I've looked at books by Latinx authors about Mexican American teens, and I've looked at books about characters on the autism spectrum. This time I'm taking my inspiration from Jacqueline Woodson's Newbery honor memoir in verse, Brown Girl Dreaming and Kwame Alexander's Newbery awarded novel in verse The Crossover, to share three more novels in verse by and about African Americans.
A Book I've Read and Recommend:
My Seneca Village by Marilyn Nelson
This book is set in New York City in the 1800s, in a neighborhood called Seneca Village. Doesn't ring a bell? That would be because the area was torn down to create room for Central Park. Using census records and other data from the era, Nelson has created characters whose stories intertwine and overlap over time. I especially enjoyed how she created "stage directions" before each poem, adding a visual sense that can be lost in many novels in verse.
A book on my TBR
Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes
Not strictly a novel in verse, this book is about a high school class whose teacher invites them to weekly open mic poetry slams. The general consensus on Goodreads seems to be, "Well, I thought it wasn't all that great, but my students LOVED IT." Hmm. Maybe she wrote it for the students, not their teachers?
The Death of Jayson Porter by Jaime Adoff
upcoming interesting looking book
Sixteen-year-old Jayson Porter wants to believe things will get better. But the harsh realities of his life never seem to change. Living in the inland-Florida projects with his abusive mother, he tries unsuccessfully to fit in at his predominately white school, while struggling to maintain even a thread of a relationship with his drug-addicted father. As the pressure mounts, there's only one thing Jayson feels he has control over-the choice of whether to live or die.