Black books: Neesha Meminger

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 recommendations are from Neesha Meminger. Neesha is one of the first people I met when I began blogging about YA books, yet we’ve never met in person. I reviewed her first YA book, Shine Coconut Moon way back in 2009.

Neesha is an author, single mom to two teenagers, and an English professor. She writes novels for young adults and Fantasy Romance for adults. Her latest book, What Girls Know, is a novel-in-verse memoir based on her experience of childhood sexual abuse abuse in a temple.



Here are Neesha’s recommendations…


(Some of these titles are not specifically kidlit, but I read them when I was a teenager, well before there were YA/MG categories, and some were recommended by my d, daughter, who just turned 18):

~ all of Zetta Elliott’s books, but my faves are A Wish After Midnight (Brilliance, 2010) and Bird illustrated by Shadra Strickland (Lee and Low 2008) which my daughters both loved, as well.

~ 8th Grade Superzero  by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovitch. (Scholastic, 2010)

~ The Battle of Jericho (and the full Jericho series), by Sharon Draper. (Simon Pulse, 2005)

~ Assata: an autobiography, by Assata Shakur. (Zed Books, 2014)

~ Zami: a new spelling of my name, by Audre Lorde. (Crossing Press, 1982)

~ anything by Octavia Butler (first book I read was Wild Seed when I was in high school)

~ Brown Girl in the Ring, by Nalo Hopkinson. (Warner Books, 2012)

~ Noughts and Crosses (Book 1) by Malorie Blackman. (Simon and Schuster, 2005) [also called Black and White]

~ R.A.W., by Patience Agbabi. (Gecko Press, 1995)

~ The Boy Who Didn’t Believe in Spring, by Lucille Clifton. (Puffin, 1992)

For more about Neesha Meminger,  please visit

Facebook: Neesha Meminger

Instagram: @neeshamem