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Amazing Books for Teens Exploring Black History

Teens respond to stories that are authentic, and the books on this list emerge from real-life experiences with everything from the Civil War and sharecropping in the American South to today's racial profiling and police shootings of young African Americans. From classics like Richard Wright's autobiography Black Boy to the graphic novel I Am Alfonso Jones, these selections should interest a wide range of readers. For more great teen reads, check out our Award-Winning African American Books and Books for Teens.

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How to Be a (Young) Antiracist

age 12+

Revealing record of young man's awakening to antiracism.

By: Ibram X. Kendi , Nic Stone (2023)
3 Black women and 1 Black man

And We Rise

age 13+

Weighty poems retell civil rights history.

By: Erica Martin (2022)
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice Poster Image

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

age 13+

Dramatic story of forgotten teen civil rights hero.

By: Phillip M. Hoose (2009)
Black Boy Poster Image

Black Boy

age 14+

Moving autobiography reveals brutality of Jim Crow South.

By: Richard Wright (2007)
Dear Martin Poster Image

Dear Martin

age 14+

Boy faces racial profiling in powerful, realistic tale.

By: Nic Stone (2017)
I Am Alfonso Jones Poster Image

I Am Alfonso Jones

age 14+

Powerful graphic novel explores police brutality.

By: Tony Medina (2017)
The Hate U Give Poster Image

The Hate U Give

age 13+

Powerful story of police shooting of unarmed Black teen.

By: Angie Thomas (2017)
Cover of Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist For Justice.

Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice

age 13+

Stirring graphic novel about a pioneering activist athlete.

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Black Birds in the Sky

age 14+

Gripping account of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre.

By: Brandy Colbert (2021)
The Black Kids Poster Image

The Black Kids

age 14+

Complex tale of prom drama during Rodney King riots.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Poster Image

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

age 14+

Poetic autobiography reveals impact of racial prejudice.

By: Maya Angelou (1969)
X: A Novel Poster Image

X: A Novel

age 14+

Thrilling and tragic novel about Malcolm X's troubled youth.

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The Color Purple

age 15+

Edgy tale of poor, abused woman's journey to independence.

By: Alice Walker (1982)