Every summer, I have the pleasure of teaching African American Literature to a small group of rising freshmen. They are participants in a wonderful program that provides scholarships and mentorship to high-achieving black youth, giving them support to and through college.
I require students to read at least two books over the course of the class (6 weeks). My core requirement is that the book must be written by a Black Diaspora author. We have rich, engaging conversations about the common diasporic themes that manifest in all of our texts no matter the genre. I just wanted to quickly share a link to a Google Doc that represents a list that I share with the students in the first week of the course: List of Black Literature for Youth.
One final note: This list has many titles that you might be surprised to find on a list for rising freshmen, but you shouldn’t be. Heck, I use this list for myself when I get in a reading rut! My students have enjoyed tackling heavier, rigorous reading from authors like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Isabel Wilkerson, and Ralph Ellison. I like to keep a variation of “If you build it, they will come” in my mind——–>If you provide the tools to access complex text and an environment that shows you value rich conversations about these texts, they will read it.
I will be continuing to update the list periodically and try to think of some way to categorize it. But for now, enjoy!
P.S. The image I have of the Norton Anthology isn’t really related to this post, explicitly. But I do have it in the back of my mind that one day I’d like to make a compilation of Black Diaspora text for the Secondary classroom…..