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    Revamp Your Kid’s Bookshelf With These 15 Young-Adult Fiction Books On Antiracism

    Revamp Your Kid’s Bookshelf With These 15 Young-Adult Fiction Books On Antiracism

    young-adult fiction books on antiracism

    Diversifying your bookshelf and revamping the same from time to time is extremely vital to keep your mind focused and renewed. On the same note, it’s equally important to educate and inform our kids of everything that would help them take their minds towards a positive world where terms like racism don’t exist.

    Working in favor of antiracist allies does not end with donating, protesting, and discussing social media. Doing your role as an active member of the antiracist partners to the Black community is only done by educating our next generation to walk the right path and bring it into action.

    Start with a revamped bookshelf for your kids – especially the ones in their pre-teens and early teens. Buy books – both fiction and non-fiction – written by or about Black authors, and at the same time, keep infusing them with the belief in everything right and empowering. Tell them stories and incidents that inspire them to love every single human being.

    The only point is to make sure the kids listen, read, learn, follow, and grow in the environment where the only thing conveyed and taught is to treat everyone around with equality.

    Here are 15 young-adult fiction books on antiracism that carry the same motto.

    All products featured on The Influence Times are selected based on what our editors truly love. If you end up purchasing through our links, we may earn a small affiliate commission.

    1. We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices

    By: Fifty diverse creators

    For: 8-12 years

    When the world seems to have gone bleak with racism and prejudice running widespread, let this book with 96-pages of poems, letters, essays, illustrations, and art lend its voice to young readers and activists. This colored, keepsake collection is guaranteed to empower the nation’s upcoming generation to listen, learn, and build a nation where everyone is equal.

    Contributed by industry leaders as Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming), Jason Reynolds (All American Boys), Kwame Alexander (The Crossover), Andrea Pippins (I Love My Hair), Sharon Draper (Out of My Mind), Rita Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer), Ellen Oh (co-founder of We Need Diverse Books), and artists Ekua Holmes, Rafael Lopez, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, and more, this piece of art must find a place in your kid’s bookshelf.

    2. A Good Kind of Trouble

    By: Lisa Moore Ramée 

    For: 8-12 years

    As described in the book’s front flap, it is about a 12-years old girl Shayla who doesn’t tolerate trouble. She is too particular about following rules. The description of the book goes like this: “Twelve-year-old Shayla is allergic to trouble. All she wants to do is to follow the rules. (Oh, and she’d also like to make it through seventh grade with her best friendships intact, learn to run track, and have a cute boy see past her giant forehead.)

    But in junior high, it’s like all the rules have changed. Now she’s suddenly questioning who her best friends are, and some people at school are saying she’s not black enough. Wait, what?

    Shay’s sister, Hana, is involved in Black Lives Matter, but Shay doesn’t think that’s for her. After experiencing a powerful protest, though, Shay decides some rules are worth breaking. She starts wearing an armband to school in support of the Black Lives movement. Soon everyone is taking sides. And she is given an ultimatum.

    Shay is scared to do the wrong thing (and even more scared to do the right thing), but if she doesn’t face her fear, she’ll be forever tripping over the next hurdle. Now that’s trouble, for real.”

    A must-buy for your kid to relate with Shayla’s life and principles.

    3. Genesis Begins Again

    By: Alicia D. Williams

    For: 9-13 years

    The novel is a compassionate and compelling one that narrates the story of a thirteen-years-old Genesis who must learn to love herself. And in the process, she must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family. There are several reasons why Genesis doesn’t like in herself, and she has practically made a list of 96 such reasons, which includes:

    • Her family is always being thrown out of the house.
    • Her dad has a gambling problem and probably a drinking problem too.
    • Genesis knows this is all her fault.
    • She wasn’t born looking like mama.
    • She is black.

    Genesis aims to fix her family, and she can go to extremes to do the needful. That might involve self-harm as well! But once Genesis starts to find few things in herself that she actually likes, she also discovers that changing her own attitude is the first step in helping others change.

    4. Just Mercy (Adapted For Young Adults)

    By: Bryan Stevenson

    For: 9-12 years

    The book is adapted from the bestseller of the same name. In this personal work, acclaimed lawyer and social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson offers a glimpse into the wrongfully imprisoned lives and his efforts to fight for their freedom.

    The novel is all about protecting the fundamental human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. It is to empower the poor, the wrongly convicted, and those marked by discrimination and marginalization. It is one of the best young-adult fiction books on antiracism to teach young people of today to be active and compassionate in the pursuit of justice.

    A part of this book’s sale proceeds goes for charity to benefit the voiceless and the vulnerable as they try to navigate the broken justice system of U.S.

    5. Ways to Make Sunshine

    By: Renée Watson

    For: 7-10 years

    A warm creation by acclaimed author Renee Watson, the novel narrates the story of Ryan, a Black girl, and her family, in the start to an adorabe new series.

    Ryan Hart deals with a lot on her mind, including school, self-image, and especially family. Her dad finally has a new job, but money is tight, making him take decisions like selling their second car and moving to a new pre-owned house. But Ryan knows how to make sunshine out of setbacks. As her brother says, she has got the talent that matters most. It’s a talent that can’t be seen; she’s nice, not mean!

    Ryan, a positive person who tries to see the best in people and be it a good friend, a good sister, and a good daughter. But even if her life isn’t everything she would wish for when her big brother is infuriating, her parents don’t quite understand, and the unexpected happens, she always finds a way forward, with grace and wit. “And plenty of sunshine.”

