommend this book for anyone entering 8th grade or higher.

Review submitted by Michael.

 

the Running Dream book coverThe Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

A book that proves you can do what others think impossible. 5 stars!

Review submitted by Sydney.

 

 

I Emma FrekeI, Emma Freke by Elizabeth Atkinson

This book was about a girl named Emma. She never really fit in and only had one friend. She doesn’t know who her dad is or that side of the family. She was invited to a reunion from her dad’s side. When Emma comes back she is a new person. I thought this was a great book.

Review submitted by Kendall.

 

It Happened to NancyIt Happened to Nancy by Anonymous

When Nancy is raped, her attacker leaves something behind that Nancy will never be able to forget, the HIV virus. As the virus rages through her body, Nancy must come to terms with herself before it is too late.

Review submitted by Paige.

 

flowers for algernonFlowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Imagine a dream of yours. Imagine that you have it but then it is taken away from you. This is what happened to the main character in Flowers for Algernon. His dream was to be smart, and he was smart until it was taken away from him. This book would be best for 8th graders and older.

Review submitted by Michael

Reviews by You!

ProdigyProdigy by Marie Lu

I really like Lu’s idea of what the USA could be like in the future. I give this 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend this for people who like action and futuristic stuff.

Review submitted by Tim.

 

 

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

This book was easy, yet really fun to read. It was easy to read because it was divided into small stories instead of a big one. This book is really great for people who like fantasy and adventure together!!!

Review submitted by Jill.

 

 

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children book coverMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

After witnessing his grandfather’s death, Jacob travels to a remote Welsh island hoping to find answers. As Jacob searches for answers, he meets a peculiar group of friends and finds the peculiar within him.

Review submitted by Emma.

 

 

finallyFinally by Wendy Mass

Rory has finally turned 12! She has made a long list of things she wants to do. One problem – everything keeps going wrong! I found this book exciting to read.

Review submitted by Caitlyn.

 

 

Dead End in NorveltDead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

This book was very good because it has a good moral. The moral is that you have to learn from your mistakes so you don’t repeat your mistakes. 4.5/5 stars.

Review submitted by Jonny.

 

 

Whatever Happened JanieWhatever Happened to Janie by Caroline B. Cooney

I really enjoyed this book. I think it had a great plot and it makes me want to read more of the series. I think it is very intriguing and it kept me very interested. Overall this book was great, and I would recommend this to other readers.

Review submitted by Katie.

 

 

 

perfect youPerfect You by Elizabeth Scott

I loved this book. I couldn’t put it down. It was very interesting. The book was all about Kate, a girl in high school, who has to deal with trouble in school, with friends, and her family. The worst thing is her dad sells vitamins and humiliates her.

Review submitted by Victoria.

 

 

The Lightning Thief book coverThe Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I recently finished Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief. I LOVED IT! The ending is very thrilling. The Greek mythology concept made the book even more interesting. I LOVED this book!

Review submitted by Claire.

 

 

HP and the Half Blood PrinceHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

I thought that this book was very good. The ending was very surprising and I couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed this book from the series.

Review submitted by Nicole.

 

 

Wild RosesWild Roses by Deb Caletti

When Cassie’s parents divorce her mother quickly remarries the crazy violinist Dino Cavalli, but she and her father are the only people who see his craziness. Will Cassie keep his secret, or spill it?

Review submitted by Paige.

Reviews by You!

HolesHoles by Louis Sachar

Holes is about Stanley Yelnats who is accused of stealing a famous baseball player’s shoes and goes to Camp Green Lake, a desert where they dig holes. The Warden is looking for something, that Kate Barlow (a criminal) stole.

Review submitted by Michael.

 

Shards & Ashes edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong

I would definitely recommend this book to people who like sci-fi. I liked the fact that it was different short stories all in one book. I would give it 4/5 stars.

Review submitted by Izabella.

 

 

If You Find MeIf You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

In If You Find Me, the main character Carey lives within a national forest questioning and blocking the fact if she is real or not. Then Carey and Jenessa (her sister) find out that their mom disappears, but then is found by her father. In this book, Carey tries to figure out why her mother left her and to keep her own secrets to her as well.

