Last month, PW compiled a large collection of newly published recommended fiction and nonfiction about race and activism from creators of color, as well as suggested fiction that celebrates the diversity of the Black experience. Now we’re adding a list of noteworthy forthcoming #OwnVoices titles, due out in the remainder of 2020.

Picture Books


The ABCs of Black History

by Rio Cortez, illus. by Lauren Semmer (Workman, Dec. 22, $14.95, 9781523507498, ages 5 and up)

Key names, moments, and places from Black history are featured in this poetic ABC book that prepares young thinkers for big ideas. Back matter includes a timeline plus more information about the history mentioned in the text.

All Because You Matter

by Tami Charles, illus. by Bryan Collier (Orchard, Oct. 6, $17.99, 9781338574852, ages 4–8)

Part love letter, part anthem, this book from Charles and Collier assures readers that they always have and always will matter, reminding them that their worth can never be diminished.

For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World

by Michael W. Waters, illus. by Keisha Morris (Flyaway, Sept. 22, $18, 9781947888081, ages 6–10)

Inspired by real-life events, this intimate look at one family’s response to racism and gun violence includes a discussion guide created by the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Ky., a multicultural center and museum committed to promoting respect, hope, and understanding.


by Nancy Johnson James, illus. by Constance Moore (Cameron Kids, Sept. 15, $15.95, 9781944903985, ages 3–5)

A boy describes the beautiful brown hues of his family, including himself, in this celebratory picture book.


by Misty Copeland, illus. by Setor Fiadzigbey (Putnam, Sept. 29, $17.99, 9780399547645, ages 5–8)

This first in a series is inspired by premier ballerina Copeland’s own early experiences with ballet follows Misty, a girl who discovers her love of dance and works together with her fellow bunheads to put on a show to remember.

Dream Street

by Tricia Elam Walker, illus by Ekua Holmes (Random House/Schwartz & Wade, Sept., $17.99 9780525581109 4–8)

These collaborating cousins pay homage to the Boston street they grew up on and the loving community that made their childhood special.

I Am Every Good Thing

by Derrick Barnes, illus. by Gordon C. James (Penguin/Paulsen, Sept. 1, $17.99, 9780525518778, ages 3–7)

This empowering story features a confident Black narrator who is proud of his creativity, sense of adventure, intelligence, humor, and empathy, even when he stumbles or is misunderstood. See our cover reveal here.

I Got the School Spirit

by Connie Schofield-Morrison, illus. by Frank Morrison (Bloomsbury, July 7, $17.99, 9781547602612, ages 3–6)

The vivacious African American protagonist from I Got the Rhythm and I Got the Christmas Spirit returns in this ebullient follow-up, embarking on the first day of school with optimism and oomph. See our full review.

I Promise

by LeBron James, illus. by Nina Mata (HarperCollins, Aug. 11, $19.99, 9780062971067, ages 4–8)

Inspired by the values and initiatives of NBA champion James’s I PROMISE school in Akron, Ohio, this picture book encourages kids to believe in themselves and grow into successful and compassionate adults. The book was featured in the BookExpo 2020 Picture Book Showcase.

The Little Mermaid

by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown, Nov. 3, $18.99, 9780316440318, ages 4–8)

In this reimagining of the Hans Christian Andersen classic, Pinkney tells a poignant story of friendship and redemption, reminding modern girls that “you should never give up your voice... for anyone.

Lubaya’s Quiet Roar

by Marilyn Nelson, illus. by Philemona Williamson (Dial, Oct. 6, $17.99, 9780525555551, ages 5–8)

A girl creates change in her own quiet way. When Lubaya draws colorful pictures of kids holding hands on the back of her parents’ protest posters, she creates a rousing visual statement, making a big impression at a rally.

Me & Mama

by Cozbi A. Cabrera (S&S/Millner, Aug. 25, $17.99, 9781534454217, ages 4 – 8)

From the author of My Hair Is a Garden comes this story about a mother and daughter spending a rainy day together as the rest of the family sleeps.

