Summer break is a great time to catch up on new and popular titles in your patrons’ age range. Below is a list of the top 5 books I have been able to read so far this summer. As you begin to create your book purchase lists for fall, consider adding these titles to your teen collections. These book selections cover a wide range of diverse topics that will appeal to teen readers and teachers alike.
Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America Edited by Ibi Zoboi
A story collection with more than 17 different authors sharing personal stories and experiences representing Black life in America. It includes authors like Nic Stone and Jason Reynolds, so students who already love their novels will have a draw in. Pertinent social issue discussions and connections to the issues we face as a country right now are written about throughout.
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
A fictional story rooted in truth, The Nickel Boys exposes the dark side of boys reformatory homes in the 1950s-60s. This novel follows the story of a group of young boys convicted of crimes and sent to Nickel Reformatory School. It exposes the horrifying conditions the young boys endured there and the race and ethnicity issues the boys experienced. Students will want to read more and investigate the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida, which inspired this story.
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
Told in graphic novel form, this biography, written by actor George Takei, will spark discussion of Japanese internment camps in the United States. Beautiful black and white illustrations depict George’s life in the camps during WWII. A must-read for students who enjoy historical memoirs or nonfiction graphic novels.
Obsessed by Allison Britz
A memoir written from the perspective of a teen living with OCD. This novel digs deep into the inner working of a mind obsessed. Students who struggle with OCD will be drawn in as a mirror to their lives, while others will be intrigued by the window into how these feelings and thoughts affect everyday life.
Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens
Featuring realistic fiction with LGBTQ+ themes, this novel brings multiple diverse perspectives to readers. In a small Kentucky town, Bille is the daughter of the local preacher. She manages expectations from family, society, and school to navigate, all while exploring her own sexuality and that of her close friend group. Students who enjoyed Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Alberti will love this title.
It can be a struggle to incorporate diverse books into our collections. During the summer months reading to update our book talks and collections is on the top of most of our lists. These five titles will help showcase diverse literary perspectives in your high school library. We became librarians because of our love of reading. Spend some time enjoying your job and developing your collection this summer.
Author: Elizabeth Pelayo
Elizabeth Pelayo is the library media specialist at St. Charles East High School in St. Charles Illinois. She currently writes book reviews for School Library Journal. She is a member of the AASL AAUP Book Selection Committee. Also, she is a member of the nominations committee for the ISLMA Abraham Lincoln Book Award.