Black Boy Joy edited by Kwame Mbalia

Published by Delacorte Press

Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood: Mbalia, Kwame:  9780593379936: Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  These 17 stories are all written by Black male or nonbinary authors.  Most are prose, but there is one graphic selection (“Embracing Our Black Boy Joy” by Jerry Craft, just 4 pages, but brought tears to my eyes) and one in verse (“Extinct” by Dean Atta).  Despite the title, the stories reflect sadness and anger as well as joy and happiness, but are realistically balanced.  Most are about everyday experiences, but a few explore more otherworldly topics.  There are some well-known authors, like Jason Reynolds and Varian Johnson, as well as some newer writers.  Includes thumbnail photos and information about all the authors.  320 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Although I personally don’t love reading short story collections, I’m always delighted to find a new one, because they are such a valuable classroom resource.  This one is excellent, introducing readers to a great cast of Black writers that may lead them to pursue some longer works.  The stories focus on positive aspects of the Black experience while not shying away from more difficult realities.  

Cons:  Full disclosure, I kind of skimmed through the stories from the fantasy/sci-fi genre.

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