African American Historical Fiction for Teens

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Article in Young Adult Fiction, African American and Historical categories

A printable pdf of this booklist is available here (6/2011)

Young Adult historical fiction about African Americans

M.T. Anderson

The Astonishing life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation series

Octavian, a young African American, is brought up as part of a science experiment during the American Revolution.

Katherine Ayres

Two stories of teens helping slaves escape along the Underground Railroad.

Elisa Carbone

Stealing Freedom Twelve year old Ann Maria decides to escape on the Underground Railroad after her family is sold off.

Chris Crowe

Mississippi Trial, 1955 A 16 year old fights 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.

Sharon Draper

  • Copper Sun Two teens, a slave and 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.

Nikki Grimes

Jazmin's Notebook Teenager Jazmin records her life in 1960s Harlem in her diary and poems.

Traci L. Jones

Finding My Place Tiphanie learns about prejudice as the only African American in her Denver high school in 1975.

Kathryn Lasky

True North Lucy, 14, is influenced by her abolitionist grandfather in helping a fugitive slave girl.

Julius Lester

  • 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.

Mary Lyons

Kekla Magoon

  • 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