Book Recommendations: Black History Month Edition! 10 Black Middle Grade Books

Our Friend is Here: Black History Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond during the month of February, where Black authors are invited to celebrate being Black and Black books! Find the introduction post for Black History Month here.

In case you’re new to the Pond’s book recommendation posts, the recommendation posts are brought to you by Varian, the Pond’s very own Toadshifter who is knowledgeable in all kinds of magic! One of Varian’s ambitions is to get better at sewing, hence why whenever Varian has come up with their latest costume, they will always recommend a few books that inspired them!

It’s the last weekend of Black History Month, and we hope that you have enjoyed our celebrations and commemorations of Black literature. To wrap up the week before our last post tomorrow – and it’s going to be an amazing post; we’re so excited about our guest – I want to share some of my favourite Black MG books for today’s weekly book recommendation post!

Let’s quickly recap our awesome week, this week. We were visited by Daven McQueen, who talked about her debut and friendships, Joce had the spectacular Synithia Williams on Black joy and romance, I had YA fantasy extraordinaire Sarah Raughley talk about her upcoming historical fantasy, L.L. McKinney on retellings, anime, and her latest release, Nubia: Real One, and Joce invited Julian Winters to talk about his spectacular books!

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Black History Month – An Interview with Julian Winters, Author of The Summer of Everything; On Creating Communities, Queer Black Stories, and Quarantine Tunes

Our Friend is Here! Black History Month Edition. An Interview with Julian Winters, Author of The Summer of Everything; On Creating Communities, Queer Black Stories and Quarantine Tunes

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Our Friend is Here: Black History Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond during the month of February, where Black authors are invited to celebrate being Black and Black books! Find the introduction post for Black History Month here.

From his first published novel Running with Lions to his upcoming Right Where I Left You (2022), Julian Winters has been loved at the Pond from day one. His novels feature Black queer protagonists, who are lovable, fun, and thoughtful. They demonstrate that it is okay to be figuring stuff out, and to enjoy themselves along the way.

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Book Review: Yesterday is History by Kosoko Jackson – A Thoughtful, Vulnerable and Queer Story about Time Travel, Our Greatest Loves, and Acceptance

Blurb:

Weeks ago, Andre Cobb received a much-needed liver transplant.

He’s ready for his life to finally begin, until one night, when he passes out and wakes up somewhere totally unexpected…in 1969, where he connects with a magnetic boy named Michael.

And then, just as suddenly as he arrived, he slips back to present-day Boston, where the family of his donor is waiting to explain that his new liver came with a side effect—the ability to time travel. And they’ve tasked their youngest son, Blake, with teaching Andre how to use his unexpected new gift.

Andre splits his time bouncing between the past and future. Between Michael and Blake. Michael is everything Andre wishes he could be, and Blake, still reeling from the death of his brother, Andre’s donor, keeps him at arm’s length despite their obvious attraction to each other.

Torn between two boys, one in the past and one in the present, Andre has to figure out where he belongs—and more importantly who he wants to be—before the consequences of jumping in time catch up to him and change his future for good.

I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Stories that blend time travel and romance together have my whole heart. One of my greatest and most vulnerable hopes in our existence is that love transcends time and space; that love can exist independently of both. And then I read Yesterday is History, a wonderful YA story about a boy time travels and, against all odds, finds a love of his life in the 1960’s. I struggle to accurately describe the feeling that reading Yesterday is History gave me – all I know is that this story is beautiful, heart-rendering, and filled with so much hope.

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Five Reasons To Read: Prepped by Bethany Mangle – A Dramatic Deep-Dive into Doomsday Communities and One Girl Wanting to Escape

Prepped by B
Blurb:

Always be ready for the worst day of your life.

This is the mantra that Becca Aldaine has grown up with. Her family is part of a community of doomsday preppers, a neighborhood that prioritizes survivalist training over class trips or senior prom. They’re even arranging Becca’s marriage with Roy Kang, the only eligible boy in their community. Roy is a nice guy, but he’s so enthusiastic about prepping that Becca doesn’t have the heart to tell him she’s planning to leave as soon as she can earn a full ride to a college far, far away.

Then a devastating accident rocks Becca’s family and pushes the entire community, including Becca’s usually cynical little sister, deeper into the doomsday ideology. With her getaway plans thrown into jeopardy, the only person Becca can turn to is Roy, who reveals that he’s not nearly as clueless as he’s been pretending to be.

When Roy proposes they run away together, Becca will have to risk everything—including her heart—for a chance to hope for the best instead of planning for the worst.

I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

If you’re the kind of person who loves reading about or watching documentaries about survivalists or preppers, then pay attention: because Prepped by Bethany Mangle may the kind of book that you’re looking for. This YA thriller-comedy debut follows Becca, a white-American teen whose family leads a doomsday community. Though her parents are passionate about the cause, Becca longs for escape – taking her younger sister with her – but when tragedy strikes, her doomsday community falls deeper into their doomsday ideology and escape becomes more difficult.

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Book Review: Fly on the Wall by Remy Lai – An Exuberant Illustrated Adventure about Love, Helicopter Parents, and Finding Your Independence

Blurb:

Henry Khoo’s family treats him like a baby. He’s not allowed to go anywhere without his sister/chaperone/bodyguard. His (former) best friend knows to expect his family’s mafia-style interrogation when Henry’s actually allowed to hang out at her house. And he definitely CAN’T take a journey halfway around the world all by himself!

But that’s exactly his plan. After his family’s annual trip to visit his father in Singapore is cancelled, Henry decides he doesn’t want to be cooped up at home with his overprotective family and BFF turned NRFF (Not Really Friend Forever). Plus, he’s hiding a your-life-is-over-if-you’re-caught secret: he’s the creator of an anonymous gossip cartoon, and he’s on the verge of getting caught. Determined to prove his independence and avoid punishment for his crimes, Henry embarks on the greatest adventure everrr. . . hoping it won’t turn into the greatest disaster ever.

I was provided an ARC of this book by the author; this does not influence my book review.

If you know me, then you’ll know that I loved Lai’s debut middle-grade book, Pie in the Sky, with my entire being. Pie in the Sky was a book that made me laugh with its warm yet incisive humour and made me sob my eyes out for its phenomenal portrayal of grief. Needless to say, Pie in the Sky is one of my favourite middle-grade books of all time – and you can thus imagine how excited I received a copy of Fly on the Wall from Remy herself.

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