A page-turner with moments that made me laugh out loud and moments that made me cry. Fifteen-year-old Julia is a big dreamer who loves books and isn't afraid to ask questions. An honest and complex rendering of the struggles of some first-generation American youth. This is a book I wish I had as a young teenage girl. Must-read!! :-)
One of the best books of the year. These poems are concerned with commemoration, with facing truth, with survival and laughter and holding each other despite the storms, with alternate heavens and worlds of love and freedom. In Danez's own words "but today i'm alive, which is to say / i survived yesterday, spent it / ducking bullets, some / flying toward me & some / trying to rip their way out."
In rich, lyrical prose former border patrol agent Francisco Cantú paints vivid pictures of the experiences of migrants attempting to cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Without being overtly political, these vignettes Cantú offers readers lift up human stories that are haunting in their depiction of migrants' hunger for the opportunity to make an honest living in the U.S., the criminalization they face, the heartbreak in the separation of families, the violence that can ensue at the border, and the impact of policies that are interwoven in all of this. This emotionally stirring account is a timely and necessary read as one considers immigration issues today.
A novel in verse about an Afro-Dominican teenage girl who finds herself and freedom through the pages of her notebook. Freedom from her mother's rules and expectations of her in the home and the Catholic church, freedom from street harassment by boys and men who make her feel small, awareness that she's a poet with a voice and so much to say, a space to reflect on the goodness and challenges of young love. A novel on love, struggle with self and others, and being a bud that desperately wants to blossom—this book is an offering to young girls who are quiet storms and big dreamers in their own right.
A collection of 70 sonnets that have the same title, these poems command your attention and do not disappoint. Written in the age of the Trump presidency, Terrance Hayes exp
lores Americanness, violence, love, survival, as well as important cultural markers, figures and moments in our history. Each sonnet changes how we see and break open doors that look to the past and where it may lead us. In one poem, the speaker says: "I mean to leave / a record of my raptures." This book is indeed a record one may find themselves called to revisit again and again.
U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith's collection quietly, yet powerfully, guides readers through the waters of key moments in America's history and aspects of the self through lyric and narrative poetry. Smith illuminates voices of African American Civil War soldiers, uses the Declaration of Independence as a canvas, turns letters into poetry, shows us deep love and loss with natural landscapes as the backdrop and more. With a nod to the song and perhaps a question for the reader to consider, in Wade in the Water's title poem written for the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters, Smith ends the piece with: "O Lord–O Lord–O Lord– / Is this love the trouble you promised?" These poems are meditative, necessary offerings.
Ibi Zoboi's YA novel is an incredible and gripping debut. Dealing with the ever-present void of her mother's detention by U.S. immigration forces, Fabiola navigates her new life as an immigrant living in Detroit with her Haitian American cousins. Zoboi skillfully depicts some of the tensions and cultural differences between Haitian immigrants having to assimilate vs. Haitians being American born. She weaves in familial and romantic love, trauma of various kinds, Haitian spirituality, joy and laughter. You will feel close to and invested in these characters, these Black girls—this vital story.
This book is a celebration of Black women across the African diaspora, a testament to grown and young women owning their power, a space for the Black women who love hip hop and the Black women who have a complicated relationship with it. This book is an ever-flowing river filled with stories of their struggles, their hopes, their joys, what makes them magic, what makes them laugh, how they survive, how they thrive. These poems will stir you, show you mirrors, open doors and make homes in your bones.