cean County LibraryTeen Zone > Teen Reads > Tones in Black


Stories about African-American teens

Arilla Sun Down ~Virginia Hamilton
Arilla understands that she is Aerind (part African American, part Native American), but she cannot identify with just one race like her brother Jack. Only after saving her brother's life can she discover her true identity.

Danger Zone ~David Klass
When he joins a predominantly black "Teen Dream Team" that will be representing the United States in an international basketball tournament in Rome, Jimmy Doyle makes some unexpected discoveries about prejudice, racism, and politics.

The Disappearance ~Rosa Guy
After he is acquitted of murdering a grocery store owner, Imamu Jones is released into the custody of the Aimsley family. Imamu believes that things are finally looking up--until the Aimsleys' daughter disappears and he becomes the prime suspect.

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun ~Jacqueline Woodson
Fourteen-year-old Melanin Sun's comfortable, quiet life is shattered when his mother reveals she has fallen in love with a woman.

Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons : the Story of Phillis Wheatley ~Ann Rinaldi
A fictionalized biography of the eighteenth-century African woman who, as a child, was brought to New England to be a slave, and after publishing her first poem when a teenager, gained renown throughout the colonies as an important black American poet.

Like Sisters on the Homefront ~Rita Williams-Garcia
When Gayle gets into trouble with her boyfriend, her mother sends the street-smart 14-year-old and her baby, Jose, down to Georgia to live with Uncle Luther and her family. There Gayle meets Great, the family matriarch, whose stories of the past begin to change how Gayle sees her future.

McKendree ~Sandra Belton
In 1948, while spending the summer with her aunt in West Virginia to find her family roots, Tilara begins visiting the "colored" old folks' home called McKendree, makes new friends, and learns to love herself.

Romiette and Julio ~Sharon Draper
After falling in love on the Internet, Romiette, an African-American girl, and Julio, a Hispanic boy, discover that they attend the same high school. There a gang whose members object to their interracial dating harasses them.

Run for Your Life ~Marilyn Levy
While living in a housing project in Oakland, California, thirteen-year-old Kisha joins a track team which helps her discover that she can be a winner.

Slam ~Walter Dean Myers
Sixteen-year-old "Slam" Harris is counting on his noteworthy basketball talents to get him out of the inner city and give him a chance to succeed in life, but his coach sees things differently.

Toning the Sweep ~Angela Johnson
On a visit to her grandmother Ola, who is dying of cancer in her house in the desert, fourteen-year-old Emmie hears many stories about the past and her family history and comes to a better understanding of relatives both dead and living.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 ~Christopher Paul Curtis
The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963.

When Kambia Elaine Flew in From Neptune ~Lori Aurelia Williams
Shayla, an aspiring writer growing up in a poor section of Houston, can't figure out the new girl next door, Kambia Elaine, who tells fantastic stories. She slowly realizes that Kambia Elaine needs help, but Shayla doesn't know where to find it.

White Lilacs ~Caroline Meyer
In 1921 in Dillon, Texas, twelve-year-old Rose Lee sees trouble threatening her black community when the whites decide to take the land there for a park and forcibly relocate the black families to an ugly stretch of territory outside the town.

Compiled by L. Baldwin, Librarian
Brick & Upper Shores
January 2001

Copyright 1996-2002 Disclaimer. All rights reserved. Credits. 05.01.15


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