8 Jan Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden. Bloomsbury, ages 12-18
As a young black woman in 1880s Savannah, Essie’s dreams are very much at odds with her reality. Ashamed of her beginnings, but unwilling to accept the path currently available to her, Essie is trapped between the life she has and the life she wants.
Until she meets a lady named Dorcas Vashon, the richest and most cultured black woman she’s ever encountered. When Dorcas makes Essie an offer she can’t refuse, she becomes Victoria. Transformed by a fine wardrobe, a classic education, and the rules of etiquette, Victoria is soon welcomed in the upper echelons of black society in Washington, D. C. But when the life she desires is finally within her grasp, Victoria must decide how much of herself she is truly willing to surrender.
8 Jan This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy. Bloomsbury. ages 10-12
Told in verse, this book relays Boyce’s experience as one of 12 African-American students who integrated Clinton High School in Tennessee. Ages 10–12.
8 Jan The Girl King by Mimi Yu. Bloomsbury ages 12-18
Sisters Lu and Min have always known their places as the princesses of the Empire of the First Flame: assertive Lu will be named her father’s heir and become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while timid Min will lead a quiet life in Lu’s shadow. Until their father names their male cousin Set his heir instead, sending ripples through the realm and throwing both girls’ lives into utter chaos.
Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu has no choice but to go on the run, leaving Min to face the volatile court alone. Lu soon crosses paths with Nokhai, the lone, unlikely survivor of the Ashina, a clan of nomadic wolf shapeshifters. Nok never learned to shift–or to trust the empire that killed his family–but working with the princess might be the only way to unlock his true power.
As Lu and Nok form a shaky alliance, Min’s own hidden power awakens, a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow her to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could very well turn out to be each other.
8 Jan Katherine Johnson by Ebony Joy Wilkins and Charlotte Ager. DK Life Stories. ages 8-12
It was an incredible accomplishment when the United States first put a person on the moon–but without the incredible behind-the-scenes work of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, such a feat could not have been possible. In this biography for kids ages 8-12, follow Katherine’s remarkable journey from growing up in West Virginia, to becoming a teacher, to breaking barriers at NASA and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.
8 Jan The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA by Brenda Woods. ages 10-12
On Gabriel’s twelfth birthday, he gets a new bike–and is so excited that he accidentally rides it right into the path of a car. Fortunately, a Black man named Meriwether pushes him out of the way just in time, and fixes his damaged bike. As a thank you, Gabriel gets him a job at his dad’s auto shop. Gabriel’s dad hires him with some hesitation, however, anticipating trouble with the other mechanic, who makes no secret of his racist opinions.
Gabriel and Meriwether become friends, and Gabriel learns that Meriwether drove a tank in the Army’s all-Black 761st Tank Battalion in WWII. Meriwether is proud of his service, but has to keep it a secret because talking about it could be dangerous. Sadly, danger finds Meriwether, anyway, when his family receives a frightening threat. The South being the way it is, there’s no guarantee that the police will help–and Gabriel doesn’t know what will happen if Meriwether feels forced to take the law into his own hands.
8 Jan We Are Displaced : My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World by Malala Yousafzai. Little, Brown Books.
Malala’s experiences visiting refugee camps caused her to reconsider her own displacement – first as an Internally Displaced Person when she was a young child in Pakistan, and then as an international activist who could travel anywhere in the world except to the home she loved. In We Are Displaced, which is part memoir, part communal storytelling, Malala not only explores her own story, but she also shares the personal stories of some of the incredible girls she has met on her journeys – girls who have lost their community, relatives, and often the only world they’ve ever known.
9 Jan Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi and Tracey Baptiste. Balzer + Bray.
Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today—Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America.
13 Jan Genesis Begins Again by Alicia Williams. Simon & Schuster. Ages 9–13
This deeply sensitive and powerful debut novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old who must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself.
15 JAN Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee. Rick Riordan Presents. ages 9-12
Min, a thirteen-year-old girl with fox-magic, stows away on a battle cruiser and impersonates a cadet in order to solve the mystery of what happened to her older brother in the Thousand World Space Force.
