Booklist: Black & Brown Teen Fantasy Books

Booklist: Black & Brown Teen Fantasy Books

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.

Teen Stories: Booklist Inspired by Jerri Craft’s Graphic Novel “New Kid”

Teen Stories: Booklist Inspired by Jerri Craft’s Graphic Novel “New Kid”

“New Kid” by Jerry Craft is a graphic novel that shares the drama and experiences of Seventh Grader Jordan Banks. Banks lives in a New York neighborhood. He lives amongst Black youth and enjoys his time with them. When it is time to get back to school, his parents surprise him into enrolling into a private school. This school is in a different neighborhood, and Jordan is even escorted by a wealthy classmate in their limo. As a Black teen, Banks had to adjust to the expectations of his school where his school had predominantly white students. 

He experienced bias, discrimination, and prejudice amongst his peers and teachers. Right away, he just did not fit in with students nor classmates. His teacher said that saying the word “Dawg” is not nice and that he is a human being. Whenever he challenged his teacher, she never saw his side. 

What Jordan realized was that this school required him to play in his first organized school sport. This experience gave him a new experience and insight about his school culture. Over time his attitudes remain the same and some change. This graphic novel visually shares the joys and constraints that this teen lives of living in two different worlds. 

1. New Kid, by Jerry Craft

Below are additional books where teens have to manage transitions, friendships, and self-discovery. 

2. blended, by Sharon M. Draper


3. Twins, by Varian Johnson
A Graphic Novel

4. The Usual Suspects, by Maurice Broaddus

5. Public School Superhero by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts
A Graphic Novel

6. Genesis Begins Again, Alicia D. Williams

7. Ghetto Cowboy, by G_Neri
Illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson

8. For Black Girls Like Me, by Mariama J. Lockington

9. Middle School, The WORST Years of My Life,
by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts
A Graphic Novel

10. The Long Ride by Marina Budhos

Black History Facts about Civil Rights Leaders

Black History Facts about Civil Rights Leaders

As we look into celebrating Martin Luther King’s holiday, we should remember the individuals who fought alongside him to bring African Americans justice, equality, jobs, freedom, and so much more. Unknown organizers, freedom riders, activists, and marchers participated. Notably though, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Fannie Lou Hamer, and “Bob” Moses, are a select few of the individuals who were leaders in different ways during the Civil Rights era. The selfless efforts of these leaders and Martin Luther King,  earned African Americans freedom in the 1970s.

Learn more about each individual below.

1. Asa Philip Randolph (1889-1979)

Born in Crescent City, FL. Moved to NYC at 22 years old. 1915 Randolph started a political magazine called The Messenger which challenged labor policies, politics, black leadership, the war, and more. Randolph wanted to shift the narrative for laborers. So in 1925, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a union for Black railroad car workers, formed. Randolph’s work did not come easy, he was arrested, saw lynchings, and was born 24 years after the Civil War Ended. He influenced President Roosevelt to pass an Executive Order banning discrimination. By 1963, worked with Bayard Rustin to serve as a director for the March on Washington.

A Philip Randolph, Labor Leader Here

Rising from the Rails: Pullman Porters and the Rising of the Black Middle Class

2. Bayard Rustin (1910-1987)

Born in West Chester, PA. As a young person wrote poetry, played sports, and even sit-ins. 1936, Rustin joined the Young Communist League, but left early on. Worked closely with A. Philip Randolph to march for jobs and freedom to the U.S. government. Rustin was sadly beaten by Tennessee police for refusing to get off of a bus in 1942. 1947 spent 22 days on CHAIN GANG, and published his experience. He was active to end racial injustice in India, South Africa, and even advised Martin Luther King. Rustin stood for gay rights because he identified as a gay man during his lifetime.

We Are One, The Story of Bayard 

Troublemaker for Justice


Leaders Like Us: Bayard Rustiin

3. Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977)

Born in Mississippi. At six years old, Hamer worked in the cotton fields. Early on, her father was a successful land owner but angry white citizens poisoned the animals. 1962, Hamer and 17 others rented a bus to register to vote. Hamer’s group was denied to register and arrested. Hamer worked as a sharecropper as an adult, and because she tried to vote, she was fired. 1963, Hamer and SNCC started voter education training sessions. Group was arrested and Hamer had permanent kidney damage. 1964, Hamer formed Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party challenging delegation of all-white members. Hamer was a voice for the oppressed, and was unafraid to use it for change.

