2023 Top Ten Titles

Top Fiction Title.

Reynolds, Jason and Jason Griffin. Ain’t Burned all the Bright January 2022. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy, Simon & Schuster, Inc. $19.99. Hardback. 384  pages. ‎ 9781534439467. Young Adults. Jason Reynolds teams up with his friend, visual artist Jason Griffin, to present a mix-media illustration of his 3-sentenced narrative poem that depicts the perspectives of a young Black boy and his family during the 2020 COVID pandemic. The collaboration between wordsmith and artist brilliantly portrays the heaviness of a pandemic quarantine that forces people inside glued to their digital screens while juxtaposed against the protests and violence committed against others on the outside. 

Top Nonfiction Title.

Miller, Larry with Laila Lacy. Jump: My Secret Journey From the Streets to the Boardroom. January 2022. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. $27.99. Hardback. 304  pages. ‎ 9780062999818. Older Teens and Up. When Larry Miller was 16, he belonged to a Philadelphia street gang, experiencing a life of run-ins with police and spending numerous time in jail, including a stint for murder.  While in prison, he experienced restoration, leading him to earn a college degree and turn his life around. Larry Miller currently serves as the chairman of Michael Jordan’s Nike brand, residing on the West Coast.

Troncoso, Sergio. Nobody’s Pilgrims. May 2022. Cinco Puntos Press. Young Adult Books. $16.95. Paperback. 264  pages. ‎ 9781947627413. Older Teens and Emerging Adults.In this suspense-filled dystopian adventure, three diverse teen runaways are chased by a drug cartel across the east coast from the Texas frontera to New England, experiencing the dangers and real problems of homelessness and being illegal during an epidemic health crisis that has a pandemic effect throughout the world.
Cronn-Mills, Kirstin. Gender Inequality in Sports from Title IX to World Titles. April 2022. Twenty-First Century Books, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group. $37.32 Hardback. 120 pages. ‎ 9781728419473. Young Adults.Title IX is fifty years old and is purposed to protect people in federally funded programs from discrimination based on sex. With a broader field of identity development, this book supports a stronger awareness of the need to look to the future on how this law can bring about greater equality in the area of the world of sports and gender and sexual identity.
Goodman, Juliana. The Black Girl Left Standing. June 2022. Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers. $18.99. Hardback. 376  pages. ‎ 9781250792815. Young Adults. In the aftermath of her sister’s death by a White policeman, Beau knows her sister Katia was innocent of what she was being accused of on the police report. Katia’s boyfriend is the only witness to the incident, but cannot be found. So to help her with this dilemma, she creates an anonymous Twitter account to collect clues on the case. This however turns south, when she starts to receive threats against herself.  This story is so much more than the tragedy of loss, emphasizing importance of family and friends, the realities of poverty, and the power of forgiveness.
Bush, Charles A. Every Variable of Us. February 2022. North Star Editions. $17.99. Hardback. 376  pages. ‎ 9781635830745. Young Adults. When Alexis Duncan, a sixteen-year-old queer teen, tries to overcome the entrapment of her poverty-stricken Philadelphia neighborhood by keeping her stats up to earn a basketball scholarship to college, her plans come o a standstill when she suffers permanent damage from a gang altercation. Now, all that’s left is the academic route, and for her new plan to succeed, Lex will have to shed every single trait of her old lifestyle to make this work.
Blank, Natalie. The Tangibles.March 2022. Fire & Ice Young Adult Books, an imprint of Melange Books. $13.99. Paperback. 246  pages. ‎ 9781955784757. Young Adults. Seventeen-year-old Rachel has suffered from schizophrenia since middle school. While she doesn’t like to take her medicine on a regular basis, she knows how to avoid relapse. It seems no matter what she does to look normal,  she’s still treated as an outcast by her classmates, and her new boyfriend doesn’t help with matters.

Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop. When You Hear Me, You Hear Us: Voices of Youth Incarcerated. August 2021. Shout Mouse Press. $14.99. Paperback. 288 pages. ‎ 9781950807345. Young Adults. In this anthology of poetry and prose, readers can hear the voices of youth charged and incarcerated in the adult criminal legal system.  The collection of work challenges readers to call out for accountability, transformative justice, and healing in this nation’s legal system.
Grann, David. Killers of the Flower Moon: Adapted for Young Readers: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. November, 2021. Crown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House. $18.99. Hardback. 336  pages. ‎ 9780593377345. Young Adults. In the 1920s, the Osage Nation in Oklahoma were the richest people in the world, per capita, due to the oil on their reservation land but those in power began to kill off each member of the nation, including those who tried to investigate the problem. As the death toll rose a new Bureau of Investigation emerged, known today as the FBI.
Martin, Jetta Grace, Joshua Bloom, and Waldo E. Martin, Jr. Freedom! The Story of the Black Panther Party. January 2022. Levine Querido. $19.99. Hardback. 384  pages. ‎9781646140930. Young Adults. This well-researched title focuses on the founding members of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, emphasizing the groups’ Promise to the People, which was incorporated in the organization’s Ten Point Platform. The authors purposely wrote this as a resource for younger readers, using lots of wide margins and blocked text.