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Black History Month: Books to look forward to plus a giveaway!

In celebration of Black History Month, here are a few upcoming (or recently released) YA books that either feature black main characters and/or are written by black authors. This is certainly not an exhaustive list by any means. Be sure to check out The Brown Bookshelf, for their 28 day celebration of African American authors in kidlit, as well as Diversity in YA's 10 YA Books about African American Teens Written by African American Authors, for some other fabulous suggestions. Also, please be sure to enter our giveaway for one of the books at the bottom. Good luck and happy reading!

(synopses are from goodreads)

Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin

An astonishing civil rights story from Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin.

On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors who were at the docks, critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks, and shattering windows up to a mile away. On August 9th, 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were addressed. When the dust settled, fifty were charged with mutiny, facing decades in jail and even execution. 

This is a fascinating story of the prejudice that faced black men and women in America's armed forces during World War II, and a nuanced look at those who gave their lives in service of a country where they lacked the most basic rights.

Pointe by Brandy Colbert

Theo is better now.

She's eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.

Donovan isn't talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn't do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she's been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse

A Matter of Souls by Denise Patrick

From the shores of Africa to the bowels of a transatlantic ship to a voting booth in Mississippi to the jungles of Vietnam, all human connection is a matter of souls. In this stirring collection of short stories, Denise Lewis Patrick considers the souls of black men and women across centuries and continents. In each, she takes the measure of their dignity, describes their dreams, and catalogs their fears. Brutality, beauty, laughter, rage, and love all take their turns in each story, but the final impression is of indomitable, luminous, and connected souls.

Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland

"Picture a ballerina in a tutu and toe shoes. What does she look like?"

As the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has made history. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, anxious thirteen-year-old to become a ground-breaking ballerina.

When she discovered ballet, Misty was living in a shabby motel room, struggling with her five siblings for a place to sleep on the floor. A true prodigy, she was dancing en pointe within three months of taking her first dance class and performing professionally in just over a year: a feat unheard of for any classical dancer. But when Misty became caught between the control and comfort she found in the world of ballet and the harsh realities of her own life (culminating in a highly publicized custody battle), she had to choose to embrace both her identity and her dreams, and find the courage to be one of a kind.

With an insider's unique point of view, Misty opens a window into the life of a professional ballerina who lives life center stage: from behind the scenes at her first auditions to her triumphant roles in some of the most iconic ballets. But in this beautifully written memoir, she also delves deeper to reveal the desire and drive that made her dreams reality.

Life in Motion is a story of passion and grace for anyone who has dared to dream of a different life.

For a chance to win an ARC of Misty Copeland's Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, please enter the giveaway below (US and Canada residents only, please).

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Thanks for stopping by!

Stephanie Kuehn

Stephanie is the William C. Morris award-winning author of Charm & Strange, Complicit, Delicate Monsters, and The Smaller Evil.

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  1. All of these sound very intriguing, however, the Life in Motion memoir sounds like it would probably tug at my heart something wonderful.


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Item Reviewed: Black History Month: Books to look forward to plus a giveaway! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: stephanie kuehn