The following is a list of African-American interest books for young readers; compiled from publisher responses to our October PW Call for Information, these titles are publishing between September 2011 and March 2012. For a list of African-American interest books for adults, please click here.


Planet Middle School (Sept., $15.99, 10-14) by Nikki Grimes. Short poems that capture the crazy feelings of adolescence and first crushes.


Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend (Sept., $15.99, 5-8) by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Bettye Stroud, illus. by John Holyfield. A true story inspires the tale of a mule that played a key role in the civil rights movement.

How the Leopard Got His Claws (Sept., $16.99, 7-11) by Chinua Achebe, illus. by Mary GrandPre delivers a vivid fable about power and freedom.

LaLa Salama (Nov., $16.99, 3-up) by Patricia Maclachlan, illus. by Elizabeth Zunon offers a lyrical Tanzanian lullaby that follows a family through their day.

Just As Good: How Larry Doby Changed America’s Game (Jan., $16.99, 6-10) by Chris Crowe, illus. by Mike Benny recalls the first African American player to hit a home run in the World Series.

What Color is My World? (Jan., $17.99, 8-12) by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld, illus by Ben Boos and A.G. Ford champions a lineup of little-known black inventors.


Little Man (Oct., $19.95, 6-9) by Dionne Warwick and David Freeman Wooley, illus. by Fred Willingham. Little Man is a drummer–bursting with rhythm and wanting to improve his groove.

Magic Trash: A Story of Tyree Guyton and His Art (Oct., $15.95, 6-9) by J.H. Shapiro, illus. by Vanessa Brantley-Newton recounts the true story of Tyree Guyton and how his art saved his Detroit community.

Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite (Nov., $19.95, 6-9) by Anna Harwell Celenza, illus. by Don Tate imagines how Duke Ellington and his collaborator Billy Strayhorn transformed the Nutcracker Suite's romantic orchestra into jumpin' jazz melodies.

Lola Reads to Leo (Feb., $15.95; paper $6.95, 2-5) by Anna McQuinn, illus. by Rosalind Beardshaw. The third book in the Lola series finds Lola helping prepare for her new baby brother by gathering all of her books that she wants to pass on to him.


My Own Worst Frenemy: A Langdon Prep Novel (Sept., paper $9.95, 14-18) by Kimberly Reid introduces a spunky, crime solving girl trying to balance prep school and life in the ‘hood.

The Break-up Diaries 2 (Oct., paper $9.95, 14-18) by Nikki Carter and Kevin Elliot. Two novellas explore relationship stories reflecting what’s happening in teen life.

On the Come Up (Nov., paper $9.95, 14-18) by Travis Hunter follows two young men from opposite sides of the tracks who can’t seem to stay out of each other’s way.

Uptown Dreams (Dec., paper $9.95, 14-18) by Kelli London features four girls as they enter the fictional Harlem Academy of Creative and Performing Arts.

Living Violet (The Cambion Chronicles) (Jan., paper $9.95, 14-18) by Jamie Reed debuts a paranormal series about a young woman who meets a guy with supernatural powers that will challenge and change everything she knows.

On the Flip Side (Mar., paper $9.95, 14-18) by Nikki Carter serves up the fourth installment in the Fab Life series, following two cousins and their adventures in the drama-filled world of hip hop.


Brendan Buckley’s Sixth Grade Experiment (Jan., $16.99, 9-12) by Sundee T. Frazier. Science-minded Brendan and his police detective father clash as Brendan spends enormous time on his scientific pursuits.


African-American Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 22 (Dec., paper $17.95, 12-up) edited by Tom Pomplun and Lance Tooks delivers comics adaptations of stories and poems by America’s earliest black authors, illustrated by contemporary black artists.


Letters to Missy Violet (Jan., $15.99, 6-9) by Barbara Hathaway. The day-to-day happenings in a rural southern African American community come to life through letters.


Maya’s Choice (Nov., paper $9.99, YA) by Earl Sewell. The sixth title in the Keysha and Friends series finds Maya Rogers’ summer plans suddenly turned upside down when her rebellious cousin Viviana comes to live with her family.


