Celebrating Juneteenth: Books for Teens

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Bolden, Tonya

A commemorative introduction to the Emancipation Proclamation provides excerpts from historical sources, reproductions of archival images, and lesser-known facts that challenge popular beliefs.

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Browne, Mahogany L.

Picked on at home, criticized for talking trash while beating boys at basketball, and always seen as less than her best friend, a girl struggles to like and accept herself.

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Callender, Kacen

Felix Love, a transgender seventeen-year-old, attempts to get revenge by catfishing his anonymous bully, but lands in a quasi-love triangle with his former enemy and his best friend.

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Davis, Charlotte Nicole

The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls -- they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a "welcome house" as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen. When Clementine accidentally kills a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta's most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.

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Dionne, Evette

For African American women, the fight for the right to vote was only one battle. An eye-opening book that tells the important, overlooked story of black women as a force in the suffrage movement--when fellow suffragists did not accept them as equal partners in the struggle.

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Draper, Sharon M.

Two fifteen-year-old girls--one a slave and the other an indentured servant--escape their Carolina plantation and try to make their way to Fort Moses, Florida, a Spanish colony that gives sanctuary to slaves.

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Gates, Henry Louis, Jr.

This is a story about America during and after Reconstruction, one of history's most pivotal and misunderstood chapters. In a stirring account of emancipation, the struggle for citizenship and national reunion, and the advent of racial segregation, the renowned Harvard scholar delivers a book that is illuminating and timely. Real-life accounts drive the narrative, spanning the half century between the Civil War and Birth of a Nation. Here, you will come face-to-face with the people and events of Reconstruction's noble democratic experiment, its tragic undermining, and the drawing of a new "color line" in the long Jim Crow era that followed. In introducing young readers to them, and to the resiliency of the African American people at times of progress and betrayal, Professor Gates shares a history that remains vitally relevant today.

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Grimes, Nikki

A group of high school students grow in understanding of each other's challenges and forge unexpected connections as they prepare for a boys vs. girls poetry slam. Includes author's note about foster home care.

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Hamilton, Virginia

Retold Afro-American folktales of animals, fantasy, the supernatural, and desire for freedom, born of the sorrow of the slaves, but passed on in hope.

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Harasymiw, Therese

When people are routinely and systematically oppressed for years, it is only logical that they eventually rise up against their oppressors. For African slaves in North America, these rebellions were largely unsuccessful. Nevertheless, the anger and uprisings that came from people who wanted their freedom and were willing to fight for it are important parts of the story of the fight to end slavery. Readers get a deeper understanding of crucial slave rebellions throughout history through thoroughly researched text, primary sources, and topical photographs.

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Ireland, Justina

When families go missing in Baltimore County, Jane McKeene, who is studying to become an Attendant, finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy that has her fighting for her life against powerful enemies.

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Katz, William Loren

A biographical history of influential African American pioneers and freedom fighters in the Midwest, including Sara Jane Woodson, Peter Clark, and Dred Scott.

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Nelson, Marilyn

A powerful biography in poems about Augusta Savage, the trailblazing artist and pillar of the Harlem Renaissance-with an afterword by the curator of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

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Oshiro, Mark

Six years ago, Moss Jefferies' father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media's vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks. Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals in their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration. When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.

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Petrus, Junauda

Told in two voices, sixteen-year-old Audre and Mabel, both young women of color from different backgrounds, fall in love and figure out how to care for each other as one of them faces a fatal illness.

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Reynolds, Jason

A smash up of art and text that viscerally captures what it means to not be able to breathe, and how the people and things you love most are actually the oxygen you most need.

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Reynolds, Jason

A history of racist and antiracist ideas in America, from their roots in Europe until today, adapted from the National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning.

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Thomas, R. Eric

Propelled by his best friend's impending move out of state and inspired by Ferris Bueller's Day Off, sixteen-year-old Harrison plans a farewell through Baltimore that includes a road trip, their first Pride, and a rooftop dance party.

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Watson, Renée

Harlem teenager Nala is looking forward to a summer of movies and ice cream until she falls in love with the very woke Tye and pretends to be a social activist.

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Willen, Janet

From the early days of the antislavery movement, when political action by women was frowned upon, British and American women were tireless and uncompromising campaigners. Without their efforts, emancipation would have taken much longer. And the commitment of today's women, who fight against human trafficking and child slavery, descends directly from that of the early female activists. Speak a Word for Freedom: Women against Slavery tells the story of fourteen of these women.

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Williams-Garcia, Rita

In 1860 Louisiana, eighty-year-old Madame Sylvie decides to sit for a portrait, as horrific stories that span generations from the big house and the fields are revealed.

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Zoboi, Ibi (editor)

A collection of short stories explore what it is like to be young and black, centering on the experiences of black teenagers and emphasizing that one person's experiences, reality, and personal identity are different than someone else.

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.