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Black enough : stories of being young & black in America
Book
2019
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Reviews

Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* What is it like to be young and black, and yet not black enough at the same time? That's the question explored in this poignant collection of stunning short stories by black rock-star authors, including Justina Ireland, Jason Reynolds, Nic Stone, and Brandy Colbert. The stories center on the experience of black teens, while driving home the fact that they are not a monolith; one person's experiences, reality, and personal identity can be completely different from another's. Family, friends, belonging, isolation, classism, and romance are among the topics that take center stage, and the stories' teens come from a diverse array of backgrounds (e.g., economic, neighborhood, country of origin). Readers glimpse the struggles, achievements, heartaches, and joys of a host of black teens who are authentically and lovingly portrayed. From the kid with two black parents to the mixed-race kid with one black parent, all of the characters grapple with the heart-wrenching question most real-life black teens struggle with (and never should need to): Am I black enough? The additional magic of this collection is that it shirks off the literary world's tired obsession with only depicting the struggles of black teens. With this, readers see everyday struggles as well as the ordinary yet remarkable joys of black teens that have nothing to do with the trauma of their history. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

This collection of 17 original stories is written by contemporary black authors who explore "teens examining, rebelling against, embracing, or simply existing within their own idea of blackness." The tales offer a wide array of perspectives and thoughtful reflections on black teenagers' experiences, with pervading themes that include black identity (Varian Johnson's "Black Enough"), sexual awakening (Justina Ireland's "Kissing Sarah Smart"), and teenage worries. The stories, all worth savoring, share a celebratory outlook on black teenagers fully and courageously embracing life. Ages 13–up. (Jan.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9 Up—A compilation of short stories that offers unique perspectives on what it means to be young and black in America today. Each entry is deftly woven and full of such complex humanity that teens will identify with and see some of their own struggles in these characters. In Leah Henderson's "Warning: Color May Fade," a prep school girl examines the cost of being and remaining invisible in a world carefully crafted to exclude her. Two girls take the peer pressure of naked selfies and turn it on its head in "Girl, Stop Playing" by Liara Tamani. A group of young black boys dream up food creations heavily influenced by the flavors of other cultures in "The Ingredients" by Jason Reynolds. This collection presents the beauty of black humanity in all its many forms. The teens in these tales are dealing with mental health issues, complicated family dynamics, sexuality and gender constraints, and being part of a marginalized group. The entries offer a rich tableau of the black teen diaspora in an accessible way. VERDICT A great volume for all libraries serving young adults.—Desiree Thomas, Worthington Library, OH

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.

Annotations

A collection of short stories explore what it is like to be young and black, centering on the experiences of black teenagers and emphasizing that one person's experiences, reality, and personal identity are different than someone else. - (Baker & Taylor)

Edited by the National Book Award finalist and featuring contributions by a prestigious group of best-selling, award-winning and emerging African American young-adult authors, a timely literary collection shares modern insights into what it is like to be young and black in today's America. Simultaneous eBook. - (Baker & Taylor)

Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today&;Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it&;s like to be young and Black in America. A selection of the Schomburg Center's Black Liberation Reading List.

Black is...sisters navigating their relationship at summer camp in Portland, Oregon, as written by Renée Watson.

Black is&;three friends walking back from the community pool talking about nothing and everything, in a story by Jason Reynolds.

Black is&;Nic Stone&;s high-class beauty dating a boy her momma would never approve of.

Black is&;two girls kissing in Justina Ireland&;s story set in Maryland.

Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more&;because there are countless ways to be Black enough.

Contributors:
Justina Ireland
Varian Johnson
Rita Williams-Garcia
Dhonielle Clayton
Kekla Magoon
Leah Henderson
Tochi Onyebuchi
Jason Reynolds
Nic Stone
Liara Tamani
Renée Watson
Tracey Baptiste
Coe Booth
Brandy Colbert
Jay Coles
Ibi Zoboi
Lamar Giles

- (HARPERCOLL)

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