African American Historical Fiction for Teens
A printable pdf of this booklist is available.
Young Adult historical fiction about African Americans
Laurie Halse Anderson
Two African American teens's loyalty is tested in these stories set during the Revolutionary War.
Octavian, a young African American, is brought up as part of a science experiment during the American Revolution.
- North by Night : a Story of the Underground Railroad
- Stealing South : a Story of the Underground Railroad
Two stories of teens helping slaves escape along the Underground Railroad.
Stealing Freedom Twelve year old Ann Maria decides to escape on the Underground Railroad after her family is sold off.
Mississippi Trial, 1955 A 16 year old disagrees with his grandfather about the murder of a 14 year old African American from Chicago.
Christopher Paul Curtis
The Watsons Go to Birmingham The Watsons, an African American family from Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after their visit to Alabama in the summer of 1963.
- Copper Sun Two teens, a slave and an indentured servant, escape a Carolina plantation to sanctuary in Florida.
- Fire from the Rock Sylvia Patterson is selected to integrate Little Rock’s Central High in 1957.
Jazmin's Notebook Teenager Jazmin records her life in 1960s Harlem in her diary and poems.
Tonya C. Hegamin
Pemba's song : a Ghost Story Pemba resents moving from Brooklyn to Connecticut but soon becomes attached to the teen who once served as a slave in Pemba's new house.
Traci L. Jones
Finding My Place Tiphanie learns about prejudice as the only African American in her Denver high school in 1975.
True North Lucy, 14, is influenced by her abolitionist grandfather in helping a fugitive slave girl.
- Day of Tears Emma has raised the Butler girls, but now their father may sell Emma.
- Guardian A white man and his son witness the lynching of an innocent black man in 1946.
- This Strange New Feeling Love stories from the time of slavery.
- Dear Ellen Bee : a Civil War Scrapbook of Two Union Spies
- Letters from a Slave Boy : the Story of Joseph Jacobs
- Letters from a Slave Girl : the Story of Harriet Jacobs
Rock and the River In 1968,14 year old Sam is influenced by his father's nonviolence and his brother’s ties to the Black Panthers.
Shelia P. Moses
- The Baptism Twelve-year-old Leon’s 20th century town is still affected by its history of slavery.
- The Legend of Buddy Bush
- The Return of Buddy Bush
Pattie Mae, 12 years old in 1947, learns about her family’s history in North Carolina and Harlem in these two novels.
47 The 14 year-old slave named 47 learns about freedom from Tall John in 1832.
Walter Dean Myers
- Fallen Angels Richie Perry serves in Vietnam after high school.
- The Glory Field A family’s 241 year history revolves around land in South Carolina they call the Glory Field.
- Riot Claire, 15 and the daughter of an Irish mother and African American father, is caught in the 1863 NYC draft riots.
Yummy : the Last Days of a Southside Shorty A graphic novel of the violent life of an 11 year old gang member.
The Legend of Bass Reeves A part-true, part-fictional account of Bass Reeves, who escaped slavery in the 19th Century and, as a federal marshal, helped to tame the rough conditions in the Oklahoma Territory.
- Come Juneteenth
- The Ever-After Bird
- Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons : the Story of Phillis Wheatley
- The Last Full Measure
- The Letter Writer
- Taking Liberty: the story of Oney Judge, George Washington's Runaway Slave
- An Unlikely Friendship : a Novel of Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley
- Wolf by the Ears
These stories span colonial times through the Civil War.
Three stories of the Logan family from Reconstruction through the Depression.
Carole Boston Weatherford
Becoming Billie Holiday Jazz vocalist Billie Holiday looks back on her early years in this fictional memoir written in verse.
Diane Lee Wilson
Black Storm Comin Colton, 12, joins the Pony Express and risks his life to deliver an important message.
After Tupac & D Foster Three friends connect over a love of Tupac in 1996.