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.

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.

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 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.

Sharon Draper

  • 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.

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.
  • This Strange New Feeling Love stories from the time of slavery.

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.

Shelia P. Moses

  • The Baptism Twelve-year-old Leon’s 20th century town is still affected by its history of slavery.

Pattie Mae, 12 years old in 1947, learns about her family’s history in North Carolina and Harlem in these two novels.

Walter Mosley

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.

Greg Neri

Yummy : the Last Days of a Southside Shorty A graphic novel of the violent life of an 11 year old gang member.

Ann Rinaldi

These stories span colonial times through the Civil War.

Mildred Taylor

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.

Jacqueline Woodson

After Tupac & D Foster Three friends connect over a love of Tupac in 1996.