Booklist Inspired by Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Looking for good graphic novels or novels for your teen?
Discover young adult fantasy books written about a Black or Brown teen.

1. The Gilded Ones, by Namina Forna, (2020) Deka lives in an unknown land and learns that her blood is made of gold. Young women must go through a Purity Ritual to see if their blood is gold or red. Gold bleeders living in shame, ostracized. They are held captive where their blood is harvested. Deka’s fate is tumultuous, and she learns about another path. She can stay and suffer, or join an army with other Gilded Ones or Alaki to fight the enemy. In this new place, Deka identifies her true self and learns that fighting for a cause has major sacrifices and victories. Her mentor encouraged her to look deeper within and in the end, Deka was determined to fight for women and change the narrative of the Gilded Ones.

2. A Song Below Water, by Bethany Morrow (2020)  Tavia is a mermaid living in Portland, OR. Her community condemns mermaids also known as sirens. So she must hide her identity but still secretly keeps her identity alive at home and with the friends in her choir. Effie her Best friend is not a mermaid, but the closest to Tavia since she has her struggles. They share a love for the water. When another Siren is murdered, Tavia’s world shakes up and is trying to keep out of sight but find justice for another targeted woman.

3. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Marvel Comic Series (2015-2019) A comic book series from 2015-2019 about Lunella aka “Moon Girl.” She is confident, powerful, and an inventive mind. Lunella gained powers after an incident gave her inhuman powers. One day she locates an Omni that she wants to tinker with to help her cure her inhumanness. This Omni is a time-traveling portal that brought the Devil Dinosaur and cavemen to her city-New York. This story is the first of many. It is about a young black girl who does not fit in already. But now that she is walking around with this colossal dinosaur.

4. A Blade So Black, by L.L. McKinney (2018) Alice lives a “normal life” her mom works a normal job. Alice attends high school, and Alice is grieving over  of loss her dad who recently died. But one terrifying day, she is being chased by a monster. She identifies that she is not normal and has superpowers. She can walk in and out of Wonderland-the land of dreams. She sees the dreams and nightmares of humans living on Earth. She also sees the nightmares and has to fight the monsters when nightmares appear. Alice must decide how to live in both worlds but also keep her other life secret from her mom.

5. A Dream So Dark, by L.L. McKinney (2019) Book 2 from A Blade So Black. Alice has an even bigger nightmare to fight. This time, she has to save the world because an evil queen is trying to become resurrected. Alice can no longer keep this secret hidden from her mother

6. Rebel Sisters by Tochi Onyebuchi (2020) Their world is cyberized where some people can download their memories and others cannot. This is Book 2, Ify is dealing with the war that happened before. Ify’s memories are coming back because her life was impacted by the war. Her home is Nigeria and she lives in space. A fantasy book about a teen wanting change.

7. Nubia, Real One by L.L. McKinney (2021) A DC comic book. Nubia, a teen superhero. She has the strength to fight villains. She lives in a modern-day society where she deals with having two moms, police brutality, and school. Nubia hides her powers and only shows them to protect the people she loves comes into harm. She scared away armed robbers, and she rescued her friend when she was being threatened. Regardless of the turmoil, Nubia is strong a powerful teen who is trying to find her way to live in modern society.

8. The Interrogation of Ashla Wolf, by Ambelin Kwaymullina   
Ashla Wolf is a leader of a tribe. Ashla and her tribal members all have powers. When Ashla becomes a teenager, she is locked up because all people holding powers are considered illegal. She is trying to escape and protect her tribe. While she is dealing with Connor who is spying on her and he holds a lot of power in the detention center. This story was inspired from the cultural heritage of the author’s ancestry in Australia. Critically, the reader will find cultural elements and fantasy in this novel.


9. Shadoweyes by Sofie Campbell, 2011
Scout’s community is plagued with crime, and she wants to fight. Nevertheless, one evening she placed on her cap attempting to stop someone. Unfortunately, she was hit by a brick. After her recovery, something happened. One minute she was Scout, the next, she turned into a blue alien creature called “Shadoweyes.” Whenever Scout turned into “Shadoweyes” she could now fight and save the people who needed her help.

10. Legendborn by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Most importantly, above you can find a new fantasy novel or graphic novel for a young adult. The characters are inventive, strong, and of course a Black or Brown girl. If you want to learn more on to evaluate their a book featuring a person of color, Click Here.