My Friend!

by Taye Diggs, illus. by Shane W. Evans (Feiwel and Friends, Jan. 5, 2021 $18.99, 9781250135353, ages 4–8)

From the creators of Chocolate Me! and Mixed Me comes a story about two friends. When one of the friends behaves unkindly, the other steps in with a reminder to treat others how you would like to be treated.

My Hair Is Magic!

by M.L. Marroquin, illus. by Tonya Engel (Page Street, Oct. 6, $17.99, 9781624149818, ages 4–8)

This story in verse is about a girl who loves her beautiful, natural afro-textured hair and celebrates it in creative and inventive ways, rather than try to contain it.

My Rainbow

by DeShanna Neal and Trinity Neal, illus. by Art Twink (Kokila, Oct. 20, $17.99, 9781984814609, ages 4–8)

Based on the real-life experience of the mother-daughter author team, this story of a dedicated mother who creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter encourages being your true self.

Nana Akua Goes to School

by Tricia Elam Walker, illus. by April Harrison (Random House/Schwartz & Wade, June 16, $17.99, 9780525581130, ages 4–8)

In this story celebrating cultural diversity, a girl named Zura brings her Ghanaian grandmother—who bears traditional West African tribal markings—to meet her classmates on Grandparents Day. See our full starred review.

Off to See the Sea

by Nikki Grimes, illus. by Elizabeth Zunon (Sourcebooks, Jan. 1, 2021 $17.99, 9781492638292, ages 4–8)

A mother brings a sense of adventure to bath time with a magical imagination-fueled adventure where the faucet is a waterfall, a rubber ducky is a sea creature, and the splashing water is the raging sea.

A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart

by Zetta Elliott, illus. by Noa Denmon (FSG, July 21, $17.99, 9780374307417, ages 4–8)

In this story about a Black child discovering and accepting their emotional landscape, readers move through the seasons as summertime joy is replaced by fear after a police shooting, and each subsequent season marks an emotional shift: fear to anger, then pride and peace.

Red Shoes

by Karen English, illus. by Ebony Glenn (Scholastic, Sept. 15, $17.99, 9781338114607, ages 3 – 5)

Malika is delighted when her Nana buys her a beautiful new pair of red shoes, wearing them everywhere until she outgrows them. After leaving the shoes at the Rare Finds Resale Shop, the shoes eventually find their way to Africa, where they are given to another girl who is fasting for Ramadan.

Rocket Says Clean Up!

by Nathan Bryon, illus. by Dapo Adeola (Random House, Sept. 1, $17.99, 9780593118993, ages 3–7)

In this follow-up to Rocket Says Look Up!, the titular young activist brings her grandparents’ island community together to clean up the beach and prevent plastics from spoiling nature.

Stella’s Stellar Hair

by Yesenia Moises (Imprint, Jan. 5, 2021 $18.99, 9781250261779, ages 4–8)

In this celebration of hair, family, and self-love, Stella must contend with her misbehaving hair, so she visits her aunties spread across the solar system, finding the perfect hairdo along the way.

Watch Me: A Story of Immigration and Inspiration

by Doyin Richards, illus. by Joe Cepeda (Feiwel and Friends, Jan. 12, 2021 $18.99, 9781250266514, ages 3 – 5)

Based on a true story, this picture book about immigration follows Joe, the author’s father, who came to America from Africa when he was young and succeeded when many thought he would fail.


Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball

by Jen Bryant, illus. by Frank Morrison (Abrams, Oct. 6, $18.99, 9781419741081, ages 4–8)

Hall of Famer Baylor was one of basketball’s all-time greatest players as well as a civil rights activist, inspiring others on and off the court.