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer

 Brave Black First: 50+ African American Women Who Changed the World

4. Robert Parris Moses (1935- )

Born in New York City and earned a master’s degree from Harvard in 1957. Was a high school math teacher for a short period of time. 1964, organized the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project recruiting northern college students to increase Black voter registration. Moses worked with Hamer on the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and attended the Democratic National Convention in 1964. Moses believed that local people must develop their own leadership rather than depend on civil rights leaders. Moses is co-author of the book Radical Equations-Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project. Moses started “The Algebra Project to improve the math skills of young people.

Books About Peace

Books About Peace

Our nation is in turmoil and we need to think about the wonderful things that we have. Below is a list of books that builds discussions on acceptance, acts of kindness, gratitude, togetherness, mindfulness, and overcoming challenges for peace. We have listed books for PreK-5th grade readers about Peace. 

Pre-K-2nd Grade

1. Can You Say Peace? By Karen Katz


A picture where you can see the lives of children living in India, Africa, America, and other parts of the world. You learn what the word peace sounds in different countries. You can have a rich discussion on what peace sounds like and looks like in different countries.

2. We Share One World, by Jane E. Hoffelt

Beautiful images demonstrating the environment and lifestyles of children living in different parts of the world. Images are illustrated  to find the beauty in everyone’s community. Book is written to demonstrate how we are all connected on the planet.

3. I Am Human, by Susan Verde
A Book of Empathy

A book of affirmations about a little boy. “I find joy in friendships.” “I am a Human.”

4. Peace is an Offering, by Annette LeBox

Sharing experiences on what peace looks like. Peace can be showing gratitude, caring for insects, words one uses, and even caring for others. Many people want peace, but the author and illustrator simplify those experiences showing that peace occurs through someone’s actions and experiences.

5. All Are Welcome Here, by Alexandra Penfold

Children at school are playing during recess, in the cafeteria, in their own classroom and other parts of their school. The pictures support the message detailing “All are welcome here.” Children are from different cultures, ethnicities, religions, and physical appearances. The message is clear that no matter who you are and where you are from, you are welcome.

6. The Seed of Compassion by 14th Dalai Lam

“There are many simple ways to bring more happiness to this world.” The 14th Dalai Lam shares how he was chosen into his role and the teachings that his mother taught him. This story is for children to apply lessons on their own lives. He teaches that you must protect and nurture your seed (mind).

3rd-5th Grade

7. Grandpa Stops A War, by Susan Robeson

Paul Robeson was an actor, athlete, singer, and activist, April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976. He was a man who stood over 6 feet tall. Robeson was unafraid to speak against white supremacy. This story demonstrates Robeson’s ability to use his gifts to change the hearts and minds of people living in turmoil. During the Spanish Civil War, Robeson traveled to Spain and visited men on the battlegrounds. On the mike, he sang and soldiers stopped fighting to hear the sound of Robeson. Robeson lived during complicated times, and believed that artists had the responsibility to speak about injustices. He used his gifts to do that.

8. Hiawatha and the Peacemaker, by Robbie Robertson

A rich narrative about an American Indian named Hiawatha. He sought revenge because  an evil Chief desecrated his home and killed his family. One morning,  a spiritual man traveled across the land carried a message called “The Great Law.” He changed the heart of Hiawatha, and he agreed to journey alongside him. Hiawatha spoke this message for the Peacemaker connecting different Nations so that tribes could form peace. Each time they visited different tribes, others joined. Hiawatha proclaimed, “Together we paddled as [one] nation.” On their visit to the evil warriors tribe, Tadodaho, the Peacemaker sought healing over darkness. So he healed Tadodaho’s body, and Five Nations were formed.

