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Happy Black History Month!

While you should of course be reading Black authors year-round, Black History Month is the perfect time to support and learn about new-to-you Black writers. The Library staff has already shared a wonderful list of recommended reads in our Celebrate Black Voices post, but this post is about supporting our local Black authors.

The Youth Services department would like to spotlight some of our local Black authors who write fantastic, Own Voices books for children and young adults.


Rena Barron is the author of the young adult fantasy novel Kingdom of Souls, the first in a trilogy and a 2019 Junior Library Guild Selection. Recently, film rights sold to Warner Bros. with Michael B. Jordan (“Black Panther”) producing and Misan Sagay (“Belle”) writing the screenplay. Maya and the Rising Dark is the first book in Rena’s middle grade contemporary fantasy trilogy set in Chicago.

Place a hold on The Kingdom of Souls.

Place a hold on Maya and the Rising Dark


Natasha Tarpley is the author of the best-selling picture book, I Love My Hair!, as well as other acclaimed titles for children and adults. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship among other awards.

Put hold on I Love My Hair!


K. Ancrum is the author of  the award winning thriller THE WICKER KING,  a lesbian romance THE WEIGHT OF THE STARS and the upcoming Peter Pan thriller DARLING. K. is a Chicago native passionate about diversity and representation in young adult fiction. She currently writes most of her work in the lush gardens of the Chicago Art Institute. 

Place hold on The Weight of the Stars

Place hold on The Wicker King


Amanda Joy is an author and bookstagrammer. She earned her MFA in Writing for Children at the New School. Her debut, A River of Royal Blood, is a Junior Library Guild Selection.

Place hold on A River of Royal Blood



Ronni Davis lives in Chicago with her husband Adam and her son Aidan. By day she copy edits everything from TV commercials to billboards, and by night she writes contemporary teen novels about brown girls falling in love.

Place hold on When The Stars Lead To You

2021 Debut Author: Reese Eschmann


Reese Eschmann holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois-Chicago and worked in schools for six years. When she’s not writing or taking naps, Reese enjoys rock climbing, baking, and making movies with her family. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and their hound dog. Etta Invincible is her debut novel.

This title comes out July 13, 2021. Find more information: 


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