Crow (Jan., $16.99, 8-12) by Barbara Wright. An emancipated, thriving black community violently loses its freedom in turn of the century North Carolina.


Never Forgotten (Oct., $18.99, all ages) by Patricia C. McKissack, illus. by Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon employs verse to portray a young West African boy who is kidnapped and sold into slavery.


The Mighty Miss Malone (Jan., $15.99, 9-12) by Christopher Paul Curtis follows a family caught up in suspense during the turbulent days of the Depression.


Bein’ Good; Holding Back; and Fitting In, titles by Jada Jones; Keepin’ Her Man and Blind Trust, titles by Shay Jackson (all Feb., $8.95, paper, YA). Part of the Juicy Central Series featuring the five gossipy BFFs of South Central High as they experience the ups and downs of their relationships.

Edge of Ready (Feb., $8.95, paper, YA) by L.B. Tillit. Dani is trapped in a reality that she cannot control, but gains the strength to never back down and finally has faith in her own power.

Outcasts; See No Evil; Don’t Think About Tomorrow; Out of Love for You; and Rescuers (all Feb., $8.95, paper, YA), titles by Anne Schraff. Part of the Urban Underground Series which confronts issues such as friendship, loyalty, drugs, gangs, abuse, urban blight, bullies, and self-esteem.

2 Days (Feb., $8.95, paper, YA) by L.B. Tillit chronicles the emotional and physical challenges of pregnant teen Neema, as well as decisions that she will have to make.

Unchained (Feb., $8.95, paper, YA) by L.B. Tillit. After two years in a loving foster home, TJ’s mother got him back–and the brutal life he’d escaped quickly reclaimed him.


Bad Boy (Feb., $9.99, YA) by Dream Jordan. Kate learns the hard way about staying strong and remaining true to yourself, even when it seems like the whole world is out to get you.


Dear America: With the Might of Angels (Sept., $12.99, 8-14) by Andrea Davis Pinkney shares a New Dear America diary about school integration.

Bluford High #11: The Fallen and Bluford High #12: Shattered (both Jan., $5.99, 12-up), titles by Paul Langan deliver the latest in the Bluford High series.

Glory Be (Jan., $16.99, 8-12) by Augusta Scattergood studies a girl who wrestles with the repercussions of the civil rights movement on the eve of her twelfth birthday.

The Clone Codes #3: The Visitor (Feb., $16.99, 8-12) by Patricia C. McKissack, Fredrick McKissack, and John Patrick McKissack concludes the Clone Codes trilogy.


Bronxwood (Sept., $17.99, 14-up) by Coe Booth returns to continue Tyrell’s astonishing story.


King of the Mound (Feb., $15.99, 8-12) by Wes Tooke follows twelve-year-old Nick, who in the 1930s dreams of becoming a star baseball player–until he’s diagnosed with polio.


Black Indians (Jan., $19.99 paper $11.99, 12-up) by William Loren Katz updates and revisits a neglected chapter in American history, looking at families that formed when slaves ran away and found acceptance in Native American villages.

Jazz Age Josephine (Jan., $16.99, 4-8) by Jonah Winter, illus. by Marjorie Priceman introduces Josephine Baker, who rose from a poor and segregated upbringing to break through racial barriers with her astonishing dance abilities.

Stars in the Shadows (Jan., $14.99, 8-12) by Charles R. Smith Jr., illus. by Frank Morrison uses a unique radio broadcast transcript to recreate the 1934 Negro All-Star baseball game.


Words Set Me Free (Jan., $16.99, 5-9) by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illus. by James E. Ransome, chronicles the childhood of Frederick Douglass, who found the key to his dream in reading.


Samuel’s Choice (Jan., $6.99, 7-10) by Richard Berleth, illus. by James Watling. Samuel, a 14-year-old enslaved African-American in 1776 Brooklyn must decide how much to sacrifice for freedom.

Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman High Jumper (Jan., $16.99, 6-9) by Ann Malaspina, illus. by Eric Velazquez uses free verse to introduce the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal.