Looking at Race in Teen Books

There is probably no more polarizing issue today than that of race. Teens are right in the middle of this issue as they engage with different forms of media and they interact with their family and their peers. This topic is also getting more attention in the world of Young Adult Literature. The teenage years are when young adults struggle to make sense of the events taking place around them and also to construct their own world view based on the various viewpoints they hear. Books can help with that process by offering different perspectives!

How It Went Down and All American Boys both point to the difficulty of understanding an event due to the varying viewpoints of the observers. All American Boys is also on this year’s Eliot Rosewater book list for high school students.

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon   All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

The following two books address conflicts that arise when an African American teen attends a mostly white prep school. The Hate U Give is one of the most highly praised Young Adult novels to be published in 2017.

The Hate U Give by Angie ThomasBlack Boy, White School by Brian Walker

The last four books are classified as historical fiction, but range in time period from the 1960s back to the 1920s.

X by Ilyasah Shabazz   Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley

Out of Darknes by Ashley Hope Perez   Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

Race is a complicated issue and reading from different perspectives can be enormously helpful for us all! Why not check out a copy to read with your teens? I’m sure that each of these books will provide lots of thought-provoking discussion.

As always, if you’d like more suggestions, just ask!