Black History Month Series: Kids & YA

The final instalment of our Black History Month series is for the kids: YA fiction and nonfiction, and picture books for all kinds of families and the musically-inclined.

Black History Month Series: Kids and YA.


Share It:

Boys and Girls Screaming by Kern Carter (Cormorant Books)

The cover of Boys and Girls Screaming by Kern Carter.

The title of Trinidadian-Canadian Kern Carter’s YA novel refers to a support group started by teenage girl Ever, after her father unexpectedly passes away and her mother suffers a stroke. Her brother Jericho and best friend Candace become Boys and Girls Screaming (or, BAGS)’s first members, and together with their groupmates, they work to support each other’s healing journeys. But even as the other teens begin to process their own family traumas, Ever slips further into depression – and it’s the group she started that ends up being her lifeline.

Find Boys and Girls Screaming here on All Lit Up.

Funny Gyal by Angeline Jackson, with Susan McClelland (Dundurn Press)

The cover of Funny Gyal by Angeline Jackson.

A LAMBDA Literary Award finalist when it was released in 2022, Angeline Jackson’s vulnerable, triumphant YA memoir Funny Gyal details the author’s encounters with homophobia in Jamaica, her home country. Where the conservative Christianity she was born into would demonize her sexuality, Angeline found within her faith the courage to challenge homophobia and patriarchal structures, and make space for others to do the same. This memoir is a dark read at times, but points to Angeline’s personal resilience and the incredible strength she had in remaining true to herself, even in the face of bigoted and hateful institutions.

Find Funny Gyal here on All Lit Up.

Welcome to the Cypher by Khodi Dill, illustrated by Awuradwoa Afful (Annick Press)

The cover of Welcome to the Cypher by Khodi Dill.

A delightful read-aloud picture book for that musically-inclined kid in your life, Khodi Dill’s debut Welcome to the Cypher combines poetics and hip hop to tell a story of self-discovery and growing self-confidence. Combined with bright, bold illustrations from Awuradwoa Afful, kids will snap their fingers and clap along to this fun read.

Find Welcome to the Cypher here on All Lit Up.

I Promise by Catherine Hernandez, illustrated by Syrus Marcus Ware (Arsenal Pulp Press)

The cover of I Promise by Catherine Hernandez.

Scarborough writer Catherine Hernandez returns to children’s books with I Promise, a loving and honest look at all kinds of parents and their relationships with their children. Syrus Marcus Ware, a member of BLM Toronto and co-curator of Blackness Yes!/Blockorama, lends his beautiful illustrations to Hernandez’s narrative, showcasing joyful queer families in all of their unique everydayness.

Find I Promise here on All Lit Up.

* * *

Catch up on the Black History Month series with picks for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.