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30 More Chapter & Middle Grade Books Featuring Black Protagonists

Curated by Laura Arnhold
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Ghost book
7.0
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Ghost
Written by Jason Reynolds
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13
A National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature.
Nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS's The Great American Read.
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$7.99
Bookshop
$6.79
Amazon
$5.99
Used $1.14
Prices as of Apr 22
New Kid book
6.0
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New Kid
Written & illustrated by Jerry Craft
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

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$21.99
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$18.69
Amazon
$10.19
Used $3.36
Prices as of Apr 22
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky book
6.0
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Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
Written & illustrated by Kwame Mbalia
Thoughts from Laura Arnhold
I strongly suggest reading this as a way to learn more about African American storytelling and folklore and using it as a jumping-off point to do a deep dive into the history of Black people in America. This is not only a fun read but an important one.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Kwame Mbalia’s epic fantasy, a middle grade American Gods set in a richly-imagined world populated with African American folk heroes and West African gods.

Seventh grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie’s notebook. Tristan chases after it–is that a doll?–and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature’s hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left black American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?

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$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$12.20
Used $3.83
Prices as of Apr 22
From the Desk of Zoe Washington book
6.0
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From the Desk of Zoe Washington
Written by Janae Marks
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

An Amazon Best Book of the Month * #1 Kids Indie Next List * A Junior Library Guild Selection * Four Starred Reviews

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$16.99
Bookshop
$14.44
Amazon
$11.99
Used $1.28
Prices as of Apr 22
Genesis Begins Again book
6.0
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Genesis Begins Again
Written & illustrated by Alicia D. Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

This deeply sensitive and powerful debut novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old who must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself.

There are ninety-six things Genesis hates about herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Like #95: Because her skin is so dark, people call her charcoal and eggplant—even her own family. And #61: Because her family is always being put out of their house, belongings laid out on the sidewalk for the world to see. When your dad is a gambling addict and loses the rent money every month, eviction is a regular occurrence.

What’s not so regular is that this time they all don’t have a place to crash, so Genesis and her mom have to stay with her grandma. It’s not that Genesis doesn’t like her grandma, but she and Mom always fight—Grandma haranguing Mom to leave Dad, that she should have gone back to school, that if she’d married a lighter skinned man none of this would be happening, and on and on and on. But things aren’t all bad. Genesis actually likes her new school; she’s made a couple friends, her choir teacher says she has real talent, and she even encourages Genesis to join the talent show.

But how can Genesis believe anything her teacher says when her dad tells her the exact opposite? How can she stand up in front of all those people with her dark, dark skin knowing even her own family thinks lesser of her because of it? Why, why, why won’t the lemon or yogurt or fancy creams lighten her skin like they’re supposed to? And when Genesis reaches #100 on the list of things she hates about herself, will she continue on, or can she find the strength to begin again?

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$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$11.99
Used $4.95
Prices as of Apr 22
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Hurricane Child book
6.0
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Hurricane Child
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Prepare to be swept up by this exquisite novel that reminds us that grief and love can open the world in mystical ways.
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$7.99
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$6.79
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$7.99
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Prices as of Apr 22
For Black Girls Like Me book
5.0
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For Black Girls Like Me
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

I am a girl but most days I feel like a question mark. Makeda June Kirkland is eleven-years-old, adopted, and black. Her parents and big sister are white, and even though she loves her family very much, Makeda often feels left out. When Makeda’s family moves from Maryland to New Mexico, she leaves behind her best friend, Lena- the only other adopted black girl she knows- for a new life. In New Mexico, everything is different. At home, Makeda’s sister is too cool to hang out with her anymore and at school, she can’t seem to find one true friend. Through it all, Makeda can’t help wondering: What would it feel like to grow up with a family that looks like me? Through singing, dreaming, and writing secret messages back and forth with Lena, Makeda might just carve a small place for herself in the world.

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$16.99
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$14.44
Amazon
$11.59
Used $2.12
Prices as of Apr 22
The Only Black Girls in Town book
5.0
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The Only Black Girls in Town
Written by Brandy Colbert
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13
Award-winning YA author Brandy Colbert's debut middle-grade novel about the only two black girls in town who discover a collection of hidden journals revealing shocking secrets of the past.

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$16.99
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$14.44
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$16.99
Used $16.99
Prices as of Apr 22
The Season of Styx Malone book
5.0
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The Season of Styx Malone
Written & illustrated by Kekla Magoon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A CORETTA SCOTT KING HONOR BOOK AND THE WINNER OF THE BOSTON GLOBE HORN BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION! “Extraordinary friendships . . . extraordinary storytelling.” –Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-Winning author of One Crazy Summer Meet Caleb and Bobby Gene, two brothers embarking on a madcap, heartwarming, one-thing-leads-to-another adventure in which friendships are forged, loyalties are tested . . . and miracles just might happen. Caleb Franklin and his big brother Bobby Gene are excited to have adventures in the woods behind their house. But Caleb dreams of venturing beyond their ordinary small town. Then Caleb and Bobby Gene meet new neighbor Styx Malone. Styx is sixteen and oozes cool. Styx promises the brothers that together, the three of them can pull off the Great Escalator Trade–exchanging one small thing for something better until they achieve their wildest dream. But as the trades get bigger, the brothers soon find themselves in over their heads. Styx has secrets–secrets so big they could ruin everything. Five best of the year lists! NPR, HornBook, Kirkus Reviews, SLJ, Shelf Awareness Five starred reviews!

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$7.99
Bookshop
$6.79
Amazon
$7.99
Used $7.99
Prices as of Apr 22
Something to Say book
5.0
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Something to Say
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From the author of A Good Kind of Trouble, a Walter Dean Myers Honor Book, comes another unforgettable story about finding your voice--and finding your people. Perfect for fans of Sharon Draper, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds.

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$16.99
Bookshop
$14.44
Amazon
$16.99
Used $16.99
Prices as of Apr 22
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