#CybilsAwards Book Lists: Celebrating the Black Experience, YA Edition

It’s Black History Month, and I thought it would be good to highlight all the wonderful books we have celebrating all aspects of Black Life. I’m sure I didn’t catch them all, but these are definitely worth checking out!

I was going to do them all, but there are so many (yay!) we needed to split them up. Stay tuned. We’ll post the books geared toward younger readers after our Winners’ Announcement.


Ace of Spades
by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Feiwel & Friends

“The suspense in Ace of Spades builds as various characters emerge as likely suspects behind the identity of Aces. Some of the plot developments will hit readers like explosions, coming seemingly out of nowhere, even if they are ultimately consistent with other plot threads and earlier exposition.” – Gary Anderson at What’s Not Wrong?


Angel of Greenwood
by Randi Pink
Feiwel & Friends

“At times, a remarkable book comes into my life that leaves me completely speechless and emotional. Angel of Greenwood left me teary-eyed and is one of the best YA novels I have read this year.” – Rajiv Ganesan at Rajiv’s Reviews


Concrete Rose
by Angie Thomas
Balzer + Bray

“Thomas is great at setting up the stakes and presenting conflict. The emotional beats all hit very hard. This isn’t a light novel, nor one that’s easy to breeze through mentally.” – Terry Doherty at The Reading Tub


by Candace Buford
Inkyard Press


Like Home
by Louisa Onome


Love is a Revolution
by Renée Watson
Bloomsbury YA


Malcolm and Me: A Novel
by Robin Farmer

“I really enjoyed this coming of age, finding your voice YA book.” – Shannon at Magical Wonder of Books


One of the Good Ones
by Maritza Moulite
Inkyard Press


Rise to the Sun
by Leah Johnson
Scholastic Press

“Much like Johnson’s first book, this one simultaneously is a joy of Black girl romance while having more difficult themes – like the death of a parent, or the expectations of parents – underneath. ” – Melissa at The Book Nut


The Problem with the Other Side
by Kwame Ivery
Soho Teen


Zero O’Clock
by C.J. Farley
Black Sheep


Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre
by Brandy Colbert
Balzer + Bray

“This is one of those tough reads that should be on the shelves of every public, middle and high school library.” – Julie at Partners in Literacy Denver


Race Against Time: The Untold Story of Scipio Jones and the Battle to Save Twelve Innocent Men
by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace
Calkins Creek Books

“I’m now left wanting more — I want more details of his legal maneuvers, more details of the effects of the precedents set, more details on why the NAACP kept hiring white lawyers over him. Do I blame the book for not being longer, or do I applaud it for leaving me with this desire?” – Beth Mitcham at Library Chicken


The Beautiful Struggle (Adapted for Young Adults)
by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers

“It still gave me, a fifty-ish white woman, a sense of what it was like growing up Black in Baltimore, and how even with the support of driven parents and passionate teachers the poison of racism in American society and structures still seeps through, and also how children can react in incredibly frustrating ways that seem self destructive and contrary but come from an honest attempt to understand and fit into the world.” – Beth Mitcham at Library Chicken


The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks: Adapted for Young People
by Jeanne Theoharis, adapted by Brandy Colbert and Jeanne Theoharis
Beacon Press

“Overall, this is a fascinating, invaluable, and important read. Mrs. Parks deserves more than the trite – and inaccurate – depictions of her that flow from the Montgomery Bus Boycott. That said, the YA version of the book is more likely to be read for school than as leisure reading. ” – Terry Doherty at The Reading Tub


They Better Call Me Sugar: My Journey from the Hood to the Hardwood
by Sugar Rodgers
Black Sheep

“Sugar Rogers is so inspiring!!” – Julie at Partners in Literacy Denver


We Are Not Broken
by George M Johnson
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

“It did a good job of evoking particular scenes and conveying the love and importance of Johnson’s grandmother and family.” – Beth Mitcham at Literry Chicken


Across the Tracks: Remembering Greenwood, Black Wall Street, and the Tulsa Race Massacre
by Alverne Ball, illustrated by Stacey Robinson, Reynaldo Anderson(Contributor), Colette Yellow Robe (Contributor)
Harry N Abrams

“Reading this story angers me, makes me feel that our history is so twisted that we have to work a LOT harder to recognize and uplift people of color.” – Anne


Run: Book One (Run, 1)
by John Lewisand Andrew Aydin, illustrated by L. Fury and Nate Powell
Abrams ComicArts


Chlorine Sky
by Mahogany L. Browne
Crown Books for Young Readers

“Chlorine Sky tells a story of finding a way to make yourself known in the world amongst broken friendships, difficult family relationships, and complicated dating relationships. ” Nicole at – Feed Your Fiction Addiction


Me (Moth)
by Amber McBride
Feiwel & Friends

“My favorite aspect of the book is the absolutely gorgeous verse. Honestly, I just loved every minute of reading the book because the poetry flows so beautifully and the imagery is wonderful.” Nicole at – Feed Your Fiction Addiction