A Chorus Rises: A Song Below Water Novel by Bethany C. Morrow
Teen & Young Adult Fiction | Reading age: 13 – 18 years
A Chorus Rises is a timely confrontation of the evolving nature of popularity in a society that chooses “exceptions” and rewards “model minorities.”
Meet Naema Bradshaw: a beautiful Eloko, once Portland-famous, now infamous, as she navigates a personal and public reckoning where confronting the limits of her privilege will show Naema what her magic really is, and who it makes her.
Teen influencer Naema Bradshaw has it all: she’s famous, stylish, gorgeous–and she’s an Eloko, a charismatic person gifted with a melody that people adore. Everyone loves her–until she’s cast as the villain who exposed a Siren to the whole world.
Dragged by the media, and canceled by her fans, no one understands her side: not her boyfriend, not her friends, not even her fellow Eloko. Villified by those closest to her, Naema heads to the Southwest where she is determined to stage a comeback… to her family, her real self, and the truth about her magic. What she finds is a new community in a flourishing group of online fans who support her.
At first, it feels like it used to–the fandom, the adoration, the community that takes her side–but when her online advocates start targeting other Black girls, Naema will realize that–for Black girls like her–even the privilege of fame has its limits. And only Naema can discover the true purpose of her power, and how to use it.
“A watery and melodic crossroads of the real and the mythic, A Chorus Rises lures readers with its seductive and beautifully Black siren song. An enthralling tale of Black girl magic and searing social commentary ready to rattle the bones.” ―Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles series
Prepare yourself for something unlike anything: A smash-up of art and text for teens that viscerally captures what it is to be Black. In America. Right Now. Written by #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Jason Reynolds.
Jason Reynolds and his best bud, Jason Griffin, had a mind-meld. And they decided to tackle it, in one fell swoop, in about ten sentences, and 300 pages of art, this piece, this contemplation-manifesto-fierce-vulnerable-gorgeous-terrifying-WhatIsWrongWithHumans-hope-filled-hopeful-searing-Eye-Poppingly-Illustrated-tender-heartbreaking-how-The-HECK-did-They-Come-UP-with-This project about oxygen. And all of the symbolism attached to that word, especially NOW.
And so for anyone who didn’t really know what it means to not be able to breathe, REALLY breathe, for generations, now you know. And those who already do, you’ll be nodding yep yep, that is exactly how it is.
Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood by Kwame Mbalia
Best Books Ages 9-12
THE INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • FIVE STARRED REVIEWS
Celebrate the joys of Black boyhood with stories from seventeen bestselling, critically acclaimed Black authors—including Jason Reynolds, Jerry Craft, and Kwame Mbalia.
★ “Pick up Black Boy Joy for a heavy dose of happiness.” —Booklist, starred review
Black boy joy is…
An Amazon Best Book of 2021
A Washington Post Best Book of 2021
A Boston Globe Best Book of 2021
A New York Public Library Best Book of 2021
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2021
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2021
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2021
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2021
A BookPage Best Book of 2021
From seventeen acclaimed Black male and non-binary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.
Contributors include: B. B. Alston, Dean Atta, P. Djèlí Clark, Jay Coles, Jerry Craft, Lamar Giles, Don P. Hooper, George M. Johnson, Varian Johnson, Kwame Mbalia, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Tochi Onyebuchi, Julian Randall, Jason Reynolds, Justin Reynolds, DaVaun Sanders, and Julian Winters
Everything Sad Is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri
Best Books Ages 9-12
A National Indie Bestseller
An NPR Best Book of the Year
A New York Times Best Book of the Year
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
A Booklist Editors’ Choice
A BookPage Best Book of the Year
A NECBA Windows & Mirrors Selection
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year
A Today.com Best of the Year
A sprawling, evocative, and groundbreaking autobiographical novel told in the unforgettable and hilarious voice of a young Iranian refugee. It is a powerfully layered novel that poses the questions: Who owns the truth? Who speaks it? Who believes it?