9. A Bowl Full of Peace, by Caren Selson

Story based on a true experience where a Japanese family lived before their city of Nagasaki was bombed. Before the war, food was abundant, and families gathered around Grandmother’s bowl. When war struck, food was scarce but Grandmother’s bowl still offered food to warm the family’s heart. When Nagasaki was struck, millions perished. However members  of Sachiko’s family survived and used Grandmother’s bowl to eat ice chips. Unfortunately due to radiation, Sachiko’s family members died. However, the bowl now was used to remember what happened. Despite the hardship, Grandmother’s bowl is a reminder of the times of prosperity, famine, war, and reconciliation. Sachiko tells her story to restore peace.

10. Seeds of Change by Jen Cullerton Johnson

Wangari is taught to enjoy the delicious fruits in her Kenyan Village. Wangari is a part of the Kikuyu people. During Wangari’s childhood, many girls did not attend school. However, her parents gathered the money to enroll her. When it was time for Wangari to attend secondary school, she had to leave the village and attend school in the city. Her family told her to remember the mugumo tree and to protect it. Wangari loved science and studied photosynthesis. She ended up migrating to the states to further her studies. After graduation, Wangari went back to Kenya to do something for her village. Villagers laughed at her for empowering women to work and educate themselves. However, Wangari did not stop calling her work the “Green Belt Movement.” Wangari’s movement threatened a corporation so she was jailed. Luckily her supporters on the outside fought for her freedom. Wangari eventually became a minister of the environment and continued planting trees.

11. Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time by Tanya Lee Stone

A book about young women across the world. These girls are speaking out, protesting, and fighting for the rights to give other girls an equitable future. The author and photographers documented their stories in person to show how they live. These girls have inspiring stories that are pushing to challenge the tremendous challenges in their communities. If any of these girls solve problems, peace and hope can impact our future.

Children’s Stories about Hanukkah

Children’s Stories about Hanukkah

Hanukkah is a holiday celebrated in December for 8 days. The start date might change which begins each year on the 25th day of the Jewish month. This day is also spelled Chanukah. For centuries, Jewish people have had to fight for their religious freedom. Hanukkah is such a special time because they can reflect and remember the story of the Maccabees. These warriors stood up for their religion. 

Today families all across the world celebrate this holiday with food cooked with oil, light the Menorah, play games, gather, and enjoy the blessings they have. These children’s books below are a window into this celebration.

Light the Menorah!, A Hanukkah Handbook by Jacqueline Jules

A nonfiction picture book explaining what occurs on each night and what happened historically on each night of Hanukkah. This story provides a holistic explanation on why and how Jewish members celebrate during this time. Book also has recipes and crafts to celebrate this holiday. 

Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas by Pamela Ehrenberg

A family celebrates Hanukkah with dosas, mango lassi, and the Menorah. A boy’s younger sister is a climber. While the family prepares for their celebration, his little sister climbs and climbs. To get his sister’s attention, he signs a song, and she climbs down. On the day of Hanukkah, the boy and his family were locked out of their home. He was able to sing a song to his sister and she climbed into the small opened window to let them in, saving Hanukkah. 

A Hanukkah with Mazel, by Joel Edward Stein

Misha is a poor artist. One day a cat was found in his barn. Misha cared for the cat and named her Mazel. Misha did not have enough candles to light up for Hanukkah so he painted the menorah and candle lights each night of Hanukkah. Mazel became his good friend where they ate Latkes and Mazel drank milk. Misha, the artist, enjoys his Hanukkah with his new friend Mazel.

Little Red Ruthie, A Hanukkah Tale, by Gloria Koster

This treasured story of Little Red Riding Hood is written to celebrate Hanukkah. Ruthie had to take a stroll to her grandmother’s house to make Latkes for Hanukkah. On her walk, a wolf threatened to eat her, but she tricked the wolf that he could eat her after she was stuffed 8 days later after her Hanukkah meals. The wolf ended up pretending to be Ruthie’s grandmother, just like the original story. However at the end, Ruthie tricked the wolf and he was too stuffed from her latkes to eat her. 

Meet the Latkes, by Alan Silberberg

Latkes are potatoes that are grated down and fried that families eat during the Hanukkah celebration. A fictitious family of Latkes discuss the origins of Hanukkah. A grandfather tells his family why it is important to decorate the house, why he says Chanukah over Hanukkah, and most importantly why Hanukkah is celebrated. It is celebrated to commemorate the Maccabees who fought for religious freedom from a dubious king. The menorah is burned for 8 days, because the Jews who won against the king witnessed their oil lamp burning for 8 days when they did not have enough oil for 8 days. This was considered a miracle and that is how Hanukkah began. 