Dark Was the Night: Blind Willie Johnson’s Journey to the Stars

by Gary Golio, illus. by E.B. Lewis (Penguin/Paulsen, Aug. 25, $17.99, 9781524738884, ages 5–8)

The story of legendary Texas musician Blind Willie Johnson, whose song “Dark Was the Night” was included on the Voyager space probe’s Golden Record.

Flying Free: How Bessie Coleman's Dreams Took Flight

by Karyn Parsons, illus. by R. Gregory Christie (Little, Brown, Dec. 1, $18.99, 9780316457194, ages 4–8)

Based on Karyn Parsons’s critically acclaimed Sweet Blackberry video series comes the story of Coleman, the first African American female to earn her pilot’s license, who traveled the country speaking out against discrimination.

Flying High: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles

by Michelle Meadows, illus. by Ebony Glenn (Holt, Dec. 29, $18.99, 9781250205667, ages 4–8)

This biography of gymnastics champion and Olympic winner Biles follows her through her time in foster care as a child, her adoption by her grandparents, and her introduction to gymnastics, which launched a lifelong passion.

Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice

by Nikki Grimes, illus. by Laura Freeman (S&S/Atheneum, Aug. 25, $17.99, 9781534462670, ages 4–8)

The story of Senator Kamala Harris, a daughter of immigrants who would grow up to run for president and fight for change.

RESPECT: Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul

by Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Frank Morrison (S&S/Atheneum, Aug. 25, $18.99, 9781534452282, ages 4–8)

Celebrating “the Queen of Soul,” this book follows Franklin from her earliest days singing in her father’s Detroit church to her multiple Grammy Awards and place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and lifelong fight for social justice and civil rights.

Runaway: The Daring Escape of Ona Judge

by Ray Anthony Shepard, illus. by Keith Mallett (FSG, Jan. 5, 2021 $18.99, 9780374307042, ages 3–6)

The story of Judge’s enslavement and self-emancipation from George Washington’s household, which follows her from childhood until adolescence and her daring escape.

She Was the First!: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm

by Katheryn Russell-Brown, illus. by Eric Velasquez (Lee & Low, Aug. 4, $19.95, 9781620143469, ages 6–12)

Tracing Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s life from her childhood in Brooklyn and Barbados to her work as a teacher and community activist, this picture book biography chronicles Chisholm's groundbreaking political career, including her campaign as the first Black person to run for president.

Shirley Chisholm Is a Verb

by Veronica Chambers, illus. by Rachelle Baker (Dial, July 28, $18.99, 9780803730892, ages 4 – 8)

This picture book biography shines a spotlight on Chisholm, the first Black woman in Congress, who sought the Democratic nomination to be president of the United States, and how her presidential bid and actions left a lasting legacy that continue to inspire, uplift, and instruct.

Song in a Rainstorm: The Story of Musical Prodigy Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins

by Glenda Armand, illus. by Brittany Jackson (Albert Whitman, Jan. 1, 2021 $17.99, 9780807509418, ages 4–8)

A long-overlooked musical great takes center stage in this biography of Wiggins, who was born blind into a life of slavery but went on to become one of the best musicians of his time.

Swish! The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters

by Suzanne Slade, illus. by Don Tate (Little, Brown, Nov. 10, $17.99, 9780316481670, ages 4–8)

In this true story of the Harlem Globtrotters, readers will learn about the skilled athletes, expert players, and performers that made up the team that changed basketball forever.

William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad

by Don Tate (Peachtree, Nov. 1, $18.99, 9781561459353, ages 6–10)

The little-known story of Still, the Father of the Underground Railroad who collected the stories of thousands of freedom seekers and helped to reunite families.

Middle Grade


Arcade and the Dazzling Truth Detector

by Rashad Jennings (Zonderkidz, Sept. 1, $16.99, 9780310767442, ages 8 and up)

In this fourth and final book in the Coin Slot Chronicles series by former NFL running back Jennings, questions about the mysterious Triple T Token will finally be answered.

