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Celebrating Black Authors

We live in a wonderfully diverse world. Our classrooms should reflect this diversity in what and how we teach as well as the resources we make available to our students.

This celebration should be year round but there are occasions when we need to make a dilligent effort to celebrate specific groups.

During Black History Month ELA teachers should celebrate Black authors with our students, as we hope all subject teachers are celebrating prominent Black people in their respective fields.

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You can focus on Black authors that you already carry in your class or school library but, as there are digital ways to easily access books in public librarys via library apps, why not expose your students to as many amazing books by Black authors as possible.

Below I have gathered some great resources you can use. Not all of the resources have exclusively Black authors though, so double check before sharing.

Share a summary, a book ad/trailers, a book talk, read a sample or complete a book tasting activity with your classes.

List of authors:

50 Black YA authors you should read, from Angie Thomas to Walter Dean Myers & a video “Black History Month’s historical origins explained”

Book Summaries:

Book ads/trailers/author talks/book talks/reviews:

Samplers:

  • First chapter readings
  • Sampler Packets from Penguin with HS students (see The Stars and the Blackness Between Them)
  • Short Story anthologies:
  • Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America Anthology

According to goodreads:

Black Enough is a star-studded anthology edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi that will delve into the closeted thoughts, hidden experiences, and daily struggles of black teens across the country. From a spectrum of backgrounds—urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—Black Enough showcases diversity within diversity.

Whether it’s New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds writing about #blackboyjoy or Newberry Honor-winning author Renee Watson talking about black girls at camp in Portland, or emerging author Jay Coles’s story about two cowboys kissing in the south—Black Enough is an essential collection full of captivating coming-of-age stories about what it’s like to be young and black in America.

  • Book Ad: What It Means to Be Black? Black is… Whatever you want it to be. There are countless ways to be “Black enough”, & some of the incredible authors contributing to the powerful new anthology tell us just what that means: Jason Reynolds, Nic Stone, Ibi Zoboi
  • Book sampler
  • Audiobook sampler
  • Fresh Ink Short Story Anthology

According to goodreads:

In partnership with We Need Diverse Books, thirteen of the most recognizable, diverse authors come together in this remarkable YA anthology featuring ten short stories, a graphic short story, and a one-act play from Walter Dean Myers never before in-print.

Careful–you are holding fresh ink. And not hot-off-the-press, still-drying-in-your-hands ink. Instead, you are holding twelve stories with endings that are still being written–whose next chapters are up to you.

Because these stories are meant to be read. And shared.

Thirteen of the most accomplished YA authors deliver a label-defying anthology that includes ten short stories, a graphic novel, and a one-act play. This collection will inspire you to break conventions, bend the rules, and color outside the lines. All you need is fresh ink


For more on sharing reading with your students see:

8 Strategies to Support Choice Reading in the Secondary Classroom

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