Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Favorite African American Literature

My favorite is not the book we are reviewing this week (Kindred) but it is by the same author (don't judge.  If you've read anything by Octavia Butler, your favorite would be by her too).  It's also not TECHNICALLY one book.  It's three books, but when I first read them, I read them in one giant omnibus, so I feel like it's legit one book.

Either way, Lilith's Brood a fantastic series that has all the things that I love in it.  Awesome strong lead female character?  Check.  Dystopian universe?  Check.  Interesting take on the Genesis story?  Check.  Aliens?  Check.  Really, what's not to love?

Butler has a great way of making the impossible seem real, seem plausible and this story is no different.  I LOVE Lilith, and I love what she does and the story is completely engaging from start to finish.  Plus, you get a strong female, African-American lead character, which is way rarer than it should be.


I really like Walter Dean Myers. He's one of those YA writers who really understands how to write for a YA audience... like they're humans, of course. And from what I hear, lots of other librarians and teachers and parents like him, too.

I've only read one book of his: Monster. I read it for a teen lit class. It's from the perspective of a teenage African American boy accused of murder, taking place from his cell and inside the courtroom.

If I remember correctly (and I might not) this book is one of the ones that shows up briefly in one scene of Freedom Writers where the teacher buys books out of her own pocket so her students have something they can actually relate to and care about reading. And that's what I think of it... there aren't a lot of books that schools and parents approve of that speak directly to an at-risk teen audience. (That's not to say that this book doesn't show up on annual banned books lists, but rather that it is usually seen as less offensive than some of the alternatives.)

More YA books need to be direct with their very real audiences, and this one sets an excellent example.

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