Becoming Muhammad Ali

by Kwame Alexander and James Patterson, illus. by Dawud Anyabwile (Little, Brown/Patterson, Oct. 5, $16.99, 9780316498166, ages 8–12)

Authorized by and written in cooperation with the Muhammad Ali estate, this biographical novel follows young Ali⁠—Cassius Clay⁠—before he became one of the greatest sports heroes of all time.

Before the Ever After

by Jacqueline Woodson (Penguin/Paulsen, Sept. 1, $17.99, 9780399545436, ages 10 and up)

Exploring how a family moves forward when their glory days have passed, this story follows ZJ, whose pro football star father is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time.

Class Act

by Jerry Craft (Quill Tree, Sept. 9, $12.99, 9780062885500, ages 8–12)

In this companion to the Newbery Award-winning New Kid, Craft focuses on Jordan’s friend Drew, who has his own struggles with anxiety and is feeling isolated among his privileged peers at Riverdale Academy Day School.

Forever This Summer

by Leslie C. Youngblood (Little, Brown, July 6, $16.99, 9781368019057, ages 8 – 12)

From the author of Love Like the Sky comes the story of a girl named Georgie whose family moves to a small town in Louisiana to take care of her great-aunt. There, Georgie helps out at a once-famous diner that served celebrities like the Jackson 5 and the Supremes and becomes friends with Markie, a foster kid with a limb difference and a big attitude.

Hide and Seeker

by Daka Hermon (Scholastic Press, Sept. 15, $17.99, 9781338583625, ages 8–12)

A childhood game gets a creepy twist in this story about Justin, whose best friend Zee goes missing for a year and comes back different. Things go awry at Zee’s welcome-home party when the kids play hide and seek and begin to disappear one by one.


by Nnedi Okorafor (Viking, Aug. 18, $16.99, 9780593113523, ages 10 and up)

Okorafor’s first novel for middle grade readers, set in contemporary Nigeria, introduces a boy who can access superpowers with the help of the magical Ikenga. See our full review.

Jake the Fake Keeps His Cool

by Craig Robinson and Adam Mansbach, illus. by Keith Knight (Crown, June 16, $16.99, 9780553523591, ages 8–12)

In the third in this series of hybrid novels, which began with Jake the Fake Keeps It Real, Jake has finally put an end to his fake-ster ways but must contend with becoming the middle child when his mother announces she’s pregnant.

Jayla Jumps In

by Joy Jones (Albert Whitman, Sept. 1, $16.99, 9780807560761, ages 9–12)

When 11-year old Jayla finds out her mother used to be a Double Dutch champion, she decides to follow in her mom’s footsteps in hopes that it will make her stand out in her big family.

Kingston and the Magician's Lost and Found

by Rucker Moses, illus. by Theo Gangi (Putnam, Oct. 27, $17.99, 9780525516866, ages 10 and up)

A young magician must find his missing father, who took all of Echo City, Brooklyn’s magic with him when he disappeared. When Kingston finds a magic box his father left behind as a clue, he knows there’s more to his father’s disappearance than meets the eye.

The Last Mirror on the Left

by Lamar Giles, illus. by Dapo Adeola (HMH/Versify, Oct. 20, $16.99, 9780358129417, ages 8–12)

In this sequel to The Last Last-Day-of-Summer, the Legendary Alston Boys bring a fugitive to justice in a world that mirrors their own but has its own rules to play by.

Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It

by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Brian Pinkney (Little, Brown, Sept. 29, $17.99, 9780316536776, ages 8–12)

This illustrated novel provides a front-row seat to the groundbreaking moments in history that led to African Americans earning the right to vote, through the eyes of Loretta, Roly, and Aggie B., members of the Little family. Each present the story of their lives, spanning three generations, from a cotton field in 1927 until the end of the presidential election of 1968.

Maya and the Rising Dark

by Rena Barron (HMH, Sept. 22, $16.99, 9781328635181, ages 8–12)

In this contemporary fantasy, 12-year-old Maya’s search for her missing father puts her at the center of a battle between our world, gods called the Orishas, and the mysterious Dark world.

