Our Stories: The African-American Experience for Teens

A Wreath for Emmett Till

By Marilyn Nelson

Go to catalog

In 1955, people all over the United States knew that Emmett Louis Till was a fourteen-year-old African American boy lynched for supposedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. Award-winning poet Marilyn Nelson reminds us of the boy whose fate helped spark the civil rights movement.

Reserve this title

Becoming Billie Holiday

By Carole Boston Weatherford

Go to catalog

Jazz vocalist Billie Holiday looks back on her early years in this fictional memoir written in verse.

Reserve this title

Carver, A Life In Poems

By Marilyn Nelson

Go to catalog

This collection of poems provides a lyrical account of the life of George Washington Carver, a man born into slavery who went on to head the agricultural department at the Tuskegee Institute.

Reserve this title

Chains

By Laurie Halse Anderson

Go to catalog

After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.

Reserve this title

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

By Phillip Hoose

Go to catalog

Based on extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin and many others, Phillip Hoose presents the first in-depth account of an important yet largely unknown civil rights figure, skillfully weaving her dramatic story into the fabric of the historic Montgomery bus boycott and court case that would change the course of American history.

Reserve this title

Come Juneteenth

By Ann Rinaldi

Go to catalog

Fourteen-year-old Luli and her family face tragedy after failing to tell their slaves that President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation made them free.

Reserve this title

Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue

By Julius Lester

Go to catalog

Emma has taken care of the Butler children since Sarah and Frances's mother, Fanny, left. Emma wants to raise the girls to have good hearts, as a rift over slavery has ripped the Butler household apart. Now, to pay off debts, Pierce Butler wants to cash in his slave "assets", possibly including Emma.

Reserve this title

Elijah of Buxton

By Christopher Paul Curtis

Go to catalog

In 1859, eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free-born child in Buxton, Canada, which is a haven for slaves fleeing the American south, uses his wits and skills to try to bring to justice the lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to buy a family's freedom.

Reserve this title

Flygirl

By Sherri L. Smith

Go to catalog

During World War II, a light-skinned African American girl "passes" for white in order to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots.

Reserve this title

Forge

By Laurie Halse Anderson

Go to catalog

Separated from his friend Isabel after their daring escape from slavery, fifteen-year-old Curzon serves as a free man in the Continental Army at Valley Forge until he and Isabel are thrown together again, as slaves once more.

Reserve this title