This month’s Reading Round Up offers a collection of some of the best articles I read, covering topics including antiracism, protests, and YA fiction. Plus a list of my own written work. Get those tabs ready!
Book list: New Young Adult Speculative Fiction June 2020
History: Black History in Napa County, California
Book review: Raise Your Voice: Bethany C. Morrow’s A Song Below Water
Short fiction spotlight: Must-Read Speculative Short Fiction: May 2020
Book list: All Young Adult Speculative Fiction by Black Authors for 2020
Book list: YA Book Bundles – Horror and Mysteries
“Can We Live?” by Tananarive Due for Vanity Fair: “Every city’s new scream of pain sweeps my mind back to May 17, 1980—the day my childhood ended. On that day the police officers charged with killing Arthur McDuffie were acquitted.”
“The American Nightmare” by Ibram X. Kendi for The Atlantic: “A nightmare is essentially a horror story of danger, but it is not wholly a horror story. Black people experience joy, love, peace, safety. But as in any horror story, those unforgettable moments of toil, terror, and trauma have made danger essential to the black experience in racist America. What one black American experiences, many black Americans experience. Black Americans are constantly stepping into the toil and terror and trauma of other black Americans. Black Americans are constantly stepping into the souls of the dead. Because they know: They could have been them; they are them. Because they know it is dangerous to be black in America, because racist Americans see blacks as dangerous.”
“Whose Grief? Our Grief” by Saeed Jones for GQ: “A lifetime and a few fires ago, before the dark whir of helicopters started troubling my sleep, before I could tell you what tear gas tastes like, I was still learning the contours of Breonna Taylor’s life and death, still thinking about Ahmaud Arbery going for a jog then running for his life, still mourning more than 100,000 Americans dead from the coronavirus, still endangered by a president who decided he could end a pandemic simply by putting up “open for business” signs. Then cellphone video footage of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on a black man’s neck spread as quickly as a virus online. How could all of that America have happened just about a week ago?”
“How Queer YA Novels Taught Me to Write My Own Happy Ending” by Leah Johnson for Autostraddle: “The Girl knows there are no happy endings for people like her.
For girls who sit in cars with other girls on a dimly-lit street in Harlem and wonder why they want so badly to whisper a barely-there Yes instead of I have to go home when asked: Do you want to spend the night? The apartment is free. In the breaths between that question and The Girl’s answer is possibility. The type of possibility The Girl has never so much as allowed herself to imagine. The moment is so still, so quiet, it renders itself almost dreamlike in quality — a scene stolen out of time.”
“A frank conversation about YA literature, police brutality, and the nuances of Black storytelling” by David Canfield for Entertainment Weekly: ““We’re mad.” It’s a frank admission from Nic Stone, the No. 1 best-selling author of Dear Martin and other YA hits. An understandable one, too. While Stone prepares to launch Dear Justyce (Sept. 29), the sequel to her 2017 breakout (written as a letter to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), which tackled systemic racism in America, Kim Johnson is launching her debut YA novel, This Is My America (July 28), and is confronting similar themes — in a suddenly prescient moment. From opposite coasts, the pair gathered over Zoom for a candid discussion.”