Teens in grades 6-8 can gain confidence and joy in seeing themselves and those around them represented in books. The following stories present African American teens as leading characters. Caregivers and educators can encourage reading books with racially diverse characters by offering these and other titles on class reading lists, in a shared reading space, and through conversations.
Zoe has never met her father because he has been in prison since just before she was born. She’s busy pursuing her goal of being on the Food Network Kids Bake Challenge when she gets a letter from him, right before her twelfth birthday, throwing her emotions and plans into disarray. You can also check out this title as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby, as eAudio on Hoopla, as eBook on OverDrive/Libby or as eBook on Hoopla.
When Sarah’s cousin, Janie arrives for a visit, Sarah’s plans are completely squashed. Janie has a knack for getting into trouble and asks Sarah to take her to Creek Church: a landmark of their small town that she heard was haunted. It’s also off-limits. Janie’s sticky fingers lead Sarah, Ellis and his best friend, Jasper, to uncover a deep-seated part of the town’s past. With a bit of luck, this foursome will heal the place they call home and the people within it they call family. This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Overdrive/Libby.
Ten middle-schoolers walk home from school. Ten lives, ten unique points of view, ten minds thinking of jokes, grandparents, boogers, money, fear, love, and skateboarding, among other things. And a school bus, falling from the sky. You can also check out this title as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby or as eBook on OverDrive/Libby.
In 2007, Abigail Caldwell, the first female and African American city manager for the town of Lambert, South Carolina, was forced to resign after covertly digging up the municipal tennis courts in search of buried treasure. Now, a decade later, the late Abigail’s twelve-year-old granddaughter Candice is following the same arcane clues, hoping to uncover the Parker inheritance. But who was Parker? You can also check out this title as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby, as eBook on OverDrive/Libby or as eAudio on Hoopla.
Princess Adrienne is tired of being locked in a tower, waiting around to be rescued by a prince. She escapes from the tower with the help of her guardian dragon, Sparky, and with her plucky sidekick Bedelia, Adrienne sets off on a quest to rescue her sisters who are suffering the same fate. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby.
Amara longs to visit Harlem and her father’s family. When she gets the chance, it’s not as fun an experience as she had hoped. Slowly, she finds a connection with her family history and the place that they call home. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby.
Seventh-grader Tristan Strong tumbles into the MidPass and, with allies John Henry and Brer Rabbit, must entice the god Anansi to come out of hiding and seal the hole Tristan accidentally ripped in the sky. You can also check out this title as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby, as eBook on OverDrive/Libby or as eBook on Hoopla.
Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends but they seem to be growing apart as they enter middle school.