African American Identity & Everyday Life: Books for Middle School

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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.

Just South of Home

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.

The Only Black Girls in Town

In a predominately white California beach town, the only two black twelve-year-old girls, Alberta and Edie, find hidden journals that uncover family secrets and speak to race relations in the past. You can also check out this title as eAudio on Hoopla.

The Parker Inheritance

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.

Princeless. Vol 1, Save Yourself

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

So Done

When two best friends are reunited after a summer apart, their friendship threatens to combust from the pressure of secrets, middle school, and looming auditions for a potentially life-changing new talented-and-gifted program. You can also check out this title as eAudio on Hoopla.

Some Places More Than Others

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.