Review submitted by Rahul.

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire book coverHarry Potter Year and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

This book is my favorite book from the series so far. It had many different twists and turns that keep me reading really late at night. This was an awesome book and I’d recommend to anyone reading Harry Potter books that they should read the whole series.

Review submitted by Nicole.

 

So Punk RockSo Punk Rock by Micol Ostow

I think this book was great. Ari does something different and does something other than get good grades. Ari’s story was great. 4.5/5 stars!

Review submitted by Peter.

 

 

PeanutPeanut by Ayun Halliday & Paul Hoppe

This book is a graphic novel where a girl moves and lies that she has a very serious peanut allergy. Her friend from her old school doesn’t talk to her anymore. Read the book to find out what happens!

Review submitted by Rebecca.

 

 

Drums Girls and Dangerous Pie book coverDrums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
This is a great book about a boy who is troubled about his brother having cancer. Funny, serious, and romantic book all in one! Don’t let the title fool you. It’s a great book!

Review submitted by Lea.

 

 

SchwaThe Schwa was Here by Neal Shusterman

I found this book very interesting. All the characters have unique personalities. The Schwa, also known as Calvin, faces many challenges. This story mixes a mystery with adventure. I would definitely recommend it.

Review submitted by Brianna.

 

homecoming book coverHomecoming by Cynthia Voigt

I really like this book! It is an adventurous story about four children: Dicey, James, Maybeth, and Sammy Tillerman. Their parents both ran off, and the book is about the children trying to find their Aunt Cilia’s house so that they can live there.

Review submitted by Rachel.

 

Roll of ThunderRoll of Thunder, Here My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

I thought the book was ok. It showed how you should stand up for yourself and what you believe in.

Review submitted by Mary.

 

Reviews by You!

MacbethMacbeth by Shakespeare

Macbeth and his wife seek a great amount of power. They will do anything to get it, including murder and other horrified crimes, making them criminals. Do they achieve their goal? Find out!

Review submitted by Atit.

 

 

All Your BaseAll Your Base Are Belong to Us by Harold Goldberg

If you grew up with video games or just like to play them, then this is definitely the book for you! It gives you the amazing history of many famous video games and systems that changed our lives forever! 5/5 stars!

Review submitted by Dev.

 

Change of heartChange of Heart by Shari Maurer

Athletic Emmi learns horrible news: her heart is failing. Throughout the story Emmi meets Abe, who already had heart surgery, and they instantly bond. Emmi goes through many tough times in her high school years.

Review submitted by Brandi.

 

Shug

Shug by Jenny Han

This book was about a girl named Anne Marie, and she likes Mark. But Mark likes Celia. Celia is Anne Marie’s older sister. Also, Anne Marie told her mom about Mark so the mom said try it out.

Review submitted by Kimberly.

 

homecomingHomecoming by Cynthia Voigt

In Homecoming, Dicey, James, Maybeth, and Sammy are abandoned by their mother. They go all over the country searching for a loving home. I love this book because it shows really good friendship, motivation, and kindness.

Review submitted by Alice.

 

Kimmie66Kimmie66 by Aaron Alexovich

It’s about a girl named Telly and her friend committed suicide and she’s trying to figure out why she did this and what was the point of it. At the end, Kimmie was still her friend and Telly was not mad at her.

Review submitted by Kaitlyn.

 

 

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

The book was suspenseful, adventurous, and creative. There are dragons and enchanted things. There are freaky parts, like when Hansel and Gretel hide in a closet when there is screaming in the kitchen and a devil in the house.

Review submitted by Anthony.

 

Wednesday WarsThe Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt

If you don’t like Shakespeare, you might want to take a look at this. Holling thinks his teacher hates him, especially when his teacher makes him read Shakespeare outside of school.

Review submitted by Jenefer.

 

 

BewareBeware! by R.L. Stine

It’s really scary especially when you read it at night. The slightest creek or something falling will make you jump.

Review submitted by Gabriella.

 

Between Mom and JoBetween Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters

This book was well written and about how the main character struggles to face the cruelty of kids while having two moms. This book was exciting and thrilling. I highly recommend it.

Review submitted by Emma.