Serena Says

by Tanita S. Davis (HarperCollins/Tegen, Oct. 7, $16.99, 9780062936974, ages 8–12)

After Serena’s best friend abandons her for someone new, Serena finds her voice through vlogging and learns to speak out, even though she can’t pause, edit, or delete in real life.

Something to Say

by Lisa Moore Ramée, illus. by Bre Indigo (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, June 17, $16.99, 9780062836717, ages 8–12)

Eleven-year-old introvert Janae speaks up when she and her new friend are paired up for a class debate about the proposed name change of their school. See our full review and our interview with Ramée.

Turning Point

by Paula Chase (Greenwillow, Sept. 15, $16.99, 9780062965660, ages 8–12)

This standalone companion to So Done and Dough Boys also features characters from the Cove, a low-income housing project, this time telling the story of Rasheed and Monique, best friends whose relationship is threated when distance and a big secret come between them.

Tristan Strong Destroys the World

by Kwame Mbalia (Disney/Riordan, Oct. 6, $17.99, 9781368042383, ages 8–12)

Just back from a victorious but exhausting adventure in Alke, the land of African American folk heroes and African Gods, Tristan Strong must rescue his grandmother, who has been abducted by a mysterious villain bent on revenge. See our full starred review of Book 1.

The True Definition of Neva Beane

by Christine Kendall (Scholastic, Sept. 15, $17.99, 9781338324891, ages 8–12)

Twelve-year-old Neva struggles to find her place in a world that is uncertain, scary, and filled with unanswered questions. Comforted by words and their meanings, Neva fills the pages her dictionary with definitions that reveal truths about what’s happening around her and help her to define herself.


by Varian Johnson, illus. by Shannon Wright (Graphix, Oct. 6, $12.99, 9781338236132, ages 8–12)

When twins and best friends Maureen and Francine Carter start sixth grade, Francine becomes Fran and expresses interest in activities and clothes that will set her apart from her sister, who is content with how things are.

When Life Gives You Mangos

by Kereen Getten (Delacorte, Sept. 15, $16.99, 9780593173978, ages 8–12)

Twelve-year-old Clara can’t remember anything about her previous summer when a hurricane rocked her island home. This summer, a new girl unlike any other visits the island and makes big waves.


Baseball’s Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall of the Negro Leagues

by Andrea Williams (Roaring Brook, Jan. 5, 2021 $19.99, 9781250623720, ages 10–14)

In this story of Manley, the first and only woman in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Williams weaves the parallel stories of segregated leagues with the tale of an inspiring woman at the center of it all.

Bee Fearless: Dream Like a Kid

by Mikaila Ulmer (Putnam, Aug. 18, $17.99, 9781984815088, ages 10 and up)Fifteen-year-old lemonade entrepreneur and one of TIME Magazine’s Top 30 Most Influential Teens, Ulmer shares her advice for life and business in this memoir.

The Talk: Conversations About Race, Love & Truth

edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson (Crown, Aug. 11, $16.99, 9780593121610, ages 10 and up)

Thirty diverse, award-winning authors and illustrators—including Renée Watson, Torrey Maldonado, Nikki Grimes, Gordon C. James, and Christopher Myers—come together to create a collection of short stories, essays, poems, and art that invites all families to be anti-racist.



The Awakening of Malcolm X

by Tiffany Jackson and Ilyasah Shabazz (FSG, Jan. 5, 2021 $17.99, 9780374313296, Ages 12–18)

This fictionalized account of Malcolm X’s adolescent years in jail is written by his daughter, Shabazz, along with author Jackson. The book chronologically follows X: A Novel, but can be read as a standalone historical novel inviting discussions on structural racism, prison reform, and civil rights.

The Black Kids

by Christina Hammonds Reed (Simon & Schuster, Aug. 4, $18.99, 9781534462724, ages 14 and up)

Set in 1992 Los Angeles, this coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy Black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots.