All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah, by Emily Jenkins

A story inspired from other books by Sydney Taylor. 

It is 1912 in New York’s Lower East Side. Gertie’s four sisters and mother prepare the meal for Hanukkah. Gertie is four and she wants to help in the kitchen. However, when everyone is stirring, grating, whipping, and mixing, Gertie watches with delight. Gertie tries so hard to help, but Mama takes her out of the kitchen because she knows Gertie cannot help. Even though Gertie is sad, she listens to her sisters preparing. When Papa gets home he surprises her and lets Gertie light the first candle on the menorah. 

The Missing Letters, A Dreidel Story by Renee Londner

Dreidels are a cultural element to the celebration of Hanukkah. Dreidel letters are personified. These letters live in a dreidel makers shop. When they are made they think that Nobody likes them because the dreidel does not stop on them. So the next day the dreidel maker discovers the letters on each dreidel are missing. To comfort his helper, he discusses why the dreidel is so significant during Hanukkah. Once the missing letters discovered their importance, they changed their minds and reappear on the dreidels. 

Hanukkah, by Rachel Grack

A nonfiction text describing how Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday. Story explains the significance of lighting the menorah, whey eating foods made with oil is significant, and more. You can get a glimpse into this wonderful celebration. 


10 Children’s Books About Kwanzaa

10 Children’s Books About Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a holiday that originated in 1966 to help African-Americans think of their African ancestry. It is based on the East African principles from the Swahili language. Traditionally, Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26-January 1. It is where families feast, fast, and examine their selves. There are numerous holidays celebrated during Kwanzaa, and it is not meant to replace Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, New Year’s, or other holidays.

You can find guiding principles from the Swahili language.

  • Umoja-Unity
  • Kujichagulia-Self-Determination
  • Ujima-Collective Work and Responsibility
  • Ujamaa-Cooperative Economics
  • Nia-Purpose
  • Kuumba-Creativity
  • Imani-Faith


Below are 10 Children’s books inspired from this holiday.


1. A Kwanzaa Keepsake, by Jessica B Harris

This holistic book details what each night means, historical people, and food that can be prepared. This book can be enjoyed by the entire family to learn and practice new insights about Kwanzaa.

 2. Kwanzaa Crafts, by Carol Gnojewski

Crafts inspired from African principles. Encourage creativity and less screen time with game making, basket making, and economic discussions. There are many things that children and families can do to celebrate Kwanzaa.

 3. The Kwanzaa Coloring Book

A coloring book that makes the experience interactive on learning about Kwanzaa principles.

4. Kwanzaa by Lola J. Amstutz

A text that explains how Kwanzaa is celebrated.

 5. African-American Holidays by Faith Winchester

This book explains different holidays that contribute to the African American experience: MLK day, Black History Month, Juneteenth, and Kwanzaa.



6. Kevin’s Kwanzaa, by Lisa Bullard

Story explains the activities and experiences that Kevin participates with his family and community. His grandpa teaches his family about candle lighting, word meanings, and the man who established Kwanzaa. Last they show the celebration of Kwanzaa where Kevin’s family and friends dance and celebrate together.

7. My First Kwanzaa, by Karen Katz

Written from the girl’s perspective about celebrating Kwanzaa. Also there is a pronunciation guide.

8. Messy Bessey’s Holidays, by Patricia and Fredrick McKissack

Bessy and her mother bake holiday cookies for Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. She explains her joy for sharing these treats. There is even a description about each holiday and how they are different.


9. Seven Spools of Thread, A Kwanzaa Story, by Angela Shelf Medearis

Seven Ashanti brothers quarrel all of the time. Once their father died, the chief told them they had to work together so they could receive their father’s inheritance. They found a way to turn spools of thread into gold. At the end they taught their village how to thread, and learned the principles of Kwanzaa to help themselves and community.

10. Lil Rabbit’s Kwanza, by Donna Washington, Illustrated by Shane Evans

L’il Rabbit searches for a gift for his grandmother when she is sick during Kwanzaa, and surprises her with the best gift of all. Includes “The Nguzo Saba – The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa.”