    6. The Hate U Give

    By: Angie Thomas

    For: 13 years and above

    As described at the back cover of the novel, the plot goes like: “Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

    Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

    But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.”

    7. The Black Kids  

    By: Christina Hammonds Reed

    For: 13 years and above

    Ashley Bennett and her friends are leading a charmed life. Towards the end of senior year, they’re spending more time at the beach than in the classroom to feel the sunny days and endless summer possibilities.

    Suddenly, everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. And that very moment, Ashley’s not just one of the girls, but one of the black kids.

    Nothing remains the usual normal as violent protests engulf LA and the city burns. However, Ashley tries her best to be normal, even as her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. The model black family façade her wealthy and prominent parents have built starts to crumble. She even finds her best friends help spread a rumor that could completely derail her classmate and fellow black kid, LaShawn Johnson’s future.

    With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who they actually are!

    8. Black Card

    By: Chris L. Terry

    For: 13 years and above

    Black Card is an uncompromising examination of American identity. A mixed-race punk rock musician tries to be “black enough” and indulges in stereotypical views of African American life by doing “Black stuff” as his white bandmates call it. During a racist incident, the unnamed narrator remains silent and has his Black Card revoked by Lucius, his guide through Richmond, Virginia, where Confederate flags and memorials are a part of everyday life.

    He is determined to win back his Black Card, sings rap songs at an all-white country music karaoke night, absorbs the black pop culture, and attempts to date his Black co-worker Mona, who is attacked one night. Ironically, the narrator starts becoming the prime suspect, gaining John Donahue’s attention, a local police officer dating back to high school. Forced to fight his past, the relationship with his black father and white mother. Also faces the real dangers and consequences of being Black in America. Narrator decides to choose who he is before the world decides for him.

    9. This Is My America

    By: Kim Johnson

    For: 12 years and above

    This heart wrenching yet motivational fiction is about a seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont who writes letters to Innocence X. In all her letters, she pleads the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row in less than 300 days. Meanwhile, it gets worse when the police take Tracy’s old brother Jamal, accusing him as a “thug” for killing a white girl. Tracy is determined to save her brother and investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike.

    But will she be able to uncover the ghosts of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?

    10. Full Disclosure

    By: Camryn Garrett

    For: 13 years and above

    Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school with a new approach to make real friends and her own identity as a student director of Rent. She also wants to make a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is to know she’s HIV-positive.

    Keeping her viral load under control is unchallenging. However, keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not easy. As Simone and Miles start seeing each other for real, their relationship grows from shy kisses to others. Her feelings accelerate from uneasiness to beyond butterflies. She knows that she’ll have to tell him that she’s optimistic, especially if sex is a possibility. But she can’t gather courage as she is terrified of his possible reaction. And then, one day, she finds an anonymous note in her locker threatening to tell Miles about her HIV and directly asking her to stop going out with him by Thanksgiving.

    Simone’s first instinct is to hide her secrets from everyone. However, she starts gaining a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in the community. She then realizes that maybe the only way to rise is by facing the haters.

    11. All American Boys

    By: Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

    For: 12 years and above

    Rashad, a 16-years old, needs a bag of chips at the corner bodega. Sadly, a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, mistakes him for a shoplifter. Paul mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he has stolen nothing for belligerence. He believes that Rashad’s aversion to leave the bodega as resisting arrest. He mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to stay still as ordered.

    But is it easy to stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?

    There were witnesses, though, including a varsity basketball player, Quinn Collins, Rashad’s classmate, raised by Paul, and a video camera. The beating news goes viral, and Paul gets terrorized with allegation of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn denies to believe that the man who has basically been his savior might be guilty. But with Rashad’s prolonged absence, it makes him wonder. Half of the basketball team that is Rashad’s best friends, start to take sides along with the school and the whole town. Heating tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face the consequences and decisions they had never considered before.

    12. This Side of Home

    By: Renée Watson

    For: 13 years and above

    Maya Younger and her identical twin sister, Nikki, have always agreed on the important things. Friends. Boys. School. They even plan to attend the same historically African American college.

    But nothing can always remain the same.

    As their Portland neighborhood goes from rough-and-tumble to up-and-coming, Maya feels her connection to Nikki and their community slipping away. Nikki spends more time at trendy coffee shops than backyard barbecues, and their new high school principal is more committed to erasing the neighborhood’s “ghetto” reputation than honoring its history. Home doesn’t feel like home anymore. As Maya struggles to hold on to her black heritage, she begins to wonder with whom–or where–she belongs. Does growing up have to mean growing apart?

    13. Stella by Starlight

    By: Sharon M. Draper

    For: 9-13 years

    Stella lives in the segregated South, in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can’t. Some folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sorts of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn’t bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they’re never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella’s community, her world, is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don’t necessarily signify an end.”

    14. Brown Girl Dreaming

    By: Jacqueline Woodson

    For: 10 years and above

    Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.”

    15. Dear Martin

    By: Nic Stone

    For: 14 years and above

    Justyce McAllister is a good kid, an honor student, and always there to help a friend. But none of these are considered when the police officer put him in handcuffs. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape his former peers’ scorn or the ridicule of his new classmates.

    Justyce looks up to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings for answers. He starts a journal to the Dr. King to know if they hold up anymore. Then comes a day when Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny. He rolls down the windows and turns up the music. It sparked the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them, resulting in words to fly and shots to fire. Justyce and Manny are caught in the center of attention. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.