Black Characters in New Fiction

Every February, we celebrate the achievements of men and women such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Octavia E. Butler, and Rosa Parks. Most of the lists that I’ve made for Black History Month are nonfiction, which remind us that their very real struggles and triumphs which have led ultimately to the election of our first black president.

But I see success also in the quality and quantity of books where the protagonists, and not just sidekicks, are black. Check out the books below for some recent and new easy and fiction that should be part of library collections for all students.



Alfie (The Turtle That Disappeared) by Thyra Heder. 9781419725296. 2017. Gr PK-2.
Crown : An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes (ill. by Gordon C. James). 9781572842243. 2017. Gr 1-4.
Daddy Played the Blues by Michael Garland. 9780884485889. 2017. Gr K-2.
Green Green : A Community Gardening Story by Marie Lamba & Baldev Lamba (ill. by Sonia Sanchez). 9780374327972. 2017. Gr PK-2.
I Am Enough by Grace Byers (ill. by Keturah A. Bobo). 9780062667120. March 2018. Gr PK-3.
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall. 9780763678388. 2017. Gr PK-3.

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall. 9780763678388. 2017. Gr PK-3.

Make a Change by Rhonda Rucker (ill. by Brock Nicol). 9781455622757. 2017. Gr K-2.
A Night Out with Mama by Quvenzhane Wallis (ill. by Vanessa Brantley-Newton). 9781481458801. 2017. Gr K-2.
The Nutcracker in Harlem by T.E. McMorrow (ill. by James Ransome). 9780061175985. 2017. Gr K-3.
Pass the Ball, Mo! (Penguin Young Readers) by David A. Adler. 9780425289785. 2018. Gr K-2.

Princess Hair by Sharee Miller. 9780316562614. 2017. Gr PK-3.
Where’s Rodney? by Carmen Bogan (ill. by Floyd Cooper). 9781930238732. 2017. Gr PK-1.




Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia. 9780062215918. 2017. Gr 4-7.
Crossing the Line by Bibi Belford. 9781510708006. 2017. Gr 4-6
Dragons and Marshmallows (Zoey and Sassafras, Book 1) by Asia Citro (ill. by Marion Lindsay). 9781943147083. 2017. Gr 1-3.
The Haunted House Next Door (Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol, Book 1) by Andres Miedoso (ill. by Victor Rivas). 9781534410398. 2017. Gr 1-3.
Mango Delight by Fracaswell Hyman. 9781454923329. 2017. Gr 4-7.
The New Kid (Carver Chronicles, Book 5) by Karen English (ill. by Laura Freeman). 9781328703996. 2017. Gr 1-4.

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson. 9780545946179. March 2018. Gr 4-7.
Rock Star (Jada Jones, Book 1) by Kelly Starling Lyons (ill. by Vanessa Brantley Newton). 9780448487526. 2017. Gr 1-3.
The Underground Railroad (American Girl : Real Stories from My Time) by Bonnie Bader. 9781338148923. 2017. Gr 4-6.




Armstrong & Charlie by Steven B. Frank. 9780544826083. 2017. Gr 4-7.
Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz. 9780374306106. 2018. Gr 5-8.
It All Comes Down to This by Karen English. 9780544839571. 2017. Gr 5-8.
The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis. 9780545156660. 2018. Gr 4-7.
Martha and the Slave Catchers by Harriet Hyman Alonso. 9781609808006. 2017. Gr 6-9.
Patina (Track, Book 2) by Jason Reynolds. 9781481450188. 2017. Gr 4-8.

Rebound by Kwame Alexander. 9780544868137. April 2018. Gr 5-7.
A Sky Full of Stars by Linda Williams Jackson. 9780544800656. 2018. Gr 5-7.
Sparrow by Sarah Moon. 9781338032581. 2017. Gr 7-10.
The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore. 9781524701246. 2017. Gr 5-7.




Between the Lines by Nikki Grimes. 9780399246883. February 2018. Gr 7-10.
Calling My Name by Liana Tamani. 9780062656865. 2017. Gr 9-12.
Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden. 9781599903194. 2017. Gr 8-12.
Dear Martin by Nic Stone. 9781101939499. 2017. Gr 9-12.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. 9781481438254. 2017. Gr 8-12.
Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson. 9781250142108. 2017. Gr 8-12.
Solo by Kwame Alexander. 9780310761839. 2017. Gr 9-12.

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