The Radical Monarchs Founders' Picks: Coming-of-Age Books by Women of Color

In 2014, Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest and their daughters formed the Radical Monarchs, a scouting group for girls of color focused on social justice and self-empowerment. Since then, the group has grown into a national organization dedicated to teaching self-love to young girls of color as they work to make a difference and fight for justice in their communities. This includes earning merit badges like Black Lives Matter, Radical Coding, or Pachamama Justice. The group also inspired an award-winning documentary, We Are the Radical Monarchs, which premiered on PBS on July 20, 2020.

As experts in supporting girls and girl-identifying tweens of color, Anayvette and Marilyn have selected these coming-of-age novels as empowering, inspiring stories for young people. "These are some of our favorite books written by brilliant women of color that center a young person's journey to self-discovery, identity, empowerment, love, and joy," they say of the featured picks. To learn more about the Radical Monarchs, watch the documentary or find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or their website.

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The Poet X Poster Image

The Poet X

age 13+

Powerful, haunting story of finding your voice and power.

By: Elizabeth Acevedo (2018)
The Body Is Not an Apology Poster Image

The Body Is Not an Apology

age 14+

Ambitious exploration of the power of self-love.

By: Sonya Renee Taylor (2020)
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter Poster Image

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

age 14+

Empowering, stereotype-shattering coming-of-age story.

By: Erika L. Sanchez (2017)
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them Poster Image

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them

age 14+

Teen girls fall in love, face death in breathtaking tale.

By: Junauda Petrus (2019)
Juliet Takes a Breath Poster Image

Juliet Takes a Breath

age 15+

College student navigates identities in funny, moving tale.

By: Gabby Rivera (2020)