Black History Month: Young Adult Authors

In our second post celebrating African American authors, we are highlighting three young adult novelists whose books can be found in our fiction collection.

Photo credit: Ben Fractenberg

Jason Reynolds
Award-winning young adult author Jason Reynolds has been writing and publishing at such a rapid pace that it’s difficult to find a bio that is completely up-to-date. His most recent work Long Way Down (2017), longlisted for the National Book Award is written in narrative verse, taking place in a span of only 60 seconds. His other works have also won numerous awards, including As Brave as You (2017), winner of a NAACP Image Award, the Schneider Family Book Award, and a Coretta Scott King Honor; All American Boys (2017, co-authored with Brandon Kiely) winner of the Walter Dean Myers Award and a Coretta Scott King Honor book; Boy in the Black Suit (2016), a Coretta Scott King Honor book; and When I Was the Greatest (2015), winner of the Coretta Scott King John Steptoe New Talent Award.


Photo credit: Anissa Hidouk

Angie Thomas
Angie Thomas’s New York Times best-selling debut novel The Hate U Give (2017) is a National Book Award nominee for Young People’s Literature, Morris Award finalist, and winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award. Thomas’s novel follows sixteen-year-old Starr who “witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend at the hands of a police officer” (Source: HarperCollins). Thomas was one of five inaugural recipients of the Walter Deans Myers Grant given by the We Need Diverse Books organization. Her second novel, On the Come Up will be published this summer. Thomas is scheduled to speak at Assembly during the spring term.

Photo credit: author’s website

Walter Dean Myers
It is not a coincidence that the award and grants given to both Reynolds and Thomas bear the same name as Walter Dean Myers. During Myers’s long career as a young adult novelist, he wrote over one hundred books and won more awards than any author for young adults. Recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement, he was a five time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award. His book  Monster (1999) was the first winner of the Printz Award. Myers served as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature from 2012 to 2013, the first African American to hold this post. (Source: Walter Dean Myers).