African American Books for Middle School Students: Diverse Reading for Diverse Minds
Reading is a crucial part of a child’s education, and studies have shown that reading diverse books is essential for sparking curiosity, encouraging empathy, and improving critical thinking skills. African American literature is rich in history, culture, and diversity, making it an excellent choice for middle school students. Here are a few recommended African American books for middle school students:
1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Hate U Give is a powerful and thought-provoking novel about police brutality and racial injustice. The story follows Starr, a sixteen-year-old African American girl, who is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend by a white police officer. The book raises important questions about racism, police brutality, and activism, making it an excellent choice for middle school students. The novel has also been adapted into a movie, making it a great way to start a conversation about current events.
2. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Brown Girl Dreaming is a memoir in verse that tells the story of Jacqueline Woodson’s childhood during the civil rights movement. The book explores the themes of family, identity, and racism from the perspective of a young African American girl growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. The novel won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and the Coretta Scott King Book Award, making it a must-read for middle school students.
3. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a classic novel about a young African American girl named Cassie Logan and her family in Mississippi during the Great Depression. The book explores the themes of racism, segregation, and the importance of family and community. The novel has won many awards, including the Newbery Medal, and is a must-read for middle school students looking for a historical perspective on African American experiences.
4. March Trilogy by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
The March Trilogy is a graphic novel series that tells the story of Congressman John Lewis’s experiences during the Civil Rights movement, specifically his participation in the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965. The three volumes of this graphic novel explore themes such as non-violent activism, equality, and justice. The March Trilogy is a great way to introduce the Civil Rights movement and John Lewis’s contributions to middle school students.
5. Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
Elijah of Buxton tells the story of a young African American boy living in Buxton, Canada, the only town in North America settled by former slaves. The book explores themes of racism, freedom, and the importance of family and community. This book won the Coretta Scott King Author Award and explores the African American story outside of the United States.
Reading African American literature provides middle school students with a unique perspective on history, culture and their own identity. We hope you consider adding these books to your reading list to encourage diverse and inclusive reading.
Remember, books are a powerful tool for fostering empathy, understanding, and critical thinking. You can help change the world by simply sharing stories.