It only took more than eight decades, but Carnegie medal finally took a step of progress when the judges announced Dominican-American slam-poet-slash-former-teacher Elizabeth Acevedo as the winner, making her the first writer of color to receive the accolade.
Founded in 1936, Carnegie medal is the most prestigious children's book award in the UK. But history wasn't really created until June 18, 2019, the day Acevedo was awarded the top prize for her debut young adult novel, The Poet X (Harper Collins, 2018), which follows the main character Xiomara Batista's self-discovery journey after she joins a slam poetry club in Harlem.
In honor of Acevedo’s long-awaited win, Globetrotter takes a look at three other novels we think you should check out. Published in the past year, these books are all written by authors and featuring lead characters of colors.
1. Pride - Ibi Zoboi
A retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Haitian-American writer Ibi Zoboi's second novel, Pride (Harper Collins, 2018), is set in modern-day Brooklyn, instead of 19th century England. The heroine is Zuri Benitez, the Afro-Latina version of Elizabeth Bennet. Much like Lizzy Bennet, Zuri is just trying to navigate life and love amidst a wave of misunderstanding with her new neighbor. Making the novel even more relatable for present-day readers is a storyline about her gentrifying neighborhood.
2. On the Come Up - Angie Thomas
American writer Angie Thomas followed up the success of her debut novel-turned-movie The Hate U Give (Harper Collins, 2017) with this year's hip-hop-inspired On the Come Up (Harper Collins, 2019). At the center of the story is aspiring young rapper Bri, whose dreams are threatened to be shattered by poverty. While On the Come Up includes exciting rap verses, it also offers the harsh reality faced by working-class black families.
3. My Sister, the Serial Killer - Oyinkan Braithwaite
You just can’t go wrong with a title like that. Nigerian-UK writer Oyinkan Braithwaite gives her readers chills with her debut novel, My Sister, the Serial Killer (Penguin Random House, 2018). Set in Lagos, the novel centers around Korede and the ethical dilemma caused by her sister Ayoola, who is a serial killer, much like the title suggests. Hailed as a smart dark comedy and satire, the novel has been praised by the likes of New York Times and the Washington Post. Prior to its release, the book has also been optioned for a movie!