cover image Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood

Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood

Edited by Kwame Mbalia. Delacorte, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-37993-6

This luminous middle-grade anthology edited by Mbalia (the Tristan Strong series) features 17 stories by as many Black male and nonbinary authors focusing on Black boys’ happiness. Mbalia kicks off the magic with “The Griot of Grover Street,” in which a boy takes a leap of faith to an unknown place guided by an eccentric elder. In “There’s Going to Be a Fight in the Cafeteria on Friday and You Better Not Bring Batman,” Lamar Giles presents a superhero-loving child who embraces a rich range of superheroes with the help of his family, while Varian Johnson offers a lesson in championing individuality in “The Definition of Cool.” And Julian Winters’s “The Legendary Lawrence Cobbler” combines baking with a touching coming-out revelation that brings a family closer together and emphasizes the significance of intergenerational bonds. Filtering perennial subjects such as friendships, gender identity, and family through the lenses of magic, science, space travel, superheroes, and more, this is an exuberant celebration of carefree Black experiences; while it will especially resonate with Black readers, any reader will appreciate how this genre-bending collection expands the horizons of what joy for Black boys can be. Ages 9–12. Agent: Patrice Caldwell, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Aug.)