Published by Candlewick
Summary: The history of the Black Panther Party is divided into three parts: Kindling (1619-1965), Blaze (1966-1982), and Embers (1983-present). Packed with photos and original sources, the story is sympathetic to the Party, but does not shy away from differences among the members which eventually led to its dissolution (and were at least in part caused by the FBI COINTELPRO project to destroy them). There’s an emphasis on the young people and women who contributed so much to all aspects of the group, from the armed oversight of police to the social programs for Black communities. The final section ties the Black Panther Party to Black Lives Matter and invites young people to start their own revolution. Includes an author’s note, a list of key people, a timeline, a glossary, further reading, 32 pages of source notes, an 11-page bibliography, and an index. 400 pages; grades 7-12.
Pros: This is a bit above the age group I usually review for, but I’ve been fascinated by the Black Panther Party since I read One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams and realized how much misinformation I had about the group. This book is incredibly well-researched, yet also highly readable and accessible, and was chosen as a National Book Award Finalist. The final section makes it relevant and inspiring for today’s young readers. I hope it will win some awards: Printz, Sibert, and Coretta Scott King all come to mind.
Cons: This book is seriously hefty, weighing in at three pounds or approximately twice as much as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.