Black books: Adib Khorram

This year, I’ve invited non Black people who are in someway connected to youth literature to share a list of 5-10 books written or illustrated by Blacks that will appeal to children. I asked for anything from board books and graphic novels to biographies and adult crossover. The authors or illustrators could be living or dead, U.S. residents or not. The results have been quite amazing! Today’s guest is Adib

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August 2020


Adib Khorram is the author of DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY which earned several major awards, including the William C. Morris Debut Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature, and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, as well as a multitude of other honors and accolades; DARIUS THE GREAT DESERVES BETTER (2020); and SEVEN SPECIAL SOMETHINGS (2021). When he isn’t writing (or at his day job as a graphic designer), you can find him learning to do a Lutz jump, working on his handstands, or steeping a cup of oolong. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where people don’t usually talk about themselves in the third person. . You can find Adib on the web at or on Twitter and Instagram @adibkhorram

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My recommendations are below. I think they’re all fairly recent (and probably lots of people are recommending them) but these are ones I’ve loved lately.


For the youngest readers: 

HAIR LOVE by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison; Kokila, 2019.

THE DAY YOU BEGIN by Jaqueline Woodson and Rafael Lopez; Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018.

For middle grade readers:

TRISTAN STRONG PUNCHES A HOLE IN THE SKY by Kwame Mbalia; Disney Hyperion, 2019.

JUST SOUTH OF HOME by Karen Strong; Simon and Schuster, 2019.

For young adult readers:

A BLADE SO BLACK by L. L. McKinney. Imprint, 2018.

HOW TO BE REMY CAMERON by Julian Winters. Interlude Press, 2018.

WHEN THE STARS LEAD TO YOU by Ronni Davis. Little, Brown. 2019.