Recommended YA Reads for Black History Month

By Emily S. RSS Mon, February 22, 2021

Looking for YA titles that celebrate Black lives? Dig into these recommended #OwnVoices reads!

Whether you’re into short stories, fantastical worlds, hard-hitting realistic fiction, or coming-of-age love stories, we’ve got you covered. All of the following recommendations are available in book, ebook, audiobook formats from our catalog

A Phoenix First Must Burn: Stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope edited by Patrice Caldwell
Black girls, including gender non-conforming individuals, star in this collection of sixteen stories of fantasy, science fiction, and magic.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Toni Adeyemi
After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could have imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji but nobles with magic ancestry, too. With civil war looming, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: She must devise a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.

If you’re new to Adeyemi’s fierce and imaginative world-building, start with the first in the Legacy of Orïsha trilogy, Children of Blood and Bone

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Sixteen-year-olds Camino Rios, of the Dominican Republic, and Yahaira Rios, of New York City, are devastated to learn of their father's death in a plane crash and stunned to learn of each other's existence. A novel in verse, told in two voices.

And be sure to check out the 2021 One Book, One Philadelphia YA selection also by Acevedo, The Poet X!

Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Top of his class at prep school, but from a rough neighborhood, Justice McAllister is shaken by a run-in with police. He begins a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wondering if his ideas still apply today. "Then Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly, Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs In the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack."

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Felix Love has never been in love, painful irony that it is. He desperately wants to know why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. He is proud of his identity, but fears that he's one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender. When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix's deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. He didn't count on his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle.

This title is also an #OwnVoices title from a Black queer and trans author. They live in Philadelphia, too!

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant
Jane the Virgin meets To All the Boys I've Loved Before in this charming debut romantic comedy filled with Black Girl Magic. Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She's rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she's excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just... gone. Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own. But is it the one she wants, after all?

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert
Sixteen-year-old Dove "Birdie" Randolph's close bond with her parents is threatened by a family secret, and by hiding her relationship with Booker, who has been in juvenile detention.

For these titles and even more reading recommendations, explore the YA Black History Month Reads booklist in our catalog.

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