It’s no secret that in recent years, the Young Adult—or “YA”—book category has been booming. But not everyone who browses young adult books is making a purchase for the teen or tween in their life. Half of these titles—some available for pre-order, some already on sale—are as excellent as reading choices for folks over 18 as they are for folks under 18.
Daughters of Jubilation by Kara Lee Corthron
A coming-of-age YA novel with a supernatural twist, the story follows Evalene “Evvie” Deschamps, a normal teen with magical abilities called “jubilation” that she inherited from generations of women in her family. Using her gifts for the ultimate greater good, she combats white supremacy and protects herself and the people she loves against evil. From an award-winning writer “unafraid of taking up difficult topics relevant to teens’ lives,” Daughters of Jubilation is one of Teen Vogue’s “Must-Read Books by Black Authors Coming out in 2020.”
The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis and Brandy Colbert
The young adult adaption of Theoharis’s NAACP Image Award-winning biography of Rosa Parks is scheduled for a Black History Month release just ahead of the civil rights legend’s birthday on February 4. Correcting the iconography that depicts her as a quiet seamstress who birthed an entire era of resistance with her refusal to give up her bus seat, Theoharis unpacks Park’s real personhood, political philosophy and 60 years of activism.
Rebel Sisters by Tochi Onyebuchi
His last YA novel, Beasts Made of Night, was named one of Time’s 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time. Next month, Onyebuchi continues the storytelling in a sequel set five years later. Ify is now 19 and working as a high-ranking medical officer in the Space Colonies to help refugees rebuild. When a mysterious virus breaks out among the children, she makes it her mission to figure out what’s causing the deadly disease, which means returning to the homeland she thought she’d left behind forever.
The Square Root of Possible: A Jingle Jangle Story and Jingle Jangle: The Invention of Jeronicus Jangle
A picture book for younger readers ages 4–8 and a middle-grade novel for 8 to 12-year-olds, both stories are based on David Talbert and Lyn Sisson-Talbert’s upcoming Netflix holiday movie Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. Both books take readers on a magical Christmas adventure with eccentric toymaker Jeronicus Jangle and his precocious granddaughter, Journey. They will be available on December 1.
A Kids Book About Divorce by Ashley Simpo
Life is complex, but kids are ready to understand that complexity. Divorce affects everyone in the family and kids are left with a lot of questions. Simpo, a divorced mom of one, helps start an honest conversation about what children can expect when parents go their separate ways. The book is part of the A Kids Book About brand, a Black-owned publishing company launched by writer and father of six Jelani Memory with his first book in the series, A Kids Book About Racism.
My Voice Is a Trumpet by Jimmie Allen
Allen, a platinum-selling singer-songwriter and the first Black artist to earn two consecutive No. 1 country music hits, is publishing his debut picture book to inspire children to be themselves and embrace their ability to create change, starting when they’re young. The father of two is releasing the diversity-focused title in July 2021; the option to pre-order is available now.
Glory: Magical Visions of Black Beauty by Kahran and Regis Bethencourt
When Kaylee Hope, the girl in the book’s stunning cover shot, saw the pictures of herself, she said, “I look like a Black queen.” That’s exactly what the husband-and-wife photography team and co-owners of CreativeSoul Photography wanted to convey through the coffee table book’s majestic images—the extraordinary beauty of Blackness, particularly our Black children.
Wade Through the Pandemic by Wade and Joshua Williams
At only 5 years old, Williams is already a problem-solver. When COVID-19 disrupted the normalcy of his life, he wanted to help other kids process what was happening to them too. His book, co-written with his father, chronicles the experience of living through the pandemic—not going to school, his grandmother’s illness with the virus and the birth of his baby sister—to encourage other kids to stay positive.