Charming as a Verb

by Ben Philippe (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, Sept. 8, $18.99, 9780062824141, ages 13 and up)

From Morris award-winner Philippe comes a romantic comedy starring two Black leads: Haitian Henri “Halti” Haltiwanger, a star debater and popular student at FATE Academy, and his classmate and neighbor, Corinne, who extorts Henri after uncovering his less-than-honest dog-walking scheme.

Cinderella Is Dead

by Kalynn Byron (Bloomsbury, July 7, $18.99, 9781547603879, ages 13 and up)

Black, queer girls team up to overthrow the kingdom in this retelling of “Cinderella,” which takes place 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, long after the fairy tale has ended.

Cane Warriors

by Alex Wheatle (Black Sheep, Oct. 20, $14.95, 9781617758553, ages 12–18)

In 1760s Jamaica, Moa, a 14-year-old slave, gets caught up in the most significant slave rebellion in Jamaican history.

Daughters of Jubilation

by Kara Lee Corthron (Simon & Schuster, Oct. 13, $18.99, 9781481459501, ages 14 and up)

From the author of The Truth of Right Now comes a fantasy novel that follows a Black teen as she finds her place among a family of women with magical abilities in the Jim Crow South.

Dear Justyce

by Nic Stone (Crown, Sept. 29, $18.99, 9781984829665, ages 14 and up)

In this sequel to Dear Martin, incarcerated teen Quan, who grew up a block away from Justyce in their southwest Atlanta neighborhood, writes letters to Justyce about his experiences in the American juvenile justice system, providing a look into its flawed practices and silenced voices.

Early Departures

by Justin A. Reynolds (HarperCollins/Tegen, Sept. 22, $17.99, 9780062748409, ages 14 and up)

From the author of Opposite of Always comes a speculative fiction standalone about a teen named Jamal and his best friend Q, who is brought back to life for a short time before he will die again.

Every Body Looking

by Candice Iloh (Dutton, Sept. 22, $17.99, 9780525556206, ages 12 and up)

This debut novel-in-verse tells the story of Ada, the daughter of an immigrant father and an African American mother, and her struggle to find a place for herself in America and in her own family.

Facing the Sun

by Janice Lynn Mather (Simon & Schuster, Aug. 11, $18.99, 9781534406049, ages 14 and up)

In this Caribbean-set story, four friends experience unexpected changes in their lives during the summer when a hotel developer purchases their community’s beloved beach.


by Tiffany D. Jackson (HarperCollins/Tegen, Sept. 15, $17.99, 9780062840356, ages 13 and up)

Jackson gives readers another ripped-from-the-headlines mystery, this time telling the story of horrific secrets hiding behind the limelight and the power of a young woman’s voice. After aspiring singer Korey Fields is found dead, Enchanted Jones awakes with blood on her hands and no memory of the previous night.


by Tracy Deonn (S&S/McElderry, Sept. 15, $18.99, 9781534441606, ages 14 and up)

A modern-day twist on Arthurian legend, Deonn’s contemporary fantasy follows 16-year-old Bree Matthews who wants to leave her life behind after her mother dies in a car accident, and joins a residential program for bright high school students at UNC-Chapel Hill. It’s the perfect escape until a magical attack happens on campus, leading to Bree’s discovery of her own unique magic and buried memories. Read our review here.

Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel

by Jason Reynolds, illus. by Danica Novgorodoff (Atheneum/Dlouhy, Oct. 13, $19.99, 9781534444959, ages 14 and up)

Reynolds’s Newbery Honor, Printz Honor, and Coretta Scott King Honor–winning novel has been adapted in graphic novel format with artwork by Navgorodoff. Read our full starred review of the original book.

