This weekend it occurred to me that there was a reoccurring theme in the bookish talks that I was having with other bookstagrammers & Clubhouse folks during the past week…there is not nearly enough books that center Black Boys in publishing and this is such a disservice to them. There is a depth to Black Boyhood that I would never know as a Black Woman but want to be able to have a basic understanding of as someone who has worked with young Black Boys and has a Black Godson…who could one day have a Black son.

We don’t see Black Boys centered nearly enough in literature…they really aren’t celebrated in all their intricate layers. They need to know its okay to be rough around the edges and also to be vulnerable when they feel safe…to laugh, cry, be soft, scream and be themselves un-apologetically. I would love to have more books that I could send to my Godson and put into the hands of my students where they feel like they are looking in a mirror.

There are more books coming out that center Black Boys now and also have strong secondary characters but we need SO MANY MORE…it is way past time for Black Boys to be shown and reminded how magical they are both on and off the page…that they are loved and valued…that we SEE them. We all should be taking up the charge to let them know that they are worthy of our time and attention…that their stories truly matter.

Since I’ve been really feeling doing lists, I’m going to list books that are Centered around Black Boys and their genres. I’ll also do lists of books that have strong Black Boy secondary characters. These books will be primarily YA but MG will be noted and there are a few picture books as well! If the book isn’t out yet, I noted the date but most have come out in the last year or so!

  • Fantasy
    • Beasts Made Of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi
    • Crown Of Thunder by Tochi Onyebuchi (Sequel to Beasts Made Of Night)
    • Temper by Nicky Drayden
    • Black Panther: The Young Prince by Ronald L. Smith
    • Last Gate Of The Emperor by Kwame Mbalia & Prince Joel Makonnen *MG* 5/4
    • The Shadow Prince by David Anthony Durham *MG* 9/29
  • Contemporary Fantasy
    • Tristan Strong Punches A Hole In The Sky by Kwame Mbalia
    • Tristan Strong Destroys The World by Kwame Mbalia (Sequel to TSPAHITS)
    • Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds
    • Spider-Man: Miles Morales-Wings Of Fury by Brittney Morris
    • Opposite Of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
    • Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds
    • Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor *MG*
    • Dragons In A Bag by Zetta Elliott *MG*
    • The Cost Of Knowing by Brittney Morris 3/11
    • Miles Morales: Shock Waves by Justin A. Reynolds *graphic novel* 6/1
    • The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass 7/13
  • Contemporary
    • Charming As A Verb by Ben Philippe
    • The Field Guide To The North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
    • Not So Pure And Simple by Lamar Giles
    • Anger Is A Gift by Mark Oshiro
    • Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas *technically historical fiction*
    • Dear Martin by Nic Stone
    • Dear Justyce by Nic Stone
    • Clean Getaway by Nic Stone *MG*
    • The Awakening Of Malcolm X by Tiffany D. Jackson & Ilyasah Shabazz *Historical Fiction*
    • Ghost by Jason Reynolds *Track Series-MG*
    • Sunny by Jason Reynolds *Track Series-MG*
    • Lu by Jason Reynolds *Track Series-MG*
    • Long Way Down By Jason Reynolds
    • Punching The Air by Ibi Zoboi & Dr. Yusef Salaam
    • Let Me Hear A Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson *technically historical fiction*
    • Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
    • Not All Boys Are Blue by George M. Johnson
    • Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles
    • Your Corner Dark by Desmond Hall
    • Take Back The Block by Chrystal D. Giles *MG* 1/26
    • Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles 9/21
  • Picture Books
    • I Am Perfectly Designed by Karamo Brown
    • Watch Me By Doyin Richards
    • I Want To Ride The Tap Tap by Danielle Joseph
    • Little Legends by Vashti Harrison
    • I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes
    • The King Of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes
    • Crown: An Ode To The Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes
    • Thirteen Ways Of Looking At A Black Boy by Tony Medina
    • Luke Visits Jacmel by Justine A. P. Louise

Seriously, that Fantasy list needs to be SO MUCH LONGER! I know that there are more picture books but could not think of more at the moment (I can add more books to the list, of course). Also, I know that Jason Reynolds has more books out that center Black Boys so definitely look into them! There are likely books that I don’t know about so if you know of any, please share them in the comments!

Here are books with strong Secondary Black Boy Characters listed in the same way as above!

  • Fantasy
    • A Song of Wraiths And Ruin by Roseanne Brown
    • Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
    • Children Of Virtue And Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi (Sequel to CBB)
    • Kingdom Of Souls by Rena Barron
    • Reaper Of Souls by Rena Barron (sequel to KOS) 2/16
    • A River Of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy
    • Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
    • Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
    • Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Contemporary Fantasy
    • Daughters of Jubilation by Kara Corthron
    • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
  • Contemporary
    • I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest
    • Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest
    • Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett
    • Angel Of Greenwood by Randi Pink *Historical Fiction*
    • Odd One Out by Nic Stone
    • Loretta Little Looks Back by Andrea Davis Pinkney *historical fiction*
    • Love Is A Revolution by Renee Watson 2/2

I’m so sure that there are books that I haven’t read or just haven’t come across that need to be added to this list. If you know of great books written by POC authors that centers Black Boys or has strong secondary Black Boy characters, please share them in the comments!

Thanks for checking out this post and I hope you pick up some of these books! Happy Reading and sending Bookish love your way! Feel free to find me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic or Twitter @bookishgrlmagic for more bookish banter!


Published by bookishgirlmagic

I’m reader who has a fierce love for books written by authors of color & belief in the importance of supporting them! My mission is to amplify their voices and work so this generation and all the others after them will have literature that will reflect them.

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