15 Jan Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. Wednesday Books. ages 12-18
It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.
15 Jan 96 Words for Love by Rachel Roy and Ava Dash. Jimmy Patterson Books/Little, Brown.
A modern retelling of the classic Indian legend of Shakuntala and Dushyanta, 96 Words for Love is a coming-of-age story about finding yourself in unexpected places.
15 Jan Ultraball #1 : Lunar Blitz by Jeff Chen. Katherine Tegen Books. ages 8-12
Strike Sazaki loves defying gravity on the moon in his Ultrabot suit. He’s the best quarterback in the league, but while Strike’s led the Taiko Miners to the Ultrabowl three years in a row, each one has ended in defeat.
This year, Strike thinks he’s finally found the missing piece to his championship quest: a mysterious girl who could be his new star rocketback. But Boom comes from the Dark Siders, a mass of people who left the United Moon Colonies to live in exile. And not all his teammates are happy sharing a field with her.
When rumors surface of a traitor on the Miners, Strike isn’t sure who he can trust. If Strike can’t get his teammates to cooperate and play together, they’ll lose more than just the Ultrabowl. The stake of the colony’s future is on his shoulders.
22 Jan Circle of Shadow (Circle of Shadows #1) by Evelyn Skye. Balzer + Bray. Jan 2019
Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.
As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.
22 Jan Love Me or Miss Me: Hot Girl, Bad Boy by Dream Jordan. Wednesday Books. ages 12-18
What’s a Brooklyn Girl to do when her best friend is away for the whole summer? Don’t ask Kate, because she has no idea. Aimless, and unhappy with her new foster mother, Kate falls into the hands of a stylish, “It Chick” who whips her into fashionable shape. Armed with new confidence, and a game plan to get her man, Kate quickly falls under her new bestie’s bad influence. And she becomes reckless in her pursuits. Can Kate get her life back on the right track–or is it already too late?
29 Jan Dark Sky Rising : Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Tonya Bolden. Scholastic. ages 9-12
This is a story about America during and after Reconstruction, one of history’s most pivotal and misunderstood chapters. In a stirring account of emancipation, the struggle for citizenship and national reunion, and the advent of racial segregation, the renowned Harvard scholar delivers a book that is illuminating and timely. Real-life accounts drive the narrative, spanning the half century between the Civil War and Birth of a Nation. Here, you will come face-to-face with the people and events of Reconstruction’s noble democratic experiment, its tragic undermining, and the drawing of a new “color line” in the long Jim Crow era that followed. In introducing young readers to them, and to the resiliency of the African American people at times of progress and betrayal, Professor Gates shares a history that remains vitally relevant today.
Jan 29 Spin by Lamar Giles. Scholastic. ages 12 and up
When rising star Paris Secord (aka DJ ParSec) is found dead on her turntables, it sends the local music scene reeling. No one is feeling that grief more than her shunned pre-fame best friend, Kya, and ParSec’s chief groupie, Fuse — two sworn enemies who happened to be the ones who discovered her body.
The police have few leads, and when the trail quickly turns cold, the authorities don’t seem to be pushing too hard to investigate further. But nobody counted on Paris’s deeply loyal fans, ParSec Nation, or the outrage that would drive Fuse and Kya to work together. As ParSec Nation takes to social media and the streets in their crusade for justice, Fuse and Kya start digging into Paris’s past, stumbling across a deadly secret. With new info comes new motives. New suspects. And a fandom that will stop at nothing in their obsessive quest for answers, not even murder.
29 Jan The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan. Scholastic.
Unable to come out to her conservative Muslim parents, she keeps that part of her identity hidden. And that means keeping her girlfriend, Ariana, a secret from them too. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life at home and a fresh start at Caltech in the fall. But when Rukhsana’s mom catches her and Ariana together, her future begins to collapse around her.
Devastated and confused, Rukhsana’s parents whisk her off to stay with their extended family in Bangladesh where, along with the loving arms of her grandmother and cousins, she is met with a world of arranged marriages, religious tradition, and intolerance. Fortunately, Rukhsana finds allies along the way and, through reading her grandmother’s old diary, finds the courage to take control of her future and fight for her love.