Don’t be fooled this April: pick-up and read a new book written by an author of color!
If you know of a book that I haven’t listed, please post it in the comments. Thanks! updated 3 April
Outcasts of River Falls: sequel to Belle of Batoche by Jaqueline Guest; Regina Coteau Books for Kids
After the death of her parents, well-bred young city girl Kathryn must travel across country to live with her Aunt Belle. Arriving at her destination in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Kathryn is horrified to learn her new home is a group of shacks called River Falls, a Métis community. Kathryn has never known about her true heritage, a mix of Native-American and Euro-Canadian. She is even more shocked to discover theirs is not even a permanent home. Barred from owning land, the Métis must find a way to live in the road allowances, or ditches—the strips of government land between public highways and the private properties of recognized citizens. Excitement comes in the form of a mysterious stranger known as the Highwayman, a shadowy Robin Hood figure who rights wrongs against his people in his own way. When he is framed for a crime he did not commit, and Aunt Belle becomes involved, Kathryn must use all her resources to prove their innocence—and challenge the deep-seated prejudices of an entire community.
Walking on Earth and Touching the Sky: Poetry and Prose by Lakota Youth at Red Cloud Indian School by Timothy MacLaughlin, Stephen Nelson and Joseph Marshall; Abrams Books for Young Readers, 1 Apr
This is an exceptional poetry collection written by Lakota students in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The historic school was founded in 1888 at the request of Chief Red Cloud of the Oglala Lakota. The poems enable readers to learn about the unique lives and heritage of students growing up in such distinctive circumstances and straddling cultures. The collection was compiled by a teacher at the school, working with school administrators, and contains never-before-published artworks by award-winning artist S. D. Nelson.
Fat No More: A Teenager’s Victory Over Obesity by Alberto Hidalgo-Robert; Arte Publico, Apr. 1
The first grandchild born into his family in El Salvador, Alberto is showered with attention and gifts. Soon, though, he is known as “El Gordito,” or the little fat boy. By the age of seven, he weighed a whopping 120 pounds and his pediatrician had started him on a diet. By the time he was nine he had tried ten different diets. His life became a vicious cycle of eating to excess, sneaking food and lying to himself and his parents; he was the butt of practical jokes and teased by peers and strangers, ultimately turning into a recluse, addicted to food and television.
The Temptation: A Kindred Novel by Alisa Valdes; HarperTeen, Apr. 4
Shane is near death after crashing her car on a long stretch of empty highway in rural New Mexico when she is miraculously saved by a mysterious young man who walks out of nowhere. She feels an instant energy between them, both a warmth that fills her soul and a tingle that makes her shiver. But who, or what, is he? For the first time in her life, she believes in the term “soul mates”—Travis is her destiny, and she is his. But she soon discovers that Travis is dead and strict rules govern kindred spirits of different dimensions. Even a kiss could destroy both their souls. And while Travis is almost impossible to resist, temptation proves to be the kindest enemy they encounter.
In this part romance, part supernatural thriller, true love discovers it may not be able to surpass all—especially the power of pure evil.
The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson; Margaret K. McElderry Books , 17 April
Sixteen-year-old Scotch struggles to fit in—at home she’s the perfect daughter, at school she’s provocatively sassy, and thanks to her mixed heritage, she doesn’t feel she belongs with the Caribbeans, whites, or blacks. And even more troubling, lately her skin is becoming covered in a sticky black substance that can’t be removed. While trying to cope with this creepiness, she goes out with her brother—and he disappears. A mysterious bubble of light just swallows him up, and Scotch has no idea how to find him. Soon, the Chaos that has claimed her brother affects the city at large, until it seems like everyone is turning into crazy creatures. Scotch needs to get to the bottom of this supernatural situation ASAP before the Chaos consumes everything she’s ever known—and she knows that the black shadowy entity that’s begun trailing her every move is probably not going to help.
A blend of fantasy and Caribbean folklore, at its heart this tale is about identity and self acceptance—because only by acknowledging her imperfections can Scotch hope to save her brother.
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda; St Martin’s Griffin, Apr. 19
Gene is different from everyone else around him. He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood. Gene is a human, and he knows the rules. Keep the truth a secret. It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.
When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him. He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?
Creeping with the enemy (Landdon Prep) by Kimberly Reid; Dafina 24 April
Using skills learned from her mom, an undercover cop, Chanti Evans has already exposed lies and made enemies at her posh new school, so she’s no stranger to the games people play. But she’s learning the hard way that at Langdon Prep, friends can play more dangerous games than any enemy.
There’s nothing like having someone in your corner when you’re the new girl in school, but Chanti can’t help suspecting that everything about her new friend, Bethanie, is a lie–especially once she starts skipping classes and blowing Chanti off for her mysterious crush, Cole. Chanti really doesn’t need the trouble of finding out the truth. She’s busy enough trying to convince her hot almost-boyfriend Marco that her amateur sleuthing won’t come between them again. But when Bethanie disappears with Cole, Chanti has only one chance to find her–even as her investigation puts her love life, and everything else, at risk. . .
All the right stuff by Walter Dean Myers; Amistad, 24 April
Paul DuPree is working at a soup kitchen in Harlem the summer his father dies, just trying to get by. But Elijah, the soup man, won’t stop talking about the social contract and asking Paul questions about heavy-duty things. Paul has never thought about this stuff. He’d rather hang out with Keisha, an unwed teen mom whose basketball skills rival his own.
Then Sly, a notorious Harlem big shot, shows up. Paul is both intrigued and intimidated by Sly and his conspiracy theories, and for once he starts contemplating how you really get ahead in life. As the talk of what-ifs turns into reality, Paul realizes his summer is about more than getting by—it’s about taking charge of your life.
Latino USA revised edition: A cartoon history by Ilan Stavans and Lalo Alcaraz; Basic Books, April NF
Latino USA represents the culmination of Ilan Stavans’ lifelong determination to meet the challenges of capturing the joys, nuances, and multiple dimensions of Latino culture within the context of the English language. In this cartoon history of Latinos, Stavans also seeks to combine the solemnity of so-called “serious literature” and history with the inherently theatrical and humorous nature of the comics.
Stavans represents Hispanic civilization as a fiesta of types, archetypes, and stereotypes. These multiple, at times contradictory voices, each narrating various episodes of Latino history from a unique perspective, combine to create a carnivalesque rhythm, which is democratic and impartial. Latino USA, like the history it so entertainingly relates, is a dazzling kaleidoscope of irreverence, wit, subversion, anarchy, politics, humanism, celebration, and serious and responsible history.
Body Slammed! by Ray Villareal; Pinata Books, 30 Apr
Sixteen-year-old Jesse Baron feels like he’s living his life on the sidelines. He’s on the varsity football team, but only because it’s what his dad wants him to do. And the girl he used to go out with is dating the popular quarterback. Jesse is fed up with being cut down and dismissed, whether by the coach or his friends. If only he was bigger, tougher and more athletic, like his dad.
Those things didn’t matter to Jesse’s mom. She left his father, a professional wrestler, because of his demanding career. But it’s through his dad that Jesse meets TJ Masters, a brash, new wrestling talent who’s over 21, drives a fast car and is more than willing to show Jesse a good time. And unlike his dad, TJ makes Jesse feel tough and confident; he even offers to help Jesse bulk up. But will Jesse listen to his family and friends when they warn him about hanging out with someone whos often reckless and irresponsible?