Were you as blown away by the first National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman as I was? These titles celebrate more young voices from POC. Continue to explore and be moved by the power of words! (Book descriptions courtesy of School Library Journal reviews “For Us by Us: 16 Poetry Collections and Books by Black Poets for Black History Month and Beyond”)
Somebody Give This Heart a Pen by Sophia Thakur
Thakur’s poetry collection explores identity, family, loss, relationships, vulnerability, empowerment, and self-discovery. At once intimate and universal, aching and affirming, the poems examine the cycles of breaking, healing, and growth that shape people through young adulthood and beyond.
Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne & others.
The team behind Woke Baby introduces concepts and explains issues that concern activists of all ages. Twenty-four poems celebrate diversity and individuality, touching on issues of gender, physical ability, race, immigration, and protest. This important volume demands to be seen and heard.
Say Her Name by Zetta Elliott
Elliott’s poetry encourages readers to act when confronted with injustice, whether through marching or campaigning or responding through writing. These poems represent her response to victims of violence and racial discrimination, among other atrocities that Black Americans have suffered. It is also her way to give a voice to Black people who have lived through these circumstances.
One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes
Grimes brilliantly uses the words of her literary predecessors to structure the book, employing the golden shovel, a form in which the words from selected lines or stanzas are borrowed, only to become the last words of each line in a new poem. The result is not only a beautiful homage to the Harlem Renaissance but also a moving reflection on the African American experience and the resilience of the human spirit.
Concrete Kids by Amyra León. illus. by Ashley Lukashevsky
Musician, playwright, and activist León’s compelling free verse memoir bursts at the seams with despair, determination, and hope. Drawing on her personal experiences, León gives a voice to the foster care system, systematic racism, and what it means to be a Black girl moving through the world.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy by Tony Medina
Medina combines the tanka form with the illustrious talents of 13 artists to produce a resplendent collection of poetry dedicated to Black and brown children. A shining title that deserves a spot in all poetry collections.
Seeing into Tomorrow by Richard Wright. illus. by Nina Crews
This book collects 12 of Wright’s outstanding haiku, written 50 years ago and still available in the anthology, Haiku: The Last Poems of an American Icon. These verses are an introduction to haiku as well as an entry point into Wright’s work; they can be read aloud to younger children or enjoyed independently by older readers.