The complete list for 2016 releases by Native Americans and Authors of Color can be found here. I’ll continually update the page, so feel free to forward titles I’ve messed for readers ages 8 and up (MG and YA).
The Mermaid Girl by Xequina; Bedazzled Press. ages 9-12
A series of big storms flood the sea town where Camila lives and she finds a tiny, newborn mermaid in a puddle of water. Camila adopts her and names her Mermary. She tells no one, especially her mother, a marine biologist who would take the mermaid away for research and study. Camila is extremely shy and the mermaid becomes her only friend. She reads everything she can about mermaids and earns the nickname “The Mermaid Girl” from her classmates. Before long, rumors spread of a mermaid in the lake. Now Camila has to figure out how to protect Mermary not only from scientists but from people who want to do more than just catch a glimpse of a mermaid.
Dear Yvette by Ni-Ni Simone; Kensington. ages 14 and up
All sixteen year old Yvette Simmons wanted was to disappear. Problem is: she has too many demons for that. Yvette’s life changed forever after a street fight over a boy ended in a second degree murder charge. Forced to start all over again, she’s sentenced to live in a group home far from anything or anyone she’s ever known. She manages to keep her past hidden, until a local cutie, known as Brooklyn, steps in. Slowly, Yvette lets him into her heart and he gives her the summer of her dreams…
But in Yvette’s world things are never as they seem.
Brooklyn has a few secrets of his own and Yvette’s past comes back with a vengeance. Will she face life head-on? Will she return to her old ways? Or will an unexpected letter decide her fate?
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon; Delacorte Press. ages 12-18
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
Dork Diaries 11: Tales from a Not-So-Friendly Frenemy by Rachel Renée Russell; Aladdin. ages 9-13
Nikki and her friends Brandon, Chloe, and Zoey are up for another adventure.
Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, Young Readers Edition by Misty Copeland and Brandy Colbert; Simon and Schuster. ages 8-12
Determination meets dance in this middle grade adaptation of the New York Times bestselling memoir by the first African-American principal dancer in American Ballet Theatre history, Misty Copeland.
As the first African-American principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has been breaking down all kinds of barriers in the world of dance. But when she first started dancing at the late age of thirteen no one would have guessed the shy, underprivileged girl would one day make history in her field.
Her road to excellence was not easy a chaotic home life, with several siblings and a single mother, was a stark contrast to the control and comfort she found on stage. And when her home life and incredible dance promise begin to clash, Misty had to learn to stand up for herself and navigate a complex relationship with her mother, while pursuing her ballet dreams.
The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee; Harper Collins. ages 12-18
Sometimes love is right under your nose.As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn t always a choice you can make.