“A patchwork story is the shame of the refugee,” Nayeri writes early in the novel. In an Oklahoman middle school, Khosrou (whom everyone calls Daniel) stands in front of a skeptical audience of classmates, telling the tales of his family’s history, stretching back years, decades, and centuries. At the core is Daniel’s story of how they became refugees—starting with his mother’s vocal embrace of Christianity in a country that made such a thing a capital offense, and continuing through their midnight flight from the secret police, bribing their way onto a plane-to-anywhere.
Anywhere becomes the sad, cement refugee camps of Italy, and then finally asylum in the U.S. Implementing a distinct literary style and challenging western narrative structures, Nayeri deftly weaves through stories of the long and beautiful history of his family in Iran, adding a richness of ancient tales and Persian folklore.
Like Scheherazade of One Thousand and One Nights in a hostile classroom, Daniel spins a tale to save his own life: to stake his claim to the truth.
EVERYTHING SAD IS UNTRUE (a true story) is a tale of heartbreak and resilience and urges readers to speak their truth and be heard.
“Garvey in the Dark is more than a beautifully crafted novel in verse. It’s a story that faces news headlines and captures the wild emotional roller coaster of the COVID-19 pandemic with honesty and courage. A must-read for young people who lived through the early days of the outbreak as well as those who will be curious about it in years to come.” —Kate Messner, New York Times bestselling author
“With deceptive simplicity, Grimes captures characters and emotions by wielding a poetic form—the tanka—with superb and superhuman strength, and the result is a beautiful and brilliant book about how faith, grace, and familial love can help us triumph over adversity…” —Padma Venkatraman, Walter Award-winning author of The Bridge Home
Capturing the shock and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the eyes of Garvey, a beloved character, Nikki Grimes’s newest novel in verse shows readers how to find hope in difficult times.
Garvey’s finally happy—he’s feeling close to his father through their shared love of music, bullies are no longer tormenting him, and his best friends Manny and Joe are by his side. But when the schools, stores, and restaurants close because people are getting sick, Garvey’s improved life goes into lockdown as well. And when Garvey’s father gets sick, Garvey must find a way to use his newfound musical skills to bring hope to both his father and himself. Moving, powerful, and beautifully told, this remarkable novel shows readers how even small acts have large reverberations, how every person can make a difference in this world, and how—even in the most difficult times—there are ways to reach for hope and healing.
Nikki Grimes is a New York Times bestselling author who has won the ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to young adult literature, the Children’s Literature Legacy Award, the Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, and NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. She has also received several ALSC Notables, a Coretta Scott King Author Award, Coretta Scott King Author Honors, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honors, a Printz Honor, and a Sibert Honor.
Skin of the Sea (Of Mermaids and Orisa) by Natasha Bowen
Teen Young Adult › SciFi & Fantasy Grades: 9 – 12
The must-read Black mermaid fantasy series that #1 NYT bestselling author Nicola Yoon calls “epic and original,” in which one mermaid takes on the gods themselves. Perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and anyone who can’t wait for the live-action The Little Mermaid.
A way to survive.
A way to serve.
A way to save.
Simi prayed to the gods, once. Now she serves them as Mami Wata—a mermaid—collecting the souls of those who die at sea and blessing their journeys back home.
But when a living boy is thrown overboard, Simi goes against an ancient decree and does the unthinkable—she saves his life. And punishment awaits those who dare to defy the gods.
To protect the other Mami Wata, Simi must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends. But all is not as it seems. There’s the boy she rescued, who knows more than he should. And something is shadowing Simi, something that would rather see her fail . . .
Danger lurks at every turn, and as Simi draws closer, she must brave vengeful gods, treacherous lands, and legendary creatures. Because if she fails, she risks not only the fate of all Mami Wata, but also the world as she knows it.
Song Below Water by Bethany C Morrow
Teen & Young Adult › Science Fiction & Fantasy
Bethany C. Morrow’s A Song Below Water is the story for today’s readers ― a captivating modern fantasy about Black sirens, friendship, and self-discovery set against the challenges of today’s racism and sexism.
In a society determined to keep her under lock and key, Tavia must hide her siren powers.