Lux: The New Girl (Flyy Girls #1)

by Ashley Woodfolk (Penguin Workshop, Sept. 1, $6.99, 9780593096017, ages 12 and up)

In this new series, four city girls navigate life at an arts high school in Harlem all while dealing with their families, friendships, and feelings. The first book follows Lux, who has been kicked out of every school since her father left and will be sent to military school if she doesn’t shape up.

Micah: The Good Girl (Flyy Girls #2)

by Ashley Woodfolk (Penguin Workshop, Sept. 1, $6.99, 9780593096048, ages 12 and up)

The second book in the Flyy Girls series follows “good girl” Micah Dupree, whose life is turned upside down when her brother unexpectedly dies.

Now That I’ve Found You

by Kristina Forest (Roaring Brook, Aug. 25, $17.99, 9781250295026, ages 12–18)

From the author of I Wanna Be Where You Are comes a new romance about an 18-year-old disgraced starlet who enlists the help of a cute delivery boy when her eccentric grandmother goes missing in New York City. See our full review.

Punching the Air

by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, Sept. 1, $19.99, 9780062996480, ages 14 and up)

Award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five team up for a novel-in-verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated.


by Jordan Ifueko (Amulet, Aug. 18, $18.99, 9781419739828, ages 12 and up)

In Ifueko’s fantasy debut, a woman known as “the Lady” commands a djinn to build her an invisible stronghold and impregnate her with a child who must someday grant her third wish. She raises the resulting daughter in ignorance of her origins, isolating and training her for an undisclosed reason. See our full starred review.

Rebel Sisters

by Tochi Onyebuchi (Razorbill, Oct. 20, $18.99, 9781984835062, ages 12 and up)

The battles are over, but the fight for justice has just begun in this sequel to War Girls, in which Ify is now 19 and living in the Space Colonies as a high-ranking medical officer, when a mysterious virus breaks out among the children of the colonies.

Roman and Jewel

by Dana L. Davis (Inkyard, Jan. 5, 2021 $18.99, 9781335070623, ages 13 and up)

Jerzie Jhames is determined to win the lead role in Broadway’s hottest new show, a Romeo and Juliet-inspired hip-hopera featuring a diverse cast and modern twists, but her hopes are dashed when she’s cast as the understudy.

Smash It

by Francina Simone (Inkyard, Sept. 22, $18.99, 9781335146502, ages 13 and up)

In this debut, a girl’s surprise part in a hip-hopera high school production of Othello leads to a journey of self-empowerment as she makes new friends and garners the attention of three very different boys.

The Summer of Everything

by Julian Winters (Interlude, Sept. 8, $17.99, 9781945053917, ages 12 and up)

Comic book geek Wes excels at slacking off and pining after his best friend, Nico. While his dream job at the local indie bookstore is being threatened by a coffee shop franchise and his parents are pestering him about picking a college major, Wes can’t avoid adulthood forever.

This Is My America

by Kim Johnson (Random House, July 28, $17.99, 9780593118764, ages 12 and up)

Every week, 17-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row and, after seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. See our q&a with Johnson here.


Call Me American (Adapted for Young Adults): The Extraordinary True Story of a Young Somali Immigrant

by Abdi Nor Iftin (Delacorte, June 16, $17.99, 9781984897114, ages 12 and up)

This memoir follows Somalian Iftin’s journey into young adulthood, providing an intimate account of modern immigration as civil war forces the family to flee to safety.

Walk Toward the Rising Sun: From Child Soldier to Ambassador for Peace

by Ger Duany with Garen Thomas (Make Me a World, Sept. 22, $18.99, 9781524719401, ages 12 and up)

In this autobiography, a Sudanese boy goes from a child soldier to an international peace activist and from a struggling refugee to a Hollywood actor.

When They Call You a Terrorist (Young Adult Edition): A Story of Black Lives Matter and the Power to Change the World

by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, asha badele, and Benee Knauer (Wednesday, Sept. 22, $18.99, 9781250194985, ages 12–18)

The bestseller by the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement has been adapted for a YA audience with additional photos and journal entries.