The North Paran Book Buzzlist: Great Books For Black Teenage Boys
Who said teenage boys don’t read? With the right books, teenage boys can get just as engrossed in a book as anyone else. (Just hide the Xbox.) This week,, MyBrownBaby’s favorite online bookstore, assembled this list of thoughtful, powerful and relevant novels and memoirs that speak to the experiences of African American teenage boys. We love them, and so will your teen boys. Check them out:
No modern tragedy has had a greater impact on race relations in America than the kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old black boy from Chicago whose body was battered beyond recognition and dumped in the Tallahatchie River while visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, in 1955. This grotesque crime became the catalyst for the civil rights movement. Simeon Wright saw and heard his cousin Emmett whistle at Caroline Bryant at a grocery store; he was sleeping in the same bed with him when Emmett was taken; and he was at the sensational trial. This is his gripping coming-of-age memoir.

2. We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success, by Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, Rameck Hunt and Sharon Draper

Growing up on the rough streets of Newark, New Jersey, Rameck, George, and Sampson could easily have followed their childhood friends into drug dealing, gangs, and prison. But when a presentation at their school made the three boys aware of the opportunities available to them in the medical and dental professions, they made a pact among themselves that they would become doctors. It took a lot of determination and a lot of support from one another but despite all the hardships along the way, the three succeeded.
3. Dark Sons, by Nikki Grimes
Betrayed, lost, and isolated, the perspectives of two teenage boys modern-day Sam and biblical Ishmael unite over millennia to illustrate the power of forgiveness. Both lyrical and powerful, Grimes’ unusual novel is a meditation on faith and father-son relationships
4. Two the Hard Way, by Travis Hunter
With an authentic voice that reflects the reality of urban life, Hunter in his YA debut provides a compelling, vividly realistic look into life in the housing projects as seen through the eyes of two brothers trying to get by. With discussion questions at the end, the intense contemporary drama is sure to engage teens.
5. All the Wrong Moves, by Nikki Carter
Sunday Tolliver needs to survive a concert tour with her diva cousin Dreya before getting a shot at her R&B dreams, but mega-bad-boy star Truth and a jealous Dreya aren’t making it easy and it’s all being captured on camera on a behind-the-tour reality show.
6. A Slip in the Right Direction, by Rachel Berry
The coming-of-age story of a 14-year-old boy, Clifton Henderson, aka Slip, living in Chicago. His daily struggles with surviving the street gangs, puppy love and family life matures him to unexpected wisdom and the desire to inspire others. Clifton also discovers and learns to deal with the natural occurrences of becoming a young man, and his visions of premonitions.

The North Paran Book Buzzlist is a weekly feature produced by that gives readers an entertaining digest of the most fascinating books that are being talked about by the black community today. Remember: For every book you purchase at, a new book will be given to a child in need!

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

One Comment

  1. Fantastic list. I use “We Beat the Streets” in my 8th grade reading class. The boys and girls LOVE it. I’m going to order the Emmett Till now, and pass on the list to my colleagues. THANK YOU.

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