I love finding new diverse titles to add to our Bookshop shelves. If you ever need a new read, that's the number one place to go. Here are a few titles that I've added to not only my personal TBR list but to our bookstore for you to purchase.
True True by Don P. Hooper (YA, Coming-of-Age)
In this powerful and fast-paced YA contemporary debut, a Black teen from Brooklyn struggles to fit in at his almost entirely-white Manhattan prep school, resulting in a fight and a plan for vengeance.
This is not how seventeen-year-old Gil imagined beginning his senior year--on the subway dressed in a tie and khakis headed towards Manhattan instead of his old public school in Brooklyn. Augustin Prep may only be a borough away, but the exclusive private school feels like it's a different world entirely compared to Gil's predominately Caribbean neighborhood in Brooklyn.
If it weren't for the partial scholarship, the school's robotic program and the chance for a better future, Gil wouldn't have even considered going. Then after a racist run-in with the school's golden boy on the first day ends in a fight that leaves only Gil suspended, Gil understands the truth about his new school--Augustin may pay lip service to diversity, but that isn't the same as truly accepting him and the other Black students as equal. But Gil intends to leave his mark on Augustin anyway.
If the school isn't going to carve out a space for him, he will carve it out for himself. Using Sun Tzu's The Art of War as his guide, Gil wages his own clandestine war against the racist administration, parents and students, and works with the other Black students to ensure their voices are finally heard. But the more enmeshed Gil becomes in school politics, the more difficult it becomes to balance not only his life at home with his friends and family, but a possible new romance with a girl he'd move mountains for. In the end, his war could cost him everything he wants the most.
Hangman by Maya Binyam (Literary/Dystopian)
An enthralling and original first novel about exile, diaspora, and the impossibility of Black refuge in America and beyond.
In the morning, I received a phone call and was told to board a flight. The arrangements had been made on my behalf. I packed no clothes, because my clothes had been packed for me. A car arrived to pick me up.
A man returns home to sub-Saharan Africa after twenty-six years in America. When he arrives, he finds that he doesn't recognize the country or anyone in it. Thankfully, someone recognizes him, a man who calls him brother--setting him on a quest to find his real brother, who is dying.
In Hangman, Maya Binyam tells the story of that search, and of the phantoms, guides, tricksters, bureaucrats, debtors, taxi drivers, relatives, riddles, and strangers that will lead to the truth.
It is an uncommonly assured debut: an existential journey; a tragic farce; a slapstick tragedy; and a strange, and strangely honest, story of one man's stubborn quest to find refuge--in this world and in the world that lies beyond it.
Can We Please Give the Police Department to the Grandmothers? by Junauda Petrus and illustrated by Kristen Uroda (Picture Book)
Based on the viral poem by Coretta Scott King honoree Junauda Petrus, this picture book debut imagines a radically positive future where police aren't in charge of public safety and community well-being.
Petrus first published and performed this poem after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. With every subsequent police shooting, it has taken on new urgency, culminating in the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, blocks from Junauda's home.
In its picture book incarnation, Can We Please Give the Police Department to the Grandmothers? is a joyously radical vision of community-based safety and mutual aid. It is optimistic, provocative, and ultimately centered in fierce love. Debut picture book artist Kristen Uroda has turned Junauda's vision for a city without precincts into a vibrant and flourishing urban landscape filled with wise and loving grandmothers of all sorts.
Fencing with the King by Diana Abu-Jaber (Literary, Family, Cultural Heritage)
The King of Jordan is turning 60! How better to celebrate the occasion than with his favorite pastime--fencing--and with his favorite sparring partner, Gabriel Hamdan, who must be enticed back from America, where he lives with his wife and his daughter, Amani.
Amani, a divorced poet, jumps at the chance to accompany her father to his homeland for the King's birthday. Her father's past is a mystery to her--even more so since she found a poem on blue airmail paper slipped into one of his old Arabic books, written by his mother, a Palestinian refugee who arrived in Jordan during World War I. Her words hint at a long-kept family secret, carefully guarded by Uncle Hafez, an advisor to the King, who has quite personal reasons for inviting his brother to the birthday party. In a sibling rivalry that carries ancient echoes, the Hamdan brothers must face a reckoning, with themselves and with each other--one that almost costs Amani her life.
With sharp insight into modern politics and family dynamics, taboos around mental illness, and our inescapable relationship to the past, Fencing with the King asks how we contend with inheritance: familial and cultural, hidden and openly contested. Shot through with warmth and vitality, intelligence and spirit, it is absorbing and satisfying on every level, a wise and rare literary treat.
Four women take fate into their own hands in this big-hearted story of friendship, resilience, and revenge on monstrous men, from the award-winning author of Half-Blown Rose.
Taking inspiration from the infamous, empowering song, Goodbye Earl follows four best friends through two unforgettable summers, fifteen years apart.
In 2004, Rosemarie, Ada, Caroline, and Kasey are in their final days of high school and on the precipice of all the things teenagers look forward to when anything in life seems possible . . . from falling in love, to finding their dream jobs, to becoming who they were meant to be.
In 2019, Kasey has returned to her small Southern hometown of Goldie for the first time since high school--and she still hasn't told even her closest friends the truth of what really happened that summer after graduation, or what made her leave so abruptly without looking back. Now reunited with her friends in Goldie for a wedding, she's determined to focus on the simple joy of being together again. But when she notices troubling signs that one of them might be in danger, she is catapulted back to that fateful summer. This time, Kasey refuses to let the worst moments of her past define her; this time, she knows how to protect those she loves at all costs.
Uplifting, sharp-edged, and unapologetic, Goodbye Earl is a funeral for all the "Earls" out there--the abusive men who think they can get away with anything, but are wrong--and a celebration of enduring sisterhood.
Which titles are you adding to your TBR?