Monday, January 19, 2009

Titles that celebrate a time of change

This week the first African-American will take the oath to serve at the President of the United States. This is surely a time of change when the entire country will be reflecting on decades of sacrifice and civil rights struggles that led up to this moment. Here are some well-written teen novels that celebrate African-American identity and history.

The Glory Field
Walter Dean Myers
This moving story follows one African-American family as they struggle through 241 years, from the Sierra Leone to South Carolina. Teen Historical Fiction

Day of Tears
Julius Lester
On one day in 1859, the largest slave auction took place on a plantation in Georgia. Emma is a house slave who, although promised otherwise, is sold impulsively to a woman in Kentucky, and must then deal with the resentment and betrayal that follows. Teen Historical Fiction

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: The Pox Party
M. T. Anderson
Sixteen-year-old Octavian is the son of an African princess who is now living with a group of philosophers in pre-Revolutionary Boston. He is treated to a life of privilege and education, but eventually realizes that he is the subject of their scientific experiments to study the nature of Africans. Realizing the hypocrisy of his benefactors, he uses his education to his advantage, and joins the Patriots to fight the British army. Teen Fiction

Fire From the Rock
Sharon Draper
Sylvia Patterson is a typical teenager who finds herself in the eye of a storm when she is selected as the first African-American student to attend Little Rock Central High. Teen Historical Fiction

Trouble Don't Last
Shelley Pearsall
An eleven-year-old Kentucky slave attempts to escape to Canada with the elderly slave who raised him through the Underground Railroad. J Paperback Fiction

Bud, Not Buddy
Christopher Paul Curtis
Ten-year-old Bud leaves his foster family in 1936 Flint, Michigan and sets out on his own to find his father who he believes to be the famous jazz composer H. E. Calloway.

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