Meanwhile, Effie is fighting her own family struggles, pitted against literal demons from her past. Together, these best friends must navigate through the perils of high school’s junior year.
But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice at the worst possible moment.
Soon, nothing in Portland, Oregon, seems safe. To save themselves from drowning, it’s only Tavia and Effie’s unbreakable sisterhood that proves to be the strongest magic of all.
“It’s beautiful and it’s brilliant.”–Jason Reynolds, #1 New York Times bestselling author and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
“An enthralling tale of Black girl magic and searing social commentary ready to rattle the bones.” ― Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles
In this YA novel in verse from bestselling authors Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess (Solo), which Kirkus called “lively, moving, and heartfelt” in a starred review, Noah and Walt just want to leave their geek days behind and find “cool,” but in the process discover a lot about first loves, friendship, and embracing life . . . as well as why Black Lives Matter is so important for all.
Best friends Noah and Walt are far from popular, but Walt is convinced junior year is their year, and he has a plan that includes wooing the girls of their dreams and becoming amazing athletes. Never mind he and Noah failed to make their baseball team yet again, and Noah’s crush since third grade, Sam, has him firmly in the friend zone. While Walt focuses on his program of jazz, podcasts, batting cages, and a “Hug Life” mentality, Noah feels stuck in status quo … until he stumbles on a stash of old love letters. Each one contains words Noah’s always wanted to say to Sam, and he begins secretly creating artwork using the lines that speak his heart. But when his art becomes public, Noah has a decision to make: continue his life in the dugout and possibly lose the girl forever, or take a swing and finally speak out.
At the same time, American flags are being left around town. While some think it’s a harmless prank and others see it as a form of protest, Noah can’t shake the feeling something bigger is happening to his community. Especially after he witnesses events that hint divides and prejudices run deeper than he realized.
As the personal and social tensions increase around them, Noah and Walt must decide what is really important when it comes to love, friendship, sacrifice, and fate.
If you enjoy Swing, check out Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess.
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
Book 1 of 2: The Gilded Ones
“A dark feminist tale spun with blood and gold. Must read!” –Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.
The start of a bold and immersive fantasy series for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther.
The Juju Girl by Nikki Marsh – Reading Age 14 – 18 years
Teen & Young Adult Coming of Age Fantasy
A Normal Girl. A Paranormal Gift. A Cryptic Mystery. A Dangerous Enemy.
Gabbie isn’t like other 15-year-olds. She sees things others can’t see. She hears things others can’t hear. She pierces the veil that separates the living from the dead.
When the Great Storm of 1893 rips her from her humble home on the banks of the Mississippi, it thrusts her into the dazzling world of New Orleans’ Creoles of Color High Society. It’s a world of debutantes, balls, and handsome young men in uniforms.
Superstition, mystery, magic, and conjure make of the very fabric of daily life. It counts both holy men of God and practitioners of the Dark Arts among its most honored denizens.
It’s here Gabbie learns her supernatural powers are part of something greater. But, she wants nothing to do with it.
Will that change when a malevolent ghost threatens the lives of those she loves or will it take an ill-fated romance? What will she learn on her journey of self-discovery? Will she find the courage to finally become the person she was born to be?
Winner of the 2022 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Award for the best self-published eBook in fiction by an African American author.
The Merciless Ones by Namina Forna
Book 2 of 2: The Gilded Ones
The epic, hotly anticipated sequel to the instant bestseller The Gilded Ones about a girl with the power to remake her world—or destroy it.
“Fans of Children of Blood and Bone, Mulan, and the Dora Milaje from Black Panther are going to adore [The Gilded Ones].”—BuzzFeed
It’s been six months since Deka freed the goddesses in the ancient kingdom of Otera and discovered who she really is… but war is waging across the kingdom, and the real battle has only just begun. For there is a dark force growing in Otera—a merciless power that Deka and her army must stop.
Yet hidden secrets threaten to destroy everything Deka has known. And with her own gifts changing, Deka must discover if she holds the key to saving Otera… or if she might be its greatest threat.
The Merciless Ones is the second thrilling installment of the epic fantasy series in which a young heroine fights against a world that would dare tame her.