There's a reason coming-of-age stories are so popular. They are fun and heart-warming, but also encourage us to self-reflect and look at the world from different perspectives.
Everyone experiences growing up in a different way. Although we all have our own struggles and unique experiences, people of colour often have to endure worries and hardships that many white people may not give a second thought. These books aim to explore what it's like to be a person of colour: the history and the hardships, but also the joy of living and learning to accept yourself.
For Younger Children
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
The Undefeated is a beautiful picture book for children 4 and up. It illustrates a poem that pays tribute to the many black people who fought for freedom throughout history. A brilliant book to show children the oppression black people have faced throughout history and the people that have sacrificed so much to try to each equality.
For Middle Schoolers
The Boy at the Back of the Class
This is a wonderful story about a group of friends doing everything they can to stand up for their friend, no matter what colour their skin is or where they are from. It is an exhilarating story about friendship. I definitely would recommend it. (Felix aged 10)
For Young Adults
The Black Flamingo
Written in verse, this novel follows Michael, a boy who is both black and gay. Although neither of these things should affect how people treat Michael, The Black Flamingo follows the trials and tribulations of being a black, gay boy in a white heterosexual society from primary school until university. Beautifully written and truly eye-opening, teens will both love and learn from this heart-warming coming-of-age story.
Girl, Woman, Other
Although at the moment, the focus on racism is in America, racism exists everywhere. This novel is set in Britain and follows twelve different characters throughout a century of change. A novel that is both witty and wise, Girl, Woman, Other is an exploration of identity, womanhood and being a black woman in Britain.