Black Voices, Teen Books


You are what you read. If what you read influences you, it’s important to find books with good diversity and representation. Sometimes that can be difficult so here are three recommendations of young adult books with African American authors. A Long Way Down, Legend Born, and Concrete Rose are all fantastic choices by African American authors featuring black kids.


A Long Way Down

New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds wrote the novel A Long Way Down that
takes place in sixty seconds. Barnes & Noble’s description of the novel says:

“the time it takes a kid to decide
whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.
A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE.”

This book is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Jason Reynolds has written other books including Stamped and All American Boys. He was raised in Maryland and born in Washington DC. He “found inspiration in rap and began writing poetry at nine years old.” He focused on poetry within his reading and writing for around 20 years.



Legend-Born by Tracy Deonn is a novel that is hard to put down. It is a New York Times best seller and the winner of the Corvette Scott King John Steptoe got new talent author award. Barnes & Noble description for the book is:

“After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.”

The author Tracy Deonn is nominated for Goodreads Choice Awards Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction.

According to Deonn’s website: “She grew up in central North Carolina, where she devoured fantasy books and Southern food in equal measure. After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication and performance studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tracy worked in live theater, video game production, and K–12 education.”


Concrete Rose

The new release Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas is a hit. Angie Thomas is a young adult author who wrote and is best known for writing The Hate U Give. Her young adult novel, On the Come Up, was released on February 25, 2019.

Barnes & Noble writes that “Angie Thomas has delivered yet another pitch-perfect return to Garden Heights, set seventeen years before The Hate U Give. In Concrete Rose, we meet a young Maverick Carter — he’s not yet Starr’s father, but at seventeen years old himself, he already knows the importance of taking care of his family. Though set in the past, this raw and eye-opening exploration into what it means to be a man in the Black community is just as relevant